A leap above the Arland trio.

User Rating: 9 | Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of Dusk VITA
Thinking back on my experience with Atelier Totori, I was under the impression that this game was going to be light, pretty and laid back. I was mostly right. Like Totori, Ayesha Plus is a time based rpg with multiple endings to earn but I was definitely happy that the time frame was much easier to manage than before. I remember dreading the long trips that took so many days and almost stopped playing altogether from all the failure. Ayesha Plus remedies that entirely so that you never feel to restricted when traveling. The story is much more interesting to boot! You must help the lonely girl find or rescue her sister who was spirited away. If you're thinking: "Hey like the anime movie Spirited Away!", then you're right. It wasn't just a concept for the movie, it's actually a real thing in Japanese folklore! You can choose to follow this arc or different story arcs that'll become available as you play. Each unique and interesting in it's own merit. The presentation had a major makeover as well. Long gone are those pesky, lazy talking pictures and crude animations. Atelier Ayesha is beautifully animated. Characters interact and talk amongst each in full 3D animation which sounds like it should be a no-brainer for today's time period but it's a first for this series and it's very refreshing to see. It not only adds more immersion to the game but it gives the story that much more impact. Voice acting is just as good as ever, take that how you will. I did find Ayesha's voice to be a little annoying at first but she eventually shows her fluidity and dynamic attitude as the game progresses. The other characters don't have that issue at first glance but the voice actors are reused from previous games. The battle system is also more robust and sleek. Apart from the turned based style, you can freel move about the battlefield and attack from different directions. With the help of a gauge under the HP meter, you can choose to defend a teammate or follow an attack or attack from behind. Special attacks consumes MP but only side characters can use and only Ayesha can use items. In short, I had alot of fun with the combat system and in many ways it revitalizes the traditional JRPG combat system. I had a hard time putting this game down and honestly wouldn't mind playing it through again and again so I can tackle on whatever I missed. Unlike Atelier Totori, Ayesha Plus starts you off with the Changing Room unlocked and Ayesha's swimsuit is already available as well as other girls. Fan service you'd call it. Either way it's a bonus and you can bet your bottom dollar there are more to earn! I highly recommend this for any JRPG fan!