Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg Preview – Back to the Roots

Following the highly popular Atelier Ryza trilogy finally concluding, it makes sense to return to this series largely overlooked origins. Newer fans, or simply those who jumped on the franchise in its later generations, likely have little to no history with how it began. Thankfully, Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg is here to satiate our curiosity and remedy one’s potential ignorance. After playing a brief preview of this resurged classic, I was left feeling moderately invested, yet still needing to occasionally remind myself that simplicity does not equate to vapidness.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg follows the titular protagonist Marlone, who goes by Marie for short. Unfortunately, she’s the worst performing student at her academy, so to hopefully graduate, she’s assigned a unique exam by her professor, Ingrid. Marie must run a shop with an atelier and deliver an item of high-enough quality to her within a specific number of years. Of course, such a gargantuan task involves a series of objectives leading up to it, such as defeating monsters and exploring surrounding regions for materials, making allies for easier traveling, and completing quests of varying challenge levels.

From what I played of Marie Remake, comprising the first year, it became immediately evident that this entry is exceedingly simple. For one, the scale of the hub and each location you visit are rather compact, and the synthesis is so straightforward that it will be jarring for those jumping in straight from Atelier Ryza 3, for example. There isn’t really much to say regarding synthesis, which is practically unheard of for modern Atelier. You can purchase one-and-done tools to aid the process, but you only need to gather enough materials. The multi-layered complex processes seen in later entries are not present here; either a detriment or boon, depending on one’s experience with these games.

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Another avenue of marked simplicity is the combat system. Encounters are standard turn-based affairs with a transparently depicted turn order, and each character has unique skills and weapons determining their applications in battle. Still, aside from needing to equip synthesized items for use in battle and needing to be cognizant of the party’s formation, you won’t have to think all that much. Like in the older entries, traveling to areas takes a number of days, and if you’re playing on the Normal Mode with the traditional five-year time limit, you shouldn’t travel all willy-nilly. On the other hand, playing on the Unlimited Time Mode only necessitates being wary of quest time limits and not the overarching goal.

However, the areas themselves leave much to be desired as there are very few enemy types per location, sometimes only one, gradually making combat progression feel dry. This was likely done to retain the original game’s design; it can just become boring if you repeatedly go through encounters. Admittedly, given the initial size of your material-gathering basket being at a 40-ingredient capacity, you’re assuredly not intended not to spend more than a few minutes on a map.

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I don’t want it to sound as if I haven’t been enjoying Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg because I have been. But new prospective players need to be aware that what they’re getting into is far more casual and smaller scale than what they may expect. At the very least, the character events have been a consistent highlight I’m eager to see more of, and that’s a facet Atelier has always excelled at.

With the sheer number of Atelier games out there, knowing which ones to play, let alone start with, can be an undeniably overwhelming task. However, I can confidently say that Atelier Marie Remake is proving to be a stellar title for one to dip their toes into, thanks to its lack of lengthy time investment. Plus, the option to turn off the five-year time limit makes it readily approachable to all crowds.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam on July 13, 2023.

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual.