Atelier Meruru (PS3) Box Art(http://nisamerica.com/games/atelier-meruru/)  Rated T for Teen by ESRB.   Alchemy is a philosophically-based practice, in which the users mix various ingredients to produce magical potions or items based on ancient wisdoms. The Altelier game series revolves around the theory of alchemy, and its latest, Altelier Meruru, is an excellent addition to the roster. The game puts you in control of Meruru, a young princess in the small kingdom of Arls. She meets an alchemist on the outskirts of town who teaches her about alchemy and the good that it can do. Meruru decides she wants to be an alchemist, and works out a deal with her father where this goal can be reached, provided that she helps to expand the kingdom to a certain size by a certain date. The game focuses on doing favors and quests for many different people in the kingdom to help gain popularity, but also to help expand and better the kingdom of Arls itself. You have to manage what you do carefully, though, because if you don’t meet the requirements in time, then Meruru will fail to reach her dream of becoming an Alchemist.

Atelier Meruru (PS3) Box ArtAtelier Meruru (PS3) Logo(http://nisamerica.com/games/atelier-meruru/) Rated T for Teen by ESRB.  Alchemy is a philosophically-based practice, in which the users mix various ingredients to produce magical potions or items based on ancient wisdoms. The Altelier game series revolves around the theory of alchemy, and its latest, Altelier Meruru, is an excellent addition to the roster. The game puts you in control of Meruru, a young princess in the small kingdom of Arls. She meets an alchemist on the outskirts of town who teaches her about alchemy and the good that it can do. Meruru decides she wants to be an alchemist, and works out a deal with her father where this goal can be reached, provided that she helps to expand the kingdom to a certain size by a certain date. The game focuses on doing favors and quests for many different people in the kingdom to help gain popularity, but also to help expand and better the kingdom of Arls itself. You have to manage what you do carefully, though, because if you don’t meet the requirements in time, then Meruru will fail to reach her dream of becoming an Alchemist.



Graphics:
The kingdom of Arls in this latest Altelier, and the graphics that go with it, are beautiful. Everything features very soft and summery colors that make the world look like something out of a fairy tale. The graphics are definitely one of the high points of Altelier Meruru. The characters themselves are slightly cel-shaded on the borders, so that they stand out from the environments nicely, which is much appreciated.  The characters and enemies all feature great detailing and styling to match the rest of the game’s atmosphere. Each area you enter is separate from the rest, meaning this isn’t one huge open world. However, this does ensure that the game runs much smoothly, since it doesn’t have to try and maintain graphics for the whole world at once.

Atelier Meruru (PS3) Screenshots Atelier Meruru (PS3) Screenshots Atelier Meruru (PS3) Screenshots

Sounds:
Another high point of Altelier Meruru is the interactions amongs the characters. Not all of them are voice acted, but most of them are. These interactions are full of emotion and excitement, thanks to the solid work from the voice actors. This element helps to keep the game fresh and fun, especially in between collecting ingredients and mixing all those alchemist potions and items. Even when the voice actors aren’t lending their help, the character’s faces still show lots of emotion and unspoken sentiment as events unfold before them.

The beautifully composed music and sound effects are outstanding. Every sound element seem to blend in with the background art and character designs.  If you like classical anime music, watch out for the battle theme.  The rock style boss battle theme takes the gameplay and fights to the next level.  If you can understand Japanese, you should pay attention to the lyric of the ending song. It is poetry in motion.

Atelier Meruru (PS3) Screenshots Atelier Meruru (PS3) Screenshots Atelier Meruru (PS3) Screenshots

Gameplay:
Atelier Meruru plays just like other entries in the series. To those who aren’t familiar, I’ll try to put it simply for you. As you battle enemies and complete tasks, Meruru will need to use her alchemy skills to create potions, weapons, and many other things to help her fight monsters or complete quests. As you level up in battles, you’ll learn new tactics to employ in battle. As you level up your alchemy skills, you will be able to make better quality item and new items as well. It’s a very fun and rewarding formula that is executed smoothly. However, if there is one complaint to make, it is that the story does lack the drive and momentum to really motivate you on with these tasks, and sometimes you end up feeling like you’re just sort of an errand girl for your father, the king (which is probably the truth). However, the gameplay itself makes up for what the story lacks, and the variety of tasks will leave you with plenty to do.

Atelier Meruru (PS3) Screenshots Atelier Meruru (PS3) Screenshots Atelier Meruru (PS3) Screenshots

Innovation:
What is especially nice about this Atelier game is that the alchemist you learn from this game the same as main character from the previous game in the series. While the game doesn’t offer much of anything different from other entries in the series, it does provide plenty of nostalgic moments for fan of the series like the one I mentioned above.

Longevity:
After putting a couple hours into Atelier Meruru, I can say this game has enough content to make an even trade with the amount of money you’ll pay for it. With so many optional tasks to choose from and areas to explore for new and rare ingredients, you’ll have plenty to do in the kingdom of Arls with Meruru and her friends. While you may feel a bit disconnected from the plodding story, the battle and alchemy systems are fun enough to keep you more than interested in the wizardry of this newest entry in the Atelier series. 
 

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