Strategy role playing games (RPG) have always been on the back burner for both developers and publishers in the console market. While the reasons for this are unclear, it is clear that gamers that don’t speak/read Japanese fluently have missed out on a lot of good strategy RPG’s over the years. Titles like Shining Force III Scenario II and III, Sweet Home and many others over the years will never be officially released in North America. That is a shame. For instance the title of our history article today is the first in its long lineage to make it to our shores, a series that actually started way back in 1997, in Japan that is.
Regallzine is where the story in Atelier Iris begins and centers around but all is not as it seems at first. This world is rife with alchemy and mana and wars that are tearing the country apart. The twist is that both mana users and alchemists need each other. Mana users allow alchemists to use their powers to extract more mana from ruins for instance.
Using turn based battles, Atelier Iris gives gamers the added ability of placing their characters for effectiveness in the battle along with keep them out of the way if needed/desired. The challenge in crafting the character of your choice is compounded by the limited points that are awarded upon each “level up” that a character obtains. Decisions are tough in character crafting and on the battle field.
Featuring an art style that is squarely in the hand drawn realm (think Suikoden I and II) which will appeal to retro gamers, Atelier Iris oozes style and gaming goodness. Currently, the only way to get a copy is to track down a copy of the original Playstation 2 release, there is no Playstation Network version available at this time.