All screencaptures here can be expanded by clicking on them.
Free DLC connecting the events of Atelier Sophie to Atelier Firis came out a week ago, but I just got around to playing it today. It was a nice thing of them to add, it's fully voiced and neatly sets up the story for the next game, Atelier Firis. You need to both be on Patch 1.0.5 or later and download the DLC from the store, at which point it should start as soon as you return to the atelier.
All screencaptures here can be expanded by clicking on them.
Our afterstory begins with Sophie cooking up some stew for Plachta and herself back at the atelier. Plachta digs in first and says it's delicious, but then Sophie takes a bite and realizes she cooked it all wrong, it actually tastes terrible. Plachta reminds Sophie that, as a doll, she doesn't have a human's sense of taste - she just assumes what it probably tastes like based on the ingredients. This makes Sophie a bit sad, she wonders if there are other senses besides taste that Plachta experiences differently from her, and feels a bit down that they can't share more experiences together.
Sophie decides to try and think up a solution to the problem - which first involves getting right in Plachta's face and staring intently at her while making 'Hmmmm...' noises until Plachta is so flustered she can't take being stared at anymore and runs off. This whole DLC is basically 'Plachta gets teased by everyone, especially Sophie', it's fun to see her get flustered. Anyway, Sophie eventually comes to the conclusion that her only option is to figure out some way to get Plachta a real human body. That's no easy task though, and Sophie isn't sure if she can do it or not.
A bit later, Oskar comes barging in with urgent news - he's spotted Meklet and Atomina while he was out exploring for new plants! Who knows what they're plotting? Sophie and Plachta decide to go chase after them, but there's no trace of them when they arrive at the place Oskar last spotted them. Maybe he was mistaken? Nope - a bit later Fritz stops by the atelier to report that he also saw them - and this time when Sophie and Plachta go to investigate, they find them. Meklet and Atomina run away when spotted, and Sophie trips, they get away.
The two spots they were at were both old ruins, so Sophie and Plachta decide to investigate other places, to no luck until they finally go back to the grand library where the boss fight took place and spot them there. Meklet and Atomina are in a bit of a pinch though, cornered by a dragon, and unable to fight. Of course, Sophie and co. jump in to beat the dragon and rescue them. Sophie's not letting them get away this time, and makes them spill their plans. Actually, it's pretty simple - they're still chasing after something that will let them use alchemy, like they hoped the Cauldron would. They had no luck, so they came back here, thinking maybe Plachta left some notes behind here that could help them.
Plachta pulls Sophie aside to whisper something to her - actually, she DOES have her old designs for a prototype model of the Cauldron in here! Sophie immediately takes this top secret piece of info, turns around, and tells Meklet and Atomina about the proto-cauldron recipe and tells them that she'll make it for them so that they can use alchemy again. Plachta is quite understandably furious, but Sophie insists that Meklet and Atomina won't use it for evil anymore, so Plachta sighs and reluctantly goes along with it. Sophie tells Meklet and Atomina to hang out at her atelier for a while, she needs to get the recipe and figure out how to make it. Plachta leads Sophie to the recipe further inside to pick up.
Heading back to the atelier, Sophie fails her first few attempts to make it - Plachta reminds her that the design is just a prototype, her ideas, that it's not a complete recipe yet. Sophie will need to complete the recipe herself. Meklet and Atomina hang out in the meantime, having conversations with Sophie about a variety of things, from Plachta's old personality, to whether or not they're 'siblings' since they're actually the same person (and which one of them is the 'older sibling', which turns into an argument quickly) - Sophie eventually gets the idea that Luard first turned to forbidden alchemy in the first place because he was jealous of Plachta's alchemy abilities. Sophie shares her desire to give Plachta a human body - Meklet and Atomina give her some words of encouragement, reminding her that she's basically an alchemy genius to have made so much progress in such little time so far. Even if she can't do it now, maybe she can eventually if she just keeps advancing? Anyway, eventually Sophie manages to finish the cauldron recipe and creates it for them. It lets them do simple alchemy, they show Sophie and Plachta a simple alchemy bomb they created with it later, and tell her they're taking off on a journey, thanks for everything. You just gave the last boss the ability to use alchemy, are you sure about this, Sophie? Oh well, the protoype is less powerful than the real cauldron so Plachta thinks they shouldn't be able to do anything too dangerous - and if they do, Sophie will go kick their asses again.
Later, Sophie is experimenting with some recipe ideas to give Plachta a human body. There's a problem, though - most of the ingredients needed aren't located anywhere near Kirchen Bell. She'd need to travel a long way to get them. Travel, hmm? Coincidentally, Julio shows up and asks Sophie if she's ever heard of the Alchemist Certification Test that goes on - it's a test of alchemy knowledge and you'll be acknowledged as an accomplished alchemist if you pass. Later, Sophie finds out from Pamela that her grandma also once passed that exam. She talks to a bunch of people about traveling - to Oskar, who encourages her and says he'll come along on any trip she plans, to Logy, who shares the things he likes about traveling, to Julio again who gives his views on adventuring out of your hometown.
With her mind made up, she talks to Plachta and lets her know about it. At the same time, she shares her plans of figuring out a way to get Plachta a human body. Plachta is really moved by how much Sophie cares even after all she's already done, and swears to follow Sophie until the day she dies. Of course she'll come along on the trip. First things first, it's time to make some plans and preparations, since Sophie's never traveled too far away from Kirchen Bell before.
Sophie and Plachta go over their traveling list - it seems okay, but maybe they should ask someone with more experience? Sophie goes to consult Fritz, and he reminds Sophie about the importance of procuring a place to sleep while traveling. Fritz is okay with sleeping on the floor and waking up covered in bugs, but how about Sophie? Yeah, she'll want to pass on that...she comes back to the atelier and decides to make a tent. Plachta is in agreement there - but Sophie doesn't just want any tent, she wants a really comfy one....oh, and one big enough to fit an alchemy cauldron in! And a full size bed! And a bookshelf! Plachta is a bit exasperated - no Sophie, you can't do that, that's silly - oops, too late, done! Poof! Sophie synthesizes up a portable tent that can fold into a backpack, but when unrolled furls out into a full-size spacious room. Plachta is reluctantly impressed at the ability to screw the rules of physics like that, Sophie's definitely come far as an alchemist.
The End! So there you have it, that ridiculous portable atelier tent in Atelier Firis is actually Sophie's creation. Sophie's setting off on her journey to the same land as Firis in order to take the alchemy test, and also to gather the ingredients she needs to try and give Plachta a human body.
My review of Atelier Sophie is up.
I'm glad I didn't try to blog too much about the playthrough, because as a character game, most of the stuff just wouldn't be interesting to read about! Character events and such are only fun if you experience them yourself, and the relaxing nature of Atelier Sophie can't really be conveyed in blog posts.
This game was just so damn relaxing - the slow pace might turn a lot of people off, and I bet I'd get bored of games like this if it was all there was, but it's the opposite. JRPGs are full of plots that start with hometowns getting razed, going off to save kingdoms, usually ending with your obligatory fight against God on the moon or something. In Sophie, nothing happens. Okay, that's a lie, things do happen, but they happen so slowly and they're so out of the main focus of the game that there's no real sense of urgency for 99% of the game. A lot of Atelier games are like this, but Sophie just might be the best example of it yet.
The main story in the game is really pretty bad, though. It's probably what kept Sophie from being 9/10 territory. I really think they should have made Meklet and Atomina more significant characters if they wanted the player to care too much about the 'main plot' when it finally started rolling.
The dual artists thing (two different artists, NOCO and Yuugen, designed the characters) also bothered me a bit. Yuugen's characters can be a bit too shiny and contrast too sharply with NOCO's, it ends up looking odd sometimes. I would have preferred NOCO to do all of them, I think, or at least picking one and sticking with it. I'm glad there's no dual protagonists this time though, that was getting a bit old after two consecutive games of it with Escha & Logy and Shallie.
Anyway, with holidays coming up, I'll probably pick Utawarerumono: False Mask back up to tide me over until Exist Archive. I put Utawarerumono down way back when Yoru no Nai Kuni came out, then moved on to 7th Dragon and then Atelier Sophie, so the poor thing has been sitting untouched for a while. If I don't finish it soon it'll end up in my eternal backlog and I don't want that.
It was a bit scary when Gust waited so long to announce any games this year! Atelier has been pretty consistent about coming out yearly in June/July, but this year it's taken until late November after a late announcement and then a long delay.
I'm a pretty big Gust fan, but Yoru no Nai Kuni left me disappointed and so did Atelier Shallie, so I'm really hoping that Sophie ends up making up for it. We're in an awkward transition phase between consoles right now so I'm hoping that is mostly the source of Gust's recent troubles.
I won't be doing any story summaries or whatever as I play this time, just because I'm really busy in real life right now. Hopefully things will clear up a bit after the holiday season is over and I can start blogging about games again after the new year. Obviously I'll still put a review up of Sophie after I'm done playing it, but I probably won't make incremental playthrough posts this time, sorry if anyone was looking forward to that.
Random JRPG blogging about the games I'm currently playing.