A second chance in the dusk sea.
Having reviewed quite the number of Atelier games in the past, I can say without hesitation that the original Atelier Shallie on the PS3 was the most disappointing of them all.
Between the shoddy localization effort, with text that would often get cut off or wouldn’t even stay in the text box, and a game-breaking bug that would hard lock my PS3 whenever I tried to access a particular upgrade screen, it was a veritable disaster in my book.
While the hard-locking bug was fixed in a patch a week or two after launch, it couldn’t fix the fact that Atelier Shallie completely did away with the iconic time limit mechanic that the series had become known for.
However, as is the case with every Atelier game that was released on the PS3, the upgraded “Plus” edition was bound to come out, and I hoped that it would serve as redemption for Shallie and become the definitive edition of the game.
Voice Acting Selection: JPN/ENG.
Played: 12~ Hours
This being the second time I’m reviewing what is essentially the same game, I will concentrate more on the difference between the two versions instead of the quality of the content itself, as much of it remains unchanged.
The most immediately noticeable thing about Shallie Plus is that it does not look as good as the PS3 version, nor does it perform as well.
The textures are much lower resolution, looking downright ugly and muddy at times, and the framerates are consistently bad, especially outside of combat. Luckily, the character models themselves still retain their iconic cel-shaded look and remain quite beautiful.
Even though this is expected of a port of a game originally from the PS3, I found the case in Shallie Plus to be much worse than what I found in Escha & Logy Plus.
The game-breaking bug seems to have been ironed out for good, and the overall translation/localization effort felt notably improved.
As for the story, the two Shallies take main stage just as the original, but now there are many new events including the protagonists from the first two games in the Dusk trilogy, who all return as playable characters. Given that I quite like Ayesha, Escha and Logy, it was nice to see them make a return to close out the trilogy in proper form.
There are a number of other small quality of life improvements from a mechanics standpoint, but none of them felt quite as drastic as the ones implemented in Escha & Logy plus.
Lastly, my issue with the lack of time constraints and the lackluster morale system that replaced it stands the same as it did in the original.
This was a golden opportunity to add some new compelling mechanics to make the game have that sense of urgency that the other Atelier games in the PS3 lineup had once more, but there isn’t anything of the sort to report in that regard.
If not for the rather terrible framerates and muddy visuals, Atelier Shallie Plus could have proven a true redemption for what I consider to be the worst game in the series. Still, it is a notable improvement in terms of content, with many more events and playable characters. If you have a high tolerance for poor performing games and feel the need to see everything that transpires in the last episode of the dusk trilogy, do so with a Vita instead of your PS3.
Fun Tidbit – Or, you can skip this one and try your luck with Atelier Sophie on the PS4, which I found to be a return to form for the series in more ways than one, even without the time constraints.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.