|Pub: NIS America|
|Release: September 30, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol|
While Totori's story and systems are mostly improved in comparison to its more limited predecessor, there are a few oddities and weaknesses to be found. Despite taking place over five years and marking every day on the in-game calendar, the game plays a bit fast and loose with time. At the very beginning of the game, Totori is told that she has a month to raise a certain amount of money in order to receive her Adventurer's License, but the game actually allows several months to go by before Totori is asked to produce the money. This makes the beginning of the game rather confusing and boring, as Totori only has access to two simple adventuring screens at first. Fortunately, it opens up swiftly once Totori finally gets her hands on that license.
Additionally, since Totori starts the game at age thirteen, she should be seventeen or eighteen by the end. Unfortunately, the game makes no visual or story-related references to her maturation. Totori still looks like a pre-teen at the end of the game, and though she's told that she's "grown up" a fair bit, there's no indication that she's actually grown any older. Though she has gained experience and become more confident in herself, she doesn't begin to experience the kind of maturation that occurs throughout one's teenage years. This is a definite weakness in a game that is all about the journey from innocence to experience. It would have been easier to take if the game had simply taken place over two or three years with a reduction of the amount of time it takes to perform every action.
Finally, although Totori has three basic endings and additional added-on scenes available after meeting , the game gives no indication as to how to obtain these different endings. It would have at least been helpful for the game to indicate when and where a character event is available, as the only way to see many events is to happen to speak to a particular character or walk into a particular location during the correct time frame. Especially on the first playthrough, most players are only going to be able to obtain the "normal" ending for the game rather than the "true" ending and the additional mini-endings without the help of a guide, which is a bit of a disappointment.
Still, for fans of this kind of personal adventure story, Atelier Totori is a great game with a ton of replay value. The open world conveys a great sense of adventure and exploration, the player has a lot of choice in how to play out Totori's adventure, the characters are a great deal of fun to get to know, and the multiple endings will have many players coming back for more. Gamers who are looking for a fairly laid-back adventure with plenty of things to do and lots of fun characters to meet should definitely give Atelier Totori a try.
CCC Contributing Writer