Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

From time to time, I do admittedly get excited at finding a +30 sword and the like in my RPGS, but rarely am I obsessed with hoarding items, possibly because – save for the odd potion to top up my health or magic points – I never feel the need to use the vast majority of them. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, however, brings a new compulsive meaning to the nature of item collecting.

Main hero: Klein, being an alchemist, can, with his magical cane, dissolve items (each of which are of a certain element) littered around the wonderful environments. By doing so, thanks to the power of his mana, you can create magical items to assist you on your quest.

Furthermore, by finding the requisite materials and ingredients, it’s possible to create hundreds of different items via a shop, many of which are useless to begin with. Though by gathering better items, existing ones can be improved and even transformed into different items and with more quality items, comes more customers to the shop. I did my utmost to get items of the highest quality, for not only my benefit, but also for the benefit of the reputation of the virtual stores, resulting in a surge of customer interest. I even actually begun to care for them.

If interest in any store is waning, you may even feel a sense of guilt, possibly to do with the fact that all the shop people are such pleasant folk, each with their own stories to tell. Their often humorous conversations with your party upon developing a new item, is one of the best reasons to tinker with item creation. On occasion, I even found myself more compelled to learn about the back story of these lot than to get on with doing more important things like, you know, saving the world from an impending destruction.

Indeed, the story (your average save the world from destruction yarn), whilst perfectly serviceable, is uneventful and certainly not one of the games’ greatest of strengths. The characters, however, whilst significantly clichéd, are a charming bunch, and the story has a pleasant and often offbeat light hearted sense of humour running throughout, which will amuse all but the most miserable of people.

On the other hand, the beautiful high resolution 2D sprite based visuals are perfect, having much more character than their less limited breadth brethren could ever manage. The sprites are such quality, that never do they appear pixillated up close, whilst the world is stunning and an utter joy to transverse.

Beneath the item crafting systems, which are undoubtedly significant elements. With exploration and a basic old fashioned combat system (accessed by the often derided random battles), and the reliance on chatting with townsfolk to both advance the plot and just pass the time of day with, Eternal Mana is a derivative example of the genre, though not at all in a negative way.

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is so utterly charming that if it asked me to marry it, such is its wonderful personality, attractive classic look and spellbinding gameplay, I’d more than willingly say yes. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, she’s the whole package and is the perfect partner for RPG fans, and just as long as they don’t mind a slightly old fashioned girl, who has an obsession with amassing items, a long and blissful marriage is assured.

9/10

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