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.
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