What stands out about the Atelier series is how different it is from most RPGs on the market. The lighter in general tone and more human elements give it a unique feel next to similar offerings. With each adventure focusing on a new concept, pairing, or element of the narrative, we’ve seen a lot of different takes, with the latest being Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream. Taking place after the events of the original and before the Atelier Firis, it offers players another chance to see what Sophie and Plachta are up to. With a new location, crafting materials, and some interesting twists, does it stand out in the franchise or does it rely heavily on past success?
Before starting the adventure, players have the option to visit the story so far or start the new adventure. Those who opt for the recap are given a fairly robust overview of the events of Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book. It gives players a pretty good idea of Sophie and Plachta’s struggle, along with their friendship that has spanned multiple titles in the series.
Upon starting Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream’s story, players will see Sophie and Plachta arriving at a mysterious tree. Apparently, it resembles one from Plachta’s dream, but before the pair can ask any questions, they’re sucked into a vortex taking them to the world of Erde Wiege. Sometime later Sophie awakes to find Plachta is missing and ends up in the city of Roytale, where she meets some friendly faces. Upon asking and looking for her lost friend, she comes to find out someone named Plachta set up an atelier.
After visiting Plachta, she is surprised to see a young girl that somewhat resembles her friend, but doesn’t seem to be. Before they can do anything else, Plachta asks Sophie to prove her skills before further discussion, resulting in a fairly basic test and introduction to the gameplay elements. Even without knowledge of this world, Sophie produces an impressive result, one that even Plachta recognizes. While she notes she has no knowledge of Sophie, she considers the possibility that she is a younger version of her friend. With a quest to friend her friend and navigate through this wonderous new land, Sophie’s adventure begins.
Just One of the Exciting Places to Explore
Beyond the initial set up most of the adventure is set around the mysterious elements of the world, most notably Elvira, the creator goddess of Erde Wiege and some of the unusual elements. It makes for an enjoyable adventure, one that really cements how important their relationship is to Sophie.
Fans of the series should be fairly familiar with the gameplay elements in Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream. Thankfully, most tutorials have a skip function, though battle and alchemy can’t be skipped, with what you’d expect from another entry in a long-standing franchise.
Most of the adventure will have Sophie and her friends exploring the world of Erde Wiege based on leads or needs for her Atelier. Often going to a specific location, collecting resources like plants, monster parts and other things you’d commonly find in the world. These resources are typically directly on the overworld and just need to be noticed. Don’t be surprised if you collect 40 to 200 other, unrelated, things along the way out of a fear of missing out or later need. Nothing is ever useless, as they can be used to build your skill, craft items for people or just potions for battle.
Combat is what you’d expect from a turn-based RPG. Everyone follows a relatively set rotation, with various monsters to defeat. While I wouldn’t say Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream stands out much in this regard, the animations often elevate the experience. These are little things like Sophie adding a cute kick when she throws a bomb or just pretty magic to attack or defend against various threats.
Where Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream stands out the most is really the small touches. These range from weather effects changing the way the world both looks and enemies react to you, to a simple notification when you collect rare loot. My personal favorite is how battles feel more organic. There isn’t a transition to another world, but rather a few additional enemies might appear and the game slowly moves towards a battle setting. Usually, this just removes obstacles before allowing characters to attack. Following fights, there is a small removal where the enemy disappears from the overworld and you can continue your adventure. There is also a photo mode for anyone who wants to take the best picture of the colorful world.
Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream Review Verdict
In the end, Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream is a very familiar entry to the franchise. It doesn’t do much to change the formula and will likely appeal to fans of the series. Newcomers have the option to experience the first adventure through a recap, which is nice, along with some quality of life features players will appreciate. Given the cute look and fun appeal, it’s a solid entry in the franchise and likely one that will push players to fight to reunite their friends.
[Editor’s Note: Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream was reviewed on PlayStation 5 and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.]