|Platforms||PC (reviewed), PS4, Switch|
|Release Date||Feb 24, 2022|
I fear saying, ‘I’ve become a veteran of this series’ for fear of being assumed a loli chaser. If that sentence makes you raise an eyebrow, then you know more than half of what to expect with Atelier Sophie 2.
Sexual Themes: Some characters wear revealing outfits that expose deep cleavage, and a handful of sequences allow players to wear swimsuits/bikinis in battle. Camera angles also linger on female characters’ chests and/or pan up their bodies during cutscenes.
Alcohol: Characters make references to alcohol, and players can visit pubs in towns.
Sophie has just finished her last quest and is setting out to turn her friend, Plachta, into a real human. Along the way she gets taken to a new world, and she must find her way back.
I should preface that the Atelier series isn’t what it used to be (cue old man shaking his fist in the air). Most—and I say that word intentionally—of the series was good. Crafting items with a puzzle mechanic has always been their selling point, along with a cast of colorful stereotyped characters. Atelier Escha and Logy split the game between both Escha and Logy, with different rewards for each path. Atelier Firis was the first limited open-world game with types of vehicles. Each time a new installment is released, something new comes to the table. Even the alchemy changed per game, keeping the puzzle element of creation fresh. But hardly did they embrace fan service per the anime-type the Atelier series finds itself compared to.
That was until recently.
Atelier Ryza sees a dynamic shift in many things. Back when I reviewed it, I was inexperienced in many ways. One of those was knowing most of the series via my wife’s fascination and passion. She was how I became familiar, just so it’s known; I did not choose these of my volition. I became useful for the end of the game, because each game is notorious for having a curve of difficulty as the final boss. So, some help was needed, a collaborative effort from both of us because I came in knowing nothing of the mechanics or what equipment or items she had been using. Ryza was the first time I went through myself, and without a doubt, the endgame remains the same. But as for the look, feel, and gameplay, Ryza did a lot. It also aged the main character and spared her clothes.
You would think returning to a titular character who popularized the Atelier series wouldn’t be a problem. But this new area and land are rife with fan service. The NPCs are liberal with clothing, and the side characters that follow Sophie have ridiculous proportions. What’s more, the camera angles are outrageous—so many more chest and butt shots than ever before. It was distracting, so much so, I didn’t want to play anymore.
It takes away from an otherwise good installment. The world is bigger than even Ryza’s sectioned areas. They left the streamlined alchemy of Ryza and used the Tetris-solving squares from Atelier Firis. Unfortunately, I will not know what else happens. If this doesn’t bother you, then do not let my judgment deter you, and let me know how your experience goes below in the comments.
The Bottom Line
Too much fan service to finish, at least for this guy.