Derek Heemsbergen
E3 2011: Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland Hands-On Impressions
Step aside, Rorona, Totori's the new alchemist in town!
06.10.11 - 10:41 AM

NIS America did not have much of a presence at this year's E3, but editor Kimberley Wallace and I had the chance to briefly check out Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland at the Tecmo Koei booth. Before we even picked up the controller, we were immediately struck by the game's beautiful watercolor visuals. The kingdom of Arland seems to have gotten a visual tune-up; the character models sport more detail, but retain the same overall aesthetic. The character art in particular is especially breathtaking. The artist, Mel Kishida, made skillful use of pastels to illuminate his whimsical character designs. Speaking of characters, fans will be pleased to know that several familiar faces will be returning from Atelier Rorona, such as Iksel, who now runs his own restaurant. Rorona herself also has a prominent role as Totori's mentor. She looks a little older, a little wiser, and a lot more stylish with a cute new hairstyle.

In the demo we played, we accepted a quest at the adventurer's guild after recruiting a couple of party members: Marc, an eccentric inventor, and Mimi, an arrogant, sassy swordswoman. Several types of quests were available, and they were easy to distinguish from one another thanks to some newly-added quest icons. Each icon depicted an adorable caricature of Totori synthesizing, gathering items, or engaging in battle. After leaving town, we reached a colorful field, where we got a taste of the game's combat. It played like a slightly enhanced version of Rorona's turn-based battle system, complete with flashy animations for special attacks. What we heard of the soundtrack was pleasant, though it sounded very similar to the music from Atelier Rorona. We noticed the use of flutes in particular, which fit in very well with the game's airy atmosphere.

It may take a lot of cues from Atelier Rorona, but based on the improvements we've seen, the only direction that Atelier Totori can go is up. Fans of the Atelier series are sure to be pleased with this title when it releases this Fall in North America.