Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm Preview
Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm box art
System: PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Gust 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: NIS America 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 15, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm --Taking you to worlds unknown!
by Amanda L. Kondolojy

One of Japan's most successful series, the Atelier series, has enjoyed somewhat limited success outside of the land of the rising sun. If you are unfamiliar with the series' history, you're not alone. Suffice to say it deals mainly with alchemical mysticism and a book of infinite wisdom known as the Wizard's Librim of Escalario.

Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm screenshot

Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm begins by starting you off with two characters. Edge, a member of the alterworld-exploring raiders guild, and Iris, a novice alchemist who wants desperately to improve her skills. You collectively decide to look for the Wizard's Librim of Escalario. This legendary book will supposedly grant your wishes should you find and assemble all of its eight parts. However, these eight parts have been scattered across five different alterworlds.

Atelier fans may think this sounds a little different because Atelier games don't usually incorporate quest-based missions. Instead of following a mostly-linear storyline-based game, like in the first two Atelier Iris games, users can choose from different available quests and take more of a self-guided approach to the Atelier world. The widening of this game's scope in comparison with the previous Atelier Iris 3 game may be a boon to attracting new gamers to the Atelier world, as well as providing Atelier veterans with a different experience than what they might have expected.

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Another thing that's different with this game is that the rating has been upped from E 10+ (Which is what all the previous Atelier games were rated) to a harsher Teen rating. Although it sounds like a negative thing, this may indicate that this title may contain a darker or more mature storyline then the fluff-based fanservice storylines of the previous two Atelier Iris titles. It's like when the Harry Potter movies switched from PG to PG-13. It meant they got a more complex and adult storyline. Hopefully, this will be the case here.

Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm screenshot

Another thing that's different with this game is that the rating has been upped from E 10+ (Which is what all the previous Atelier games were rated) to a harsher Teen rating. Although it sounds like a negative thing, this may indicate that this title may contain a darker or more mature storyline then the fluff-based fanservice storylines of the previous two Atelier Iris titles. It's like when the Harry Potter movies switched from PG to PG-13. It meant they got a more complex and adult storyline. Hopefully, this will be the case here.

One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the battle system. Players will still be using the familiar "Active cost card battle" system, which utilizes cards to determine actions and turn sequence. Only one of your initial characters, Iris, will be able to use alchemical powers, and her attacks will be executed a little differently then regular party attacks. You'll also need special items to execute alchemy-based attacks.

Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm screenshot

The anime-stylized graphics are also still here, and don't waver from the Atelier signature look that fans of the series have grown accustomed to. The graphics do look a little weak for a PlayStation 2 game, but they might be said to recall the earlier Atelier Iris games. Perhaps when a new Atelier saga begins, or when the Atelier saga leaps to the next generation, the graphical scheme will mature.

The sound scheme is supposed to be fairly good, and will include a good amount of voice acting in addition to the generic RPG scrolling text. The theme song heard in the trailer also leads one to believe that the in-game music will be good as well.

Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm screenshot

Overall, Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm will be another staple in the Atelier series, and fans will probably be satisfied with the end of the Atelier Iris series. The only thing left to wonder is what will come next from the Atelier universe!

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • The third installment of the Atelier Iris series with an all new storyline.
  • All new worlds for you to discover.
  • Two all-new main characters.
  • Quest-based system gives user more freedom then previous Atelier games.

  • Screenshots / Images
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