Doesn't change the formula much but the little improvements make Totori a much better sequel.
For those unfamiliar with Atelier Totori, it is a very lighthearted RPG where you spend a lot of time creating items using alchemy and the game is quite heavy on time management. The first couple hours of the game set up the story and teach you the basics and once you get your adventurers license you are on your own. The thing is, your adventurer license will expire in three years so you must rank up by using your alchemy to create new items, exploring the land, killing monsters, and accepting quests and completing them within their time limit.
Almost everything you do in the game takes up time, traveling between each area takes several days, as does creating items via alchemy, and even gathering materials and fighting monsters. There are items that will help as they decrease the time used up for gathering and traveling so it won't be as much as it seems at first assuming that they are created. For those who played the first game, the time management isn't quite as much an issue since there are no assignments so you pretty much get to do things however you like for most of the game. Also instead of their being only eight areas to explore with many sections, now all the dungeons are separate so there is more variety in the environments.
Both the alchemy and battle systems are solid. The battle system is typical turn-based fare. Battle is done by taking turns attacking or using skills, only alchemists can use items in battle so healing items aren't quite as useful as in most RPGs since not everyone can use them. It would have been nice if characters would learn at least another skill or two as most learn only two that they can use in battle. It makes fighting a bit repetitive since there many options for offense but over all I'd say it's just fine since it isn't really the focus of the game. There is also MP now so skills no longer degrade your health which I think is better.
The alchemy consists or running around to gather or buy materials and using them to create items. Creating items uses up MP and days, with the amount depending on the level of the item. You may try to create items at level higher than your alchemy but there is small to very large chance depending on the difference that you will mess up and end up with junk. I could easily see this being boring for others but I have fun with it. This game will not appeal to everyone.
One more thing to add is that there are a lot of character events that happen at certain times when you visit your home/towns/shops/etc and some of them are easily missable. They are not central to the story but they are nice to watch and for those that care may want to visit the two towns often or use a guide(there probably isn't one yet as the game just came out and no official strategy guide).
The story in the game felt a bit more focused than in Rorona but it's still more just an excuse for you to do your adventuring so nothing compelling here, the characters are fun and likeable though. For those who haven't played Rorona, it isn't essential to do so but there are a lot of mentions of events from the last game and there is quite a bit of humor that will go over the heads of anyone not familiar with the first game. This game lasts five years( well six technically but the first year is basically a tutorial, which you have the option of skipping with new game+) compared to the original games' three so it is a bit longer/
There is a lot of replayability for Atelier Totori as there multiple endings/character endings and events that I imagine most will not see all of in one playthrough. In the end, Atelier Totori is a great game for those that it appeals to. Nothing in the game is exceptional but when you sum of all it's parts together you come away with a very good game.
+ Solid battle system and item synthesis
+ Fun characters with humorous moments at times
+ Lighthearted and not very serious(mostly), a change in pace from most RPGs.
- Events that are very easy to miss without a guide
- A lot of quests repeat so can be repetitive