Gust’s Atelier series can seem quite intimidating. 10 entries have been released outside of Japan, 12 if you include the Mana Khemia games in the tally, and many are parts of known trilogies. It can be difficult to know when, or even if, you should jump in. Atelier Escha & Logy Plus is a perfect place to start, despite being right in the midst of the series’ Dusk trilogy.
The dual avatars is a major reason why Atelier Escha & Logy Plus is so welcoming. People get to choose who they want to be in this self-contained story. You can be Escha or Logy, with each story differing slightly. Both the story and gameplay are slightly different. Escha is more focused on item creation and crafting. Logy is more of a traditional RPG, centered on battling. While starting with Escha is advised, since there are exclusive items you can get in her route that would carry over to Logy’s, Logy’s is a great place to start. The alchemy element is present in his route, but it’s also more similar to a standard JRPG. It’s a great introduction.
Alchemy is easier in general in Atelier Escha & Logy Plus, which also helps make this installment so special. In previous games, there was a fear of alchemy failing. You can’t fail when making something. You’ll definitely succeed. Bombs and healing salves feel less precious, since they aren’t single use items. Using them in the field or a battle doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. When Escha or Logy return to their workshop, they restock. Most importantly, when you need to create something to meet a story requirement, you know exactly what you need to do and what goes into the recipe to make it.
Speaking of meeting storyline requests, these deadlines are much easier to meet. They’re far more lenient. You have about four months to get things done. Time management has alway been the most difficult part of an Atelier game, and Atelier Escha & Logy Plus pretty much eliminates any fear of running out of time. You know what ingredients you need, what areas have items and how much time a recipe takes to craft. Unless you’re purposely trying to fail, you won’t. It’s nearly impossible to fail.
Time saving is in effect during interactions as well. If you’ve done enough to make someone like you, you’ll know they’re ready to talk. When you bring up the menu to fast travel anywhere in town, an icon next to the location will let you know someone’s waiting there for an event. Spending moments with them won’t take up in-game time. It also won’t automatically lock you into someone’s ending. You’re able to enjoy these extra memories you make with people.
And, when you’re in the field, you’ll find Atelier Escha & Logy Plus has an improved battle system. As mentioned earlier, in-battle items restock, so you don’t have to be afraid of ipusing them. You can switch your attackers and supporters at any time, making it easy to bring in party members as needed. If your party does end up being wiped out, which probably won’t happen due to the only difficulty spike happening at the very end of the game, it’s no big deal. You’ll lose that day, then find yourself on that same map the next day again. You aren’t being forced into situations or punished for one wrong decision.
Atelier Escha & Logy Plus is a really great game in a wonderful series. Yes, it’s a middle installment in a trilogy, but that’s okay. Alchemy’s easier, battles flow well, pacing isn’t punishing, and you have a choice when it comes to who you get to be. Keep it in mind, when you get the hankering to make something out of almost nothing.