Atelier Sophie makes great improvements, especially with its rewarding alchemy and social systems, which always give you something to look forward to
For anyone seeking out an RPG they can just play for weeks, Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book is a solid choice, but for each of its highlights, it suffers a misgiving. The story is plain but is delightful and organically executed. The battle system has some awesome features that are locked behind story gates. The characters are beautiful, but the rest is hit or miss. And then there are the confusing or offensive writing and design decisions throughout. As I said, I loved playing it (despite the rush to meet embargo), but its faults keep it from becoming a classic in any sense.
Atelier Sophie is a wonderful change of pace from every other JRPG I've played. The simple, homegrown story is a breath of fresh air, and the unique focus on alchemy and item gathering over combat and grinding helps it stand out even more. Most surprising of all, though, is that a game all about picking up items, navigating menus and walking around the same town for hours and hours kept me more engaged than almost any other JRPG I've played. Atelier Sophie is a wonderful game, and if you're a new player like me, it's a great way to get yourself hooked on the rest of the franchise.
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book marks the franchise PlayStation 4 debut and one of the must play JRPGs on the system, despite its flaws.
Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book aimed to be the best of the series with its PlayStation 4 debut and found great success. With highly expanded and perfected scavenging, item creation, and battle systems, Atelier Sophie is a top-notch JRPG experience and might very well be the best of the year so far in the genre. Surprising, fun, and challenging, Atelier Sophie is a must own in the PlayStation 4 collection.
Providing a fairly monotonous story with a splash of colour, the characters seem to be the only bright spot in this otherwise dreary role-playing game. That's not to say that the constant rigmarole of finding and slaying isn't fun – it is - but considering what the storyline offers, the grind hardly seems worth it; the narrative's simply not engaging enough to warrant the repetitiveness found throughout Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book. If you've played other titles in the series, then this entry will feel like it adds very little to the experiences that you've already had, while leaving a much blander taste.
Gust’s first foray on the PS4 with their flagship Atelier title is a rousing success, and even though I lament the removal of the time limit mechanic from the series, it still proves one of the strongest entries the franchise has had to date, and one of the best RPGs available on the PS4.
Atelier Sophie has a target audience in mind here, and while it offers a compelling crafting with alchemy, the narrative lacks much intrigue to keep things moving.
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book is a solid, yet not perfect, beginning of the new saga, sporting enjoyable characters, that sadly don't get the development they deserved, outside Sophie and Plachta, and interesting mechanics, such as the new alchemy system. Some of the new mechanics, such as the removal of the time limit, do create some pacing issues, but the development of the main characters' relationship is so good that it's easy to look past this issue. Just don't expect to play the best Atelier game ever released.
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book is a more relaxed entry in the series, and I enjoyed that particular aspect of it. Unfortunately, it’s also becoming clear just how little the series has grown over a whopping 17 entries, a condition likely due to the annual nature of its sequels. Loot-based open-world games have become immensely popular lately, making the flimsy, cramped levels of Sophie seem all the more dated by comparison. Still, I think series fans will enjoy the more deliberate pace of this entry, while newcomers have the perfect entry point thanks to the lack of a time limit. I won’t lie, though; alongside Neptunia, this is another series that really needs to slow it down with the constant follow-ups and re-releases. I’d love if Gust would take a little break from Atelier and come back in a few years with some fresh ideas.
Even so, Atelier Sophie gets right the same things as many of its predecessors. It’s a charming, relaxing adventure with a new cast, strategic depth of combat, lovely visuals and a uniquely bright setting and atmosphere. It does almost nothing new, but it doesn’t have to because the fans don’t want it to. If you’ve played any of the recent series entries, you already know if you want this. If you’re a series fan, you probably already have it.
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book isn't going to win any awards for best RPG of the year, but it's still a good time and gives you a couple dozen hours of enjoyable playtime.
Not the jump forward I was expecting for this series, but a light and entertaining RPG nonetheless.
While Atelier Sophie makes interesting changes to the dynamic of the series, it does not leave a strong impact.
Atelier Sophie offers a fresh start for the franchise on the PS4 and for a new trilogy. Some design changes from previous entries made this one more enjoyable for me, so if you were on the fence before, give this entry a closer look.
If you're a fan of JRPGs and won't be put off by the slower pace and smaller scale storyline, there's a lot to like in the story, characters and deep alchemic systems of Atelier Sophie.
Fans of JRPGs, or simply PS4 owners looking for something relaxing to play, will probably find themselves content with Atelier Sophie.
Atelier Sophie isn’t at its best when doing particularly anything. It may only appeal to an alcove of anime fans, being so jovial you can practically hear it wishing you a merry Christmas. The broad stroke of the content can be experienced with any other JRPG, and better so. But if the home-bound, alchemic twist appeals, you may have a game worth persisting for.
Sophie is a fun game that is ultimately marred by a tedious advancement system, vague mission objectives, and the choice to downplay its battle system in favor of character interactions and dialogue. If it were to balance these elements better, Sophie would easily have been a much better game worthy, but as things stand we can only hope that the next game in the trilogy will bring more balance to Gust's trademark series.
Fans will eat it up and for people who have been curious about the Atelier series but are uncertain about what game to start with, this PS4 debut is a new character with a new story and appears to be a good starting point.