Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny PS2 Review
Whilst the RPG genre is generally one of change, Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana looked to the past for inspiration. Combat and other mechanics were simplistic, though executed to a pleasing enough degree, it’s perhaps the deep alchemy system that garnered most praise from RPG fans and kept them marching on till the end.
Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny sticks to the old fashioned ways of its wonderful predecessor, with combat that’s less simple (but still by no means rocket science) and an alchemy system that’s actually more accessible than the original game.
The plotline of the game is similarly basic, lacking an “epic” feel compared to many other additions in the genre, though, like Eternal Mana, it does possess charming characters and an amusingly silly sense of humour.
Unlike the aforementioned game, Atelier Iris 2 follows the plight of two characters, including Felt, who travels to another world to save his own, whilst Viese, his female companion, remains at home to do the ironing, or rather to craft new items for Felt to aid him in his arduous journey.
The two can be switched between at save points, with the structure of the game often requiring you to do so. As Felt, you’ll often reach points that require you to have certain items on hand to make progression and it’s up to Viese to cook it up for him back at home.
Which brings me nicely to one of the most appealing features of the game, its alchemy system. Unfortunately this system has been dumbed down somewhat, resulting in one that requires much less experimentation than the previous game and is therefore far less satisfactory to play about with, mercifully it’s still an addictive enough mechanic though.
Since its actually improved over the first game, the combat fares better. Skirmishes are still some of the most basic of the genre, but the game borrows elements from other RPGs to create a deeper system. There are two types of physical attacks: charge, which charges up a meter of sorts, allowing you to unleash magic and such (Atelier Iris 2 doesn’t feature MP) and break, which allows you to stun your enemies, whilst any follow up attacks during this state will multiply your end of battle experience as well as granting the battles additional strategy over that of the first title.
Despite the game featuring the much derided random battles, it’s still entirely possible to wipe out every enemy in the area, which is a nice touch that allows exploration to eventually go uninterrupted, particularly in the larger areas, though if you’re a level grinder, enemies will mercifully respawn upon leaving an area. It could be argued that this is simply glossing over a system that many despise, but there’s no doubt that it’s far better than incessantly bashing flies that don’t stand a chance against your god like team.
Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny is, on the surface, a better RPG than its predecessor, battles are more strategic, the yarn more exciting and thanks to the inclusion of a 60hz mode, borders are nonexistent. The alchemy system, however, does let things down, and since this is one of the series’ most appealing of attributes, Atelier Iris 2, whilst still a great game, is not quite the winning concoction that Eternal Mana was.