The Atelier franchise’s recent multi-game momentum continues with the deluxe versions of the AtelierDusk trilogy. These games encompass Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky DX, and Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea DX. Dusk represents the series’ full transition to 3D scenes and environments, and the games emphasize adventuring across stark, ethereal landscapes. Although the original PlayStation 3 games were released in 2013-2015 in the West, these games still hold up incredibly well today. By including the PS3 character and area DLC, the Plus versions’ additional features and characters, and new speed-up options and framerate improvements, the DX versions are a fantastic way to experience the Dusk trilogy.
The Dusk trilogy portrays alchemists and their friends as they explore mysterious ruins and engage the encroaching Dusk phenomenon that gradually consumes the world. Each game’s protagonist has a designated motive: Ayesha wants to rescue her sister Nio who mysteriously vanished, Escha and Logy assist the developing area of Colseit as they aspire to reach mysterious flying ruins, Shallistera wants to resolve her village’s drought, and Shallotte wants to find her place and strike it rich. As a whole, the three games encompass a beautifully crafted journey across land, air, and sea with plenty of ruins, overgrown areas, and rocky landscapes to explore. While the narratives are overall more somber than those of other Atelier games, they are nonetheless full of charming characters, amusing interactions, and impactful encounters.
As a quick summary, Atelier is a traditional Japanese role-playing franchise that emphasizes character interactions and alchemy. The core flow involves meeting objectives by talking to villagers, synthesizing items, traveling to new areas, defeating enemies, and gathering ingredients. Throughout the course of each game, players create increasingly complex items that bolster the party’s offensive and support capabilities. Crafting items is the key to taking out enemies quickly and staying alive, and purely grinding levels generally only helps to some extent. The Dusk games feature easy-to-understand turn-based combat, offensive and defensive assists, and mid-battle party switching.
The Dusk trilogy features plenty of different takes on adventuring. Atelier Ayesha involves traveling from town to town in search of clues, and players travel to remote territories and surreal fields. Ayesha DX incorporates the Plus version’s achievement system that unlocks album images as players reach goals. Per its name, Atelier Escha & Logy includes two selectable protagonists. While each route has unique dialogue scenes, both encompass the same adventure in the hub town of Colseit and outside ruins. Escha & Logy also divides the story into distinct time-based assignments that are easy to digest. Each features an easily attainable main goal alongside plenty of optional side goals. Atelier Shallie encompasses a freeform adventure across ocean-themed landscapes. It once again has two selectable protagonists, but this time the routes are initially distinct and eventually converge in a striking fashion. Players unlock areas and recipes at a more frenetic pace than Ayesha and Escha & Logy, which can feel slightly excessive but is nonetheless compelling.
As the Dusk series’ third release, the DX versions feature additional enhancements on top of including all prior content. Pressing L3 allows players to run at breakneck speed, which can certainly be handy while exploring areas for resources. The sped-up movement does look a tad comical, and it provides a slight advantage by allowing players to escape pursuing enemies. Battles can also be toggled between 1x, 1.5x, and 2x speed, which really lets players plow through familiar encounters. In Atelier Ayesha and Escha & Logy, however, the doubled speed can make it a bit more difficult to activate assists in time. One additional benefit is that the games all run at a locked 1080p resolution and 30 frames per second. While it would have been nice to experience a higher framerate since these games are from the last hardware generation, the consistency is still ultimately quite welcome. Having a consistent framerate and near-instant loading results in a brisk play experience compared to the original and Plus versions.
Furthermore, the music jukebox for all three games is incredibly generous. Whereas Atelier games have allowed players to pick workshop, battle, and overworld tunes from other games, doing so generally requires free or paid downloadable packs. However, each DX title includes nineteen mainline games’ worth of songs as well as plenty of other entries from Gust’s history. Being able to explore Gust’s extensive legendary discography is quite enthralling. While some titles such as Atelier Lulua, Atelier Ryza, Blue Reflection, and both Nights of Azure titles are absent, it is still wild selecting a Mysterious trilogy track that did not originally exist when the Dusk trilogy was first released.
Atelier is renown for its well-composed tunes, and the Dusk subseries has a wide array of sweeping melodies and rocking tunes. Atelier Ayesha’s multiple overworld and battle tunes provide a pleasant surprise as players progress through the story. Furthermore, Atelier Escha & Logy has a rather eclectic soundtrack that spans laid-back flute tunes to epic symphonic tracks that accentuate the endgame grand voyage. Hiroki Kikuta of Mana series fame also contributes several tunes such as Logy’s battle theme, and the vocal tracks — especially the penultimate boss song — are especially impactful and dramatic. Shallie also has its fair share of appropriately relaxing tracks alongside awe-inspiring tracks such as “Soaring Clouds, Drifting Haze.” All three games’ opening tracks depart from the series’ typical upbeat nature, and they are beautifully crafted and haunting.
Atelier fans who started with the 2016-2018 Mysterious trilogy or 2019’s Lulua or Ryza might wonder if the Dusk series is worth revisiting. While the Dusk trilogy lacks the open-world designs, day-night cycles, and weather effects of their successors, the art design has a stark beauty that stands apart from all other Atelier games. Hidari’s character designs are still breathtakingly ornate and elegant, and the character models showcase an outlined painterly look. Certain touches such as the orange and blue fill lighting used in Escha & Logy and Shallie also accentuate the environments and characters’ beauty as well.
The time limits in Ayesha and Escha & Logy may catch some players off guard. Performing actions expends days, and each game lasts for a designated number of years. While both games give players plenty of leeway to explore, synthesize, and perform extra actions as need be, they still might feel a tad restrictive relative to newer Atelier games. The Dusk games’ alchemy systems are also fundamentally sound as it involves picking ingredients from categories and applying skills, but they may feel basic compared to the visually striking systems found in the Mysterious trilogy and Ryza.
Despite being initially released on the PlayStation 3, the Dusk trilogy is still as impactful as ever, and the DX versions are a fantastic way to revisit these titles or experience them for the first time. The games may lack the open-world design and weather-based effects of their successors, but the polished craftsmanship and sense of adventure hold up incredibly well today. Each game lasts approximately thirty to forty hours, and the two character routes in Escha & Logy and Shallie provide even more replay value. These games can be purchased separately but players can also pick them up at a discount by buying the entire trilogy. For anyone who wants to relive the Atelier series’ past or just wants to experience some well-crafted adventures, the Dusk trilogy will undoubtedly fit the bill.
Atelier Dusk Trilogy Deluxe Pack Review
Atelier Dusk Trilogy Deluxe Pack
The Atelier Dusk Trilogy is full of compelling craftsmanship and impactful adventures that still hold up well today. The deluxe versions' comprehensive content and smooth performance provide even more reasons to revisit the trilogy or experience it for the first time.
• Includes all downloadable content from the original and Plus versions of the trilogy
• Field and battle speed-up options are handy and function well
• Consistent framerate and quick loading times
• Extensive music galleries
• Additional Deluxe features are relatively minimal and straightforward