Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana Details and Media [02/11/05]

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is a strategy RPG developed by Gust Co. LTD., which is being published by NIS America. For those who've forgotten, NIS America is Nippon Ichi's (Phantom Brave, Disgaea) American branch. This new SRPG is slated for a May 2005 launch.

World of Atelier Iris is known as Regallzine, where the Great Spirit, Mana, lives. The story puts players in the role of a young alchemist named Klein Kiesling. While the gameplay structure appears to follow similar SRPG lines (Story event > Preparation >Travel > Battle > Completion), the way it plays out definetly shows promise in changing the formula. Travel happens in polygonal areas, not unlike you standard RPGs (Xenogears, etc.) instead of a static sprite map. Battle provides a "Cost Turn System" which allows for using two actions per turn or charging for bigger attacks in later turns.

Other features include Elemental Extraction, Mana Synthesis and Weapon Synthesis. Mana Synthesis allows players to make new items and Weapon Synthesis offers tons of customization for their weapons. While in dungeons, players should be pleased with the more action-oriented options available to them. This alone should aid in keeping the game from boiling down into a tedious experience grind.

Visually the game is on par with other SRPGs available for the console. I will say, though, that the screens I've seen have shown off a crsipness and clarity in detail that the current crop have failed to deliver.

- - Kinderfeld

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