Part 2: Part II: Hear the Calling of a New WorldPart II: Hear the Calling of a New World
Hm...the nearest village is called Riesengang. It's where my friend Regina lives. It's the biggest town I know of, but I haven't ever been very far from my workshop. Along the way, I have to pass through Dry Valley. The first battle
Music: Rain in the Dried Up Valley
As you can see, it is very dry. It hardly ever rains here. I have Pana bringing along all my stuff from my workshop. Since I never travel, I was unsure how much to bring. I hope Pana's comfortable with all that on her back.
Whew... After this valley is the next village. Just a little farther... I can do this.
Sorry, I'll just be leaving now...
Cue cue cue cue!
Hyaaah, I don't think he's gonna let me go. I need to protect myself!
Music: Yesterday's Opponents are Today's Ingredients
Okay, the first battle. Since this is the first battle, there's not a whole lot to talk about but the basics. Basically, in this game, each battle has your team surrounding the enemies. What does this mean for you? It means movement and placement is the key part of winning tougher battles. The right side of the screen features both your team and the enemy team's turn order. A number of things can change when a character's / enemy's turn might come up, but it's a good visual aid in any case.
Also, you can see HP / MP next to character portraits at the bottom. The LP system is completely gone, as it was mostly a pointless mechanic in any case (and to this day, I don't know what it stands for). The gauge underneath the HP / MP is the Support Gauge. Unlike in the Arland games, Ayesha can lend her support to her allies' attacks. The opposite, of course, is also true. Be advised, though, that Ayesha's MP is not meaningless. There's a number of items that have greater effects depending on if Ayesha has MP remaining or not, but don't concern yourself with that for a while.
Since it's just Ayesha right now, there's not a whole lot to talk about, except the fact she's the only character in the game who can use items at all, which makes her status in the party invaluable.
A neat feature of battles in this game is that for every battle, I believe, the music playing can change depending on the course of the fight. If the enemy is on the verge of defeat, more exciting music tends to play, like what happened here with Sagittarius (gotta represent my astrological sign, you know?). If you are on the verge of defeat, more tense music begins to play.
Later on this update, we'll gain ourselves a combat buddy, but that's just a primer for fights in the game. There's very little you can actually do in this first battle aside from whacking the poor hamster over and over.
Phew...I'm not used to fighting at all. The herb garden is usually so peaceful, but Fruit Hamsters love to come around at night. They're usually pretty calm, but they can get angry if you go into where they live. Dry Valley isn't usually so dangerous... But now I'm off to Riesengang! Meeting Regina
Music: Frontier Laughter
Riesengang is pretty unique among the ruins I know about. There's a lot of old ruins and caverns nearby, and a bunch of prospectors came and set up a village right on top of them. All of them are really hardworking and nice.
As for the ruins...I really don't know. There's a lot of ruins in this part of the world, but nobody really knows what they're for. I think my grandpa might have had a book or two on the ruins, but I can't find them.
*huff* *huff* J-Just a little farther... Finally here... I haven't been here in a while, but the trip was just as exhausting as I remembered.
Huh? That girl is... Heeey, Ayesha. Long time no see!
Hey...doesn't she sound familiar? Don't worry, I'll do voice actor chat in just a bit.
Music: Excavate Polka
This is my best friend, Regina. She's really outgoing and friendly! She's so helpful, too, working as a prospecter in this village and helping me whenever I need something. I don't know where she originally came from, but she lives by herself in this village. She talks about her family every now and then, but I haven't met any of them. I'd sure like to someday, though. I think her long red hair is really cool.
Regina! Yeah, it's been a while.
You've been all confined to your workshop lately... What's up?
Hehehe, I've been thinking things over, and I decided to go on a little journey.
I see. With everything that happened with Nio, I was worried. Where are you going on your journey?
I haven't decided yet, so my destination is uncertain...
Mmhm. Then, where are you going to stay?
Umm, I still need to figure that out...
Going on a journey without knowing your destination? You sure are doing something daring... Hey, if you don't have a place to stay, come to my house for the time being. I want to know more about your journey. I'm tied up right now with my job, but... I left the door unlocked, so invite yourself inside and rest up. Oh, do you remember where my place is? It's that way!
Yeah, I think I remember.
Well, I guess you won't get lost in a small village like this... Okay, see you later!
One thing I really like about Riesengang is all the grass around here. Pana really likes it, too, so it's like my home away from home. Regina always likes it when I stop by, too. A mysterious woman
Music: It's an Older Sister's Incident
All I'm saying is that I wanna get a little peek at the ruin!
You just don't understand, do you? It's dangerous in there, so I can't let you in. Women and children need to stay out!
Shameless screenshot just because I really like this character's design. There's nothing flashy or revealing or anything that really stands out about it. It's just someone with a really nice outfit and incredibly shiny black hair. Definitely one of the better character designs in the course of this production.
Actually, I should get voice actor chat out of the way. Let's start with our main character. Ayesha's English voice actress is someone I'd never heard of before, and damned if I can remember the name, even though she did make a Twitter post saying she was the voice shortly after the game was released. Her Japanese voice, on the other hand, is Marina Inoue. Her only role that I'm familiar with is Armin Arlet from Attack on Titan. I swear, I had no idea he was voiced by a woman until a few weeks ago. Armin's voice doesn't sound feminine at all, but I guess it's a credit to her ability that she's able to do a pretty convincing male voice.
Keithgriff from the previous update is voiced by Richard Epcar in English, and Joji Nakata in Japanese. I certainly have no complaints about Epcar's performance, but Nakata is one of those legendary Japanese voices you hear so much about, especially to a Type-Moon fan such as myself. This is a guy whose voice can make, say, a lecture on butter churning in the late 17th century sound like the most dramatic subject ever. Do yourself a favor and watch something he's in, because there's just something about the guy's voice that is incredibly menacing and yet pleasing to listen to.
I've never heard of Regina's Japanese voice actress, but I do know who her English one is. I am *pretty* sure it's Wendee Lee, who we last saw as the voice of Cordelia. Yep, she angled herself into another best friend role.
This woman, who I'll just go and ahead and reveal her name as Marion, is voiced by none other than the prolific Kana Ueda in the Japanese version. Look at that credits list and weep. How she finds time for things other than voice acting, I'll never know. English speakers probably know her best as Rin Tohsaka, also from the Type-Moon oveure, but she's just about everywhere. I also know her as the main character from Maria-sama ga Miteru (which she's apparently a huge fan of in reality), and the cute elf girl Ellis from Record of Agarest War.
That was a pretty long diversion, but it seems at least the casting directors for Atelier in Japan can snag quite a bit of voice acting talent for their games. As for the reason there's no Japanese audio in the English version, I'll address another time after I do some research on what exactly happened.
Besides, I saw a girl go in there a few moments ago...
Oh, Regina? She's like a guy. She may not look like it, but she's a seasoned prospector. It'd be a different story if you were gonna train your body and become a prospector. What would a missy like you want with this ruin in the first place?
Sh-She seems pretty forceful, despite how she looks...
*sniff* *sniff* *sniff*
Oh, Pana, what's the matter all of a sudden?
Music: Charmed by a Cow
Kyah! Wh-What's up with this cow!?
Ohhh, I'm so sorry! I'll move her right away! Hey, Pana! You need to get out of the way!
I guess I'll never enter the ruin like this...
I'm sorry. Pana is extremely fond of delicious grass...
Hmph, I guess it can't be helped... I'll come back later. I'm gonna take a nice long look around the inside of this ruin next time.
I won't let you in, no matter how many times you come back. You better believe it!
To argue with the boss of a prospecting site... She's a powerful lady...
Oh Pana... Still, I really wish I could have gotten her name. She certainly seemed like she was busy, but I hope I see her again. It looked like she had something on her mind, but I hope I can introduce myself properly next time.
Well, I should go talk to Regina and let her know why I'm going on a journey. The reliable friend
Anyway, it's been quite a while. Like, almost a year...?
Probably. It's been around that long since you came to visit me.
And, so why are you going on this journey? Peddling medicine?
How can I say this...? I'm looking for rare flowers.
Rare flowers? Are you gonna use them to synthesize medicine?
No, I don't know if you'll believe this or not, but... I heard that they could be clues to finding Nio.
Nio!? But...Nio was, you know...spirited away, and...
This person told me that Nio is still alive somewhere. If she is alive, I think I can do something to see her again. It may sound impossible, but it's something I have to believe in.
Hmm...so you decided to believe that person? Then, I'm in no position to fault you for it... Okay then, I'll help you.
Hehe, thank you very much. I know this kind of story is hard to believe... But, just you saying that makes me happy. So, the clues that will help me find Nio are these glowing flowers...
Glowing flowers? Being spirited away and flowers seem to have nothing to do with each other...
But still, flowers...aren't my forte at all. Oh, but...I think I know someone who might know about them.
Yup. There's a person who lives in Vierzeberg, a town to the north. He likes rare things, and collects various items as a hobby. As a patron of rare things, he might know something abour rare flowers.
Umm, could you please introduce me to him...?
Yeah, sure. I was gonna go to Vierzeberg for some stuff after this anyways. All right, if that's our plan, I'll hurry and get ready for the journey!
You're right. You'll probably need to pack some stuff.
Oh, that reminds me! Ayesha... Didn't you bring too much stuff with you? You look more like you're moving away than going on a long journey.
Hahaha, and this is after I tried cutting back on the luggage. I've never been on a journey before...
Why don't you leave the things you won't need here?
Huh? At your house...? But...are you sure?
Yeah, I have plenty of space anyways, so feel free to use it like your own house.
Thank you very much. Then, I'll take advantage of your kind offer.
I'll just put my cauldron down here for a moment.
What!? Ayesha, you were carrying that thing around? I don't think you need that on your journey...
Huh...? Really? But I start to get restless without my cauldron.
No, no, no! It's not like a pillow or anything. Normal people don't carry these around. Just leave it here... Pana must've had a tough time.
Okay, I'll do that! I'm happy I'll get to synthesize at your house.
Haha, you sure do like to synthesize! Anyway, I'll be looking forward to spending time with you, Ayesha!
Pana doesn't seem to mind having the cauldron on her back, but I should probably be careful anyway. She's a strong girl, but that cauldron sure is heavy... Anyway, I'm glad Regina's such a reliable friend, and she's really strong, too.
Unlike in the Arland games, there are actually four different places in Ayesha you can synthesize at. Two locations (Ayesha's workshop and Regina's house) representing the southeast, one place we'll get to next update representing the northern part of the map, and a location to the southwest representing the western part of the map.
Once you've unlocked the final workshop, you're never too far from any workshop. Actually, Ayesha's world map is surprisingly small, but you'll be running back and forth across it for a large part of this game.
Huh? Regina...did you want me to do something?
Remember what I told you? That I had to go to Vierzberg? That thing. I got lucky at the ruin recently, and I want to take what I found to Vierzberg.
How about it, Pana? Is that okay?
Hmhm, thanks! I'll treat you to a delicious meal later! Now that that's done, Regina, go ahead and stack your stuff on top of her!
Thanks! But...I'm impressed that you can carry on a conversation with a cow...
Hehe, it's only natural. I've known Pana ever since I was a little girl. Cows can be such cute animals.
Let's take a look at the status screen. Most of these stats should be fairly self-explanatory, but in case you don't know what it represents, AIL RES means that particular character's resistance to status effects. You won't have to worry about mean status effects until fairly late in the game, and anyway, this is just one half of the status screen. We won't be able to really take advantage of the second half until we start equipping some better stuff down the line.
Regina said Vierzberg (the game can't seem to decide if it's "Vierzeberg" or "Vierzberg". I'll just use the latter when I'm not following the script) is about a six day journey from Riesengang. That's pretty far...but as long as she's with me, I won't have to worry about monsters. Shortly after we set off, we came across a beautiful field of flowers. Off to Vierzberg
I don't know if the soil is fertile, but this place is like this all year round. Places like this are rare nowadays. Do you think we can find some medicinal herbs? I wouldn't know what to look for, but...
Looks like there are some around. Is it okay if I gather a few?
Sure. We're not in too much of a hurry, and so many things are growing here.
Thank you. Wow, where should I start!?
You're looking pretty lively, Ayesha. All right then, Miss Regina shall give you a hand!
The tutorial after that line tells you that you can gather different materials in locations depending on what allies you have with you. Some party members gather more stuff depending on the location, and some gather less. Occasionally you'll get little notices at the bottom of the screen in the form of a text box indicating whether that character likes gathering at that location or if they don't.
Regina, for her part, likes outdoors-y areas and areas inside the ruins.
Oooh, he looks like he's about to...
Wh-What should we do? Should we run away...?
Nope. If you can't reason with your opponent, you just have to use your fists. C'mon, let's get this over with!
The most important support skill is Protect, which makes the character who the command is given to rush over their ally and protect them from an attack. After that, the defending character ends up right next to the original target, and you can begin doing other stuff.
Notice the indications in the top right corner, next to the turn order. The distance the character has to move to attack the enemy will either give you a bonus, or do nothing. In Regina's case, as you can see, a short range attack will lower the target's physical resistance. Always handy. Every character has a different sort of bonus like that.
When a character is right next to another, and there's at least one Assist charged up, you can launch an additional attack. Pursuit in this case means Ayesha will just run up and smack the target. Nothing special, but it doesn't break the formation. Back Attack means Ayesha will rush to the opposite side and smack the target from behind, which will always be a critical hit. As a general rule, you should go for Back Attacks whenever possible. Of course, you always have the option to do nothing.
Music: Flower Scented Forest
In any case, that should about cover us for the basic tutorials. Next time we'll hit the big city and meet quite a few new characters.