One of the best games of the series!
Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland is the third game in the Arland series. This game features characters from the last two games and is written so well that the player does not need to know the last two games to enjoy it.
Meruru is a princess who wants to study alchemy and escape from her life. But due to her status around the kingdom she cannot become an alchemist without her father's permission. Her father makes a proposal stating that if she wants to become an alchemist she must use alchemy to do her royal duties and advance the population within the next three years. If she does not do as her father asks she must forget alchemy all together. Will Meruru obtain her dreams? The choice is up to you.
The graphics obtain the cartoonish atmosphere that all the other Ateliers have within the games. The textures and atmospheres provide the player with nice visual effects that show off this eye catchy land. The game features illustrations of the characters as they speak their lines. The over-world map has the atmosphere of a pop-up book making the player feel as if a book is being opened to read.
Like all the Atelier games the player must search, synthesize items, and battle monsters.
Search and Synthesis
The player will be assigned an item to produce. The player must go out and find the ingredients in caves, in forests, on hills, or through shopping. Once the ingredients are found the player must use them to create the item. Depending on the assignment the player may have to go the extra mile to find an ingredient holding a particular trait or quality (example: a fruit can be ripe or unripe).
While gathering ingredients the player will run into monsters. During the battles the player will have options to attack, defend, special attack, use item, or run. Depending on the types of characters in the player's party, the moves will be different. Alchemists can use items but a knight may not be able to, for example.
Note: To make the game play more intense, there is a time limit throughout the game and the player may feel rushed. The time will go by very quickly while traveling, gathering, synthesizing and battling.
The music is some of the best music I have ever heard in a game. In many cases the game explains its scenes and situations through the music played, making the world seem to unfold. Other times the music shows the danger the character is seeing or feeling as the story goes on. As the game continues the player will notice the music track looping, but the music never gets old. One thing to say about the music though, is that it sometimes can drown out the characters' dialogue as they speak.
Even as I write this review I am listening to one of the tracks of music as the game continues to play on. The music is stunning.
This game is a masterpiece for its beautiful art style, music, gameplay, and story. The game is one of the best games in the Atelier series and one of the best games I have ever played. This game deserves a "10" for many reasons, but because of some minor defects it just misses that "10."