While Atelier Firis has a big heart and grand ambitions, it's held back by how 'stitched together' everything feels.
My time with Osteoblasts was a mixture of confusion, frustration, intrigue, challenge, and laughing at the absurdity of what was going on or what I was battling with. While I had fun in some instances, I spent much of my time sighing as I missed yet another attack that would extend battle for another minute or so. There is a lot to like in the game, but it feels like it’s laser-targeted at the crowd who enjoys wandering around dungeons in a masochistic rage. As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of dungeon RPGs, Osteoblasts didn’t quite click with me. That said, despite being a game about skeletons, it certainly has a lot of heart.
Overall, Atelier Sophie is a pleasant and comforting experience that Atelier fans will know well. Newcomers to the series will find a cozy and welcoming endeavor that highlights the hidden wonders of the mundane. The story, light yet still having purpose, is strengthened by the DX version’s additional scenes surrounding Sophie’s grandmother and her importance to the community. There is a theme of growth and self-improvement while emerging from the shadows cast by those before. Sophie is an upbeat, positive, and wholesome protagonist surrounded by a grand cast of colorful characters, each with their own ambitions. By the time the game is over, Kirchen Bell will feel like a home away from home. It’s small, but it has a lot of heart, much like the game itself.
This entry honed in on the things its predecessor did well, while stripping out some of the less-than-great fluff. That said, there are still some awkward parts to the game which may put some people off. The visual novel presentation can lead to some light pacing issues, while the anime archetypes may be a bit too much for others. The “Glitch Mode” costumes, while considerably tame compared to the first game, are definitely fanservice. Despite a few faults here and there, its numerous strengths make the game worth a look. Stellar writing, endearing characters, phenomenal voicework, eye-catching artwork, a catchy yet haunting soundtrack, and a delightfully dark atmosphere all stand as Death end re;Quest 2‘s strongest points.