This week's update on Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book introduces a trio of never-before-seen characters along with several details on how combat plays out in the game.
First up is Corneria (CV: Yui Kondo), a retail shopkeeper in the town of Kirhen Bell. She possesses alchemic talents much like Sophie, but primarily specializes in the power to replicate things... at a price. Every time she uses this ability, her height shrinks! Thus, she doesn't use it often. Though she's laid-back, Corneria ultimately wishes to find her missing father by becoming famous.
Meanwhile, Harol Simens (CV: Tarusuke Shingaki) is the town's clocksmith; he succeeded the shop after his father retired, but doesn't take his line of work seriously. Instead of fixing watches, Harol would rather indulge in his hobby of creating guns and selling those instead. Despite his cynical personality and spouting hurtful words, he is actually concerned about Sophie whom he has known for quite some time.
Running a cafe-by-day and bar-by-night establishment, Horst Basler (CV: Youji Ueda) hears his fair share of gossip on a daily basis. He shares various requests and interesting rumors with Sophie. Known to be a trustworthy and honest old man, Horst initially opened his place due to a persistent feeling of loneliness.
The battle system in Atelier Sophie revolves around turn-based actions like many of the other titles throughout the series. Players plan out what each character will do at the start of each turn and they can see the turn order on the left side of the screen; the order of actions entirely depends on a character's speed and the specific action he or she will take. Certain skills require MP to cast and can range from damaging multiple foes to reinforcing the party's offensive or defensive abilities.
Plus, items can help support a player's party in a significant way in the game. While every character has the option to use an item, only certain items can be used on a per-character basis. This restriction doesn't apply to Sophie because she's an alchemist!
Oskar, for instance, is able to only use Food-type items along with standard items that have attack and recovery properties. Meanwhile, Monika can freely use a wide array of food items because she visits Sophie often to eat sweets with her. It is crucial for players to consider who they bring into an oncoming battle.
Characters in battle have the option to either follow-up with an additional attack after another party member attacks or defend another character from an incoming attack through the "Stance" command. Offensive and defensive stances can be altered at any time during the battle so players must strategize accordingly.
Changes in the world of Atelier Sophie occur constantly; the passage of time affects how the townspeople live each day especially when the weather changes. Some special events only take place at specific places during certain times of the day. More fierce monsters appear when thunderstorms and nighttime come around. Additionally, some NPCs only show up during the day while others only roam during the night and different materials may be gathered at the same place throughout different times of the day.
Keep an eye out or players will tire Sophie out. A fatigue warning will pop-up as Sophie continues to engage in combat and gathering without rest and an exhausted Sophie will not be able to perform well in any of her duties.
Lastly, players can visit Horst's cafe in Kirhen Bell to tackle requests, hear intriguing rumors, and collect intel related to the life of Sophie. Requests start fairly simple early on from subduing specific creatures or procuring certain items but as more requests are cleared, access to more complex requests will be opened up; while these advanced requests will certainly be difficult, their rewards are sure to be worth it.
Rumors serve as a method to track down more uncommon materials for Sophie's adventures in alchemy. Even though it costs money to hear a rumor, they could potentially lead to brand-new areas filled with extravagant foes and valuable materials.
View the gallery below for the newest batch of screenshots.
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book is coming on September 25 for the Playstation 4, Playstation 3, and Playstation Vita in Japan.