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Hands-on Preview - Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~
Peviewed on 5/15/05

Alchemy Can Be Deadly

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, the next game to be released by Nippon Ichi Software, is a traditional RPG done up in a distinct anime style. The backgrounds are three dimensional, but they have a hand-painted style to them. The characters are all two dimensional sprites and have nice animation. There is only one real flaw in the graphics, and that is the slight blurring that occurs as the background pans.

The music and sound is basically simple, standard fare and the sound effects work for what they are. The story starts with Klein, who is after any objects related to alchemy. He's one of few alchemists left in the world. There was apparently another civilization hundreds of years ago where alchemists were commonplace, but some great disaster occurred and most of their ancient secrets were forgotten. Alchemists work with Mana, which are spirits representing the forces of nature. Using the Mana and elements extracted from their environment, alchemists can form different items and attacks to be used in battle.

The voice acting in Atlier is a very mixed bag in the English version. Most of the main characters seem to have decent acting, but every once in a while you'll get this character that'll just make your ears bleed. Just like most other Nippon Ichi games, though, the Japanese voice acting is still an option for those who detest the English actors.

The battle system occurs on a 2-D field, with the characters positioned on a 9x9 grid. The entire look of ths system is very reminiscent of Valkyrie Profile. Battle runs off a standard turn-based system, with attacks and skills being traded back and forth. You gain experience for your battles, and at level up you get skill points which you can distribute among various skills that you currently have to level them up.

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana looks to be a very promising release. Look forward to it on May 27th, and also watch out for RPG Land's full review soon after.



-Orie House