It’s been a little while since I’ve dove into an Atelier alchemy game, so I was stoked and excited to dive into our Atelier Sophie 2 review this round. The two main characters return to reprise their roles from the previous installment. Sophie, a plucky, young, and quite clever alchemist and her sidekick plus mentor Plachta are back in search of a way to make Plachta into a real human. Developer Gust has set up sort of a Pinocchio-assume story but for weebs, if you will. Is the sequel as good as its progenitor? Find out in our Atelier Sophie 2 review!
Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dawn
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PlayStation 4
Release Date: February 22, 2022
Price: $59.99 USD
The previous story (Editor’s Note: SPOILERS), showed us a journey where Sophie and Plachta attempted to change Plachta’s form from a talking, flying journal full of alchemy recipes, instead attempting to make her into a human again. Her soul resides in said book and her body was lost in an alchemy brew gone wrong I suppose.
The first game oddly didn’t go into that too much, or it did and I was too focused on the waifus. Plachta was an heirloom left behind by Sophia’s grandmother after her untimely passing, but unfortunately, she lost her human body and got stuck inside a book. Sophie had to resume her late grandma’s quest to help Plachta restore her original body.
The opening scene in our Atelier Sophie 2 review puts you back in the drivers seat, with Sophie and Plachta happening upon a giant tree with a Crystal structure lodged in its branches. They briefly survey the area to investigate this humongous crystallized tree that appeared before them.
Suddenly a rip in what seems to be a dimensional vortex sucks both Sophie and Plachta into another world – a world of dreams where everyone resides for the sole purpose to their dreams come true. The world is governed by a busty, airheaded goddess named Elvyra (the best girl) and apparently she is the root of why the vortex happened that sucked them into her world.
The game plays and looks strikingly similar to Atelier Ryza 2 in that maps seem a lot more open world oriented with lots to do, tons of things to gather, a litany of fetch quests, and this is before you even start on any substantial story movement. The different areas you explore have various nooks and crannies to find enemies and ingredients for most of you impending alchemy creations.
The user experience is streamlined with easy to process and digest alchemy recipes, the return of the match-3 style minigame for alchemy recipe creation, and various fun minigames for major gathering spots that aren’t punishing enough to avoid entirely but are definitely worth doing. You’re often rewarded to be curious and explore your surroundings, so don’t be afraid to do so.
Among the litany of activists one can partake are: fishing, catching bugs, busting rocks with a pickaxe, cut wheat chaffes (for delicious waffles), rummage through barrels, or just bust them open like old school legend of Zelda: a link to the past. No chickens to throw in this game however, other than ones you fight anyway.
The new weather management system makes grinding dungeon areas less tedious due to the fact you need to progressively unlock them as you go. You can make it rain, sunshine, ice over, rain down lightning bolts, make it pitch black dark, and more. The combinations of environments along with exploration make it essential to just dive in and go spelunking.
The graphics in Atelier Sophie 2 are definitely an upgrade from the previous installment and it’s quite polished akin to how good Atelier Ryza looks. The world seems more alive and vibrant, but my one gripe is that Sophie can’t swim. The game sort of kneecaps the open-world aspect in that regard thus forcing a more linear game pathway, but it doesn’t suffer too much.
Combat is a traditional JRPG, all turn-based. Magic is intertwined in with skills where you can expend magic power to cast for extra hard hits or you can utilize items that you make at in the Atelier via alchemy. The crafted battle or support style items can also offer various stat buffs depending on ingredient quality and alchemists level, along with dealing and mitigating damage.
A big change in parry dynamics are the addition of skill assists in the form of each of your 6 total party members, via their respective skill trees. Do not neglect them or you’ll be stuck like I was running around in circles trying to find a silver crystal, only to figure out I have to upgrade the party members so I can improve item quality when doing alchemy.
The music is sublime like all the Atelier games have been to date. The themes for the dream world’s single hub town area and the surrounding dungeons are bubbly and light hearted, then shift to soothing and calm once the in-game night cycle kicks in. The boss battle music is great, however, and really captures the over-the-top nature at the core of the battle systems.
In closing, Atelier Sophie 2 is a delightful addition to the series with its polished look and mechanics. Atelier Sophie 2 plays seamlessly on my Nintendo Switch, and I found myself engrossed in it for hours on end, as the game is really hard to put down.
Getting sucked in on a new game isn’t saying much since anyone who knows me, knows I’ll get wrapped up in even a mediocre open world game. However, Atelier Sophie 2 is not that, far from it. Atelier Sophie 2 is a very well made and fun game, and has no shortage of best girls either.
Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dawn was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by Koei Tecmo. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.