Assignment 12 Atelier Rorona Plus

Obtained after getting all other trophies.

As the title suggests, earn every other trophy and this is yours!

Assignment 1
Obtained after clearing the 1st assignment.

Time Frame: Year 1 [1/20 - 3/30]

  • Polish Powder
  • Zettel
  • Alchemy Clay
For the sake of time, just make a handful of Zettel and give them all to Sterk. While you could make Coal and Gunpowder for Sterk, I would recommend making Zettel instead. You will however later use Coal and Gunpowder for Iskel's and Hagel's friend requests later on.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 2
Obtained after clearing the 2nd assignment.

Time Frame: Year 1 [4/01 - 6/30]

Requirements:Don’t bother making cannons during the second assignment as they take a long time to make. Instead, make bombs and barrels, but only turn in the barrels as you will need the bombs later for friend requests and for when you go adventuring.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 3
Obtained after clearing the 3rd assignment.

Time Frame: Year 1 [7/01 - 9/30]

  • Witch Salve
  • Beast Statue
  • Healing Aroma
For this assignment, turn in only Witch Salve’s and save the Beast Statue’s for friend requests later on. Unlike the Beast Statue’s, Witch Salve's only take one day to make. Most of the ingredients for the Witch Salve’s can be found at Ms.Tiffany’s shop, the R&T Sundries.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 4
Obtained after clearing the 4th assignment.

Time Frame: Year 1 [10/1 - 12/20]

Requirements:For this assignment, you are going to make "food". Foods which should be turned into Sterk are: Soups and Tea. What I did was just give him a handful of high quality Black Teas and called it a day. For an easy completion and to save you a lot of time, prior to this assignment buy a lot of Black Tea's from Iskel's Cafe, then turn them all into Sterk.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 5
Obtained after clearing the 5th assignment.

Time Frame: Year 2 [1/1 - 3/30]

Requirements:Tonics are actually really easy to make, but Meredith will begin to buy up all the Magic Grass during Year 2, 1/15. Be sure to on assignments 3 and 4 to max out on Magic Grass every time Ms.Tiffany restocks her supplies. Lastly, be sure to make use of the Cabbage’s from the festival here, as they too will prove quite useful. That being said, this should be another easy completion.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 6
Obtained after clearing the 6th assignment.

Time Frame: Year 2 [4/1 - 6/30]

Requirements:Another easy assignment, as all you have to do is eliminate Vultures in the Nearby Forest. If you have been adventuring and leveling up your gear, you should have this done soon very soon, if not by the first week.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 7
Obtained after clearing the 7th assignment.

Time Frame: Year 2 [7/01 - 9/30]

Requirements:Do not make Spring Cups as those take way too long to make. Instead, make Ice Bombs as those are easiest to make and take less materials. By now you should have explored the National Mines enough to have gathered Snow Gems to make Ice Bombs. If not, I would highly advise you start exploring now and obtaining as many Snow Gems as possible. If you have managed to get Hagel’s Friendship to 25 during assignment 6, you can wholesale Ice Bombs to him beforehand making this assignment ridiculously easy.

Once this is completed, it gives you the rest of the time to do whatever you want.

Note: You can always ask Hom to make Ice Bombs for you, so long as you have synthesized one yourself. Be sure if you ask to select the “Quality” option for the best results.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 8
Obtained after clearing the 8th assignment.

Time Frame: Year 2 [10/01 - 12/20]

Similar to assignment 2, make Barrels for this assignment instead of making Cannons. If you managed to reach a friendship of 25+ with Tiffany and chose to wholesale Barrels before this assignment, you can just buy the Barrels for an easy completion. Once completed, be sure and visit areas which you have not explored yet, as you have plenty of time.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 9
Obtained after clearing the 9th assignment.

Time Frame: Year 3 [1/01 - 3/30]

Requirements:For the sake of time, avoid making Arland Crystals as they take up too much time. Instead, make Komets, lots of high quality Komets. You can also purchase Komets from Pamela's store if you recruited her during assignment 7. Hom can also make Komets so long as you made one, but it will take longer.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 10
Obtained after clearing the 10th assignment.

Time Frame: Year 3 [4/01 - 6/30]

  • Shadow Grass
  • Dark Coral
  • Midnight Flower
In order to fulfill this requirement, you will need to head to the Night Domain for the items listed above, but be warned that the monsters are tough. The easiest item to farm is the Midnight Flower as the area is only one day. Once you have completed the requirements, you have the rest of the time to do whatever you see fit.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignment 11
Obtained after clearing the 11th assignment.

Time Frame: Year 3 [7/01 - 9/30]

Requirements:At this point in the game, you should have amassed tons of items. You should have this done the very moment you start the assignment. I would suggest making Barrels (lots of Barrels) since they are the easiest to make and take up little to no time varying on your Alchemy level. If you have been wholesaling Barrels to Ms.Tiffani, you can easily buy them from her for an easy completion.

You need to get 10 (gold) stars on this assignment.

Assignments Cleared!
Obtained after clearing the last assignment.

Time Frame: Year 3 [10/01 - 12/30]

Requirements:This is probably the "hardest" assignment, but nothing too difficult. I would suggest making some high quality Elixirs with a lot of traits on them. Once you have finished this assignment, you should have the rest of the time to yourself.

You can aim for 7 (gold) stars here, as you will have enough either way.

Last edited by x410xDragon; January 20th, 2016 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Typo

What was once “Baby’s First Sid Meier’s” quickly becomes a multi-faceted web all its own, deepened further by late-game items and mechanics that overhaul much of the game. Wholesale, for example, allows you to register and purchase multiples of an item you’ve created, obviating synthesis grinding by making high quality basics readily available, provided you’ve got the Cole. Much the same is true of Gardening, which allows you to breed unique plants bearing fruit with otherwise unobtainable traits.

This may sound overwhelming—and at times, it is—but Rorona Plus knows its pacing. In keeping with the game’s modus operandi, new features are divvied up. The start of each chapter brings new tasks and tools, preventing information overload while giving the player something to look forward to.  

The same philosophy is applied to the narrative, a loose but entertaining batch of character relations. It is neither tear-jerking nor disheartening, but it will get you laughing. Hom the terminally out-out-touch homunculus and Esty the demanding knight, in particular, consistently put a stupid grin on my face. On the whole, it’s Rorona’s three-year journey of maturity, throughout which she finally gets a handle on her self-esteem. As a character, she plays the flustered card one too many times, but as a main character, she’s a treat to watch.

My personal favorite, Homhom, and her partner Little Meow. Shut up, it's cute. (image via Zerochan)

The characters in your party affect the dialogue you view, as do the selections made when multiple conversations are available—not what is said in conversation, but when deciding who to speak to. The detailed character art of these conversations places the cast in its most flattering light, with this version’s new 3D models close behind. Contrastingly, character voices, particularly those of the male cast, can’t keep up artistically, ranging from whiny schoolboy to overly gruff curmudgeon, though a few stand out as well spoken.   

Let’s be clear: Atelier Rorona Plus is a PS3 and PS Vita rerelease of the 2010 original. This is a game that was designed from the ground up to improve upon a product, and in several gameplay aspects it absolutely does. However, the fact remains that it is a second attempt. Yet it is still, still riddled with technical and optimization oversights for which there are no excuse.   

The gathering areas of Rorona Plus sit awkwardly between 2.5 and 3D. Sometimes this isn’t much of a problem; paths, enemies and resources are generally obvious enough. A brow goes up, however, when you’re punished for not noticing the umpteenth hidden path that you are, unbeknownst to the visible spectrum, able to traverse. Not being able to rotate your viewpoint also hides enemies and items behind the foreground, leaving you with the ugly option to run in what you think is left. This is compounded by the fact that the terrain itself lacks the shading necessary to properly distinguish depth, at some angles leaving a terraced hillside with all the detail of a chalkboard.

I could continue bemoaning the many hurdles the game crashes headlong into. So I will. Enemies have terrible AI and love to run aimlessly about in bizarre patterns. Combat is subjected to heavy screen-tearing during intense animations, pile-driving the game into the single digits of frame rate. Likewise, there are noticeable pauses during certain situations—the situation being such unlikely events as opening your inventory—which can make the game flow like a revolving door with a wrench in it. Fortunately, this is not a constant occurrence. A much more frequent but equally damnable problem would be recolored and pasted enemies, a transparent attempt to spread the game’s dozen enemy models across many locales.

Speaking of transparent: Meet Tiffani, the most important shop owner in Arland. (image via Twinfinite)

However, the uncontested pinnacle of failings is a near game-ending freeze point which has risen to notoriety across multiple versions of the game. I was one of the lucky ones able to move past the glitch due to blind luck, a reinstallation, mind-numbing retries and a bit of blind fiddling, but it’s no secret many playthroughs came to a grinding halt due to the still uncorrected issue.

That all of these problems remain even in the second release of Rorona is appalling. I was genuinely surprised to see a debugging team in the credits. A walking glitch here or frame rate dip there is hardly game-breaking, but with quantity rivaling that of its synthesis options, Rorona Plus takes technicality too far.

Ironically, Atelier Rorona Plus could be better, plain and simple. The core gameplay is incredibly compelling, with an amusing narrative to match, but every last aspect is diluted by QA blunders. For all her charms, fans of Disgaea or Shin Megami Tensei will almost certainly be disappointed if they come to Rorona seeking the same complexity or difficulty. With that said, for an ostensibly casual JRPG, Rorona Plus is deceptively addicting and tense, and delivers enough variables to get even genre veterans scratching their head.

If nothing else, take this away from this review: I became so incredibly attached to my alchemical status that, upon receiving several dozen top-tier cabbages as a reward, I was genuinely excited—a fact I found so embarrassingly funny I had no choice but to admit it in the title.

The Atelier series is a bit of a black sheep in the JRPG scene, well-known for being a middle-ground for multiple genres. Even a brief glance speaks volumes about the game: a cast of cute, young girls knocks many of the more extreme forms of conflict from the narrative checklist; its colorful art betrays its light-hearted nature; and a single fight is proof of where it lies between casual and hardcore tactics. Atelier Rorona Plus is the revamped version of Atelier Rorona, the first of a trilogy playable on PS3 and, thanks to the Plus editions, PS Vita. However, rerelease doesn’t do the game justice.

[Full disclaimer: I have not played the original Atelier Rorona and will therefore be reviewing this, the downloadable PS3 version of the remake from a gameplay perspective rather than focusing on its improvements.]

Atelier Rorona Plus is a clock.                                             

The central cog in that clock is titular alchemist Rorolina Frixell, better known as Rorona. Bright-eyed, naïve and loveably clumsy, she slaves away under the tutelage of her alchemy master Astrid at their shop and home, the Atelier, in the town of Arland. Theirs is an upbeat and happy tale, devoid of a central evil or impending apocalypse, but not without taught strings. The hands start turning once the final gear locks in place: the Atelier is to be closed down, and in order to prevent it, Rorona must complete 12 tasks assigned by Arland’s government over the next three years.

There’s much to be done in Arland. As an alchemist, you’ll be synthesizing new ingredients, equipment, food, medicine and much more back at the Atelier. In order to so, you’ll strike out to neighboring lands and dungeons to gather ingredients, fighting all manner of baddies along the way. Above all, you’ll be racing the one law to which the entire series is joined at the hip: time.

From the left: Rorona, Astrid and Rorona's pint-sized childhood friend Cordelia, who is none too keen on her size. (image via Nerdreactor)

You have 90 days to complete each of your 12 royal tasks, typically requiring you to create and turn in specific items. What you do during that time is largely left up to you, but no matter what you decide, you will be using time. Synthesizing, gathering, resting, random events—everything knocks days from the calendar.

And if you miss a deadline? Perhaps misjudge a recipe or spend too much time away from the shop? You’re done; game over. The game whisks you back to square one—square one being your most recent save point—with nothing more than a “get it right next time.”

“Not as crushing as rogue-lite games,” you might say. Keep in mind that your most recent save point may very well be your last: if you didn’t meet the deadline the first time, what guarantees reloading from a flawed position will let you?  If you saved with 40 days left, you’ve got time to stitch things up. With a dozen left? You’ve got a hacksaw and a stick to bite down on.

This is where the adorable façade of Atelier begins to crack, giving tenacious players a glance behind its cutesy minimalism. A gorgeous, almost pencil-drawn aesthetic masks the nail-biting drive to meet a fast-approaching deadline. Even the easiest of tasks can turn into a downhill sprint you’re not sure you can brake. On top of the royal assignments, you’ve got countless side-quests to tend to in order to raise Cole (gold) for your endeavors and stay on top of your friendships and reputation.  

Never mind hours in a day; there aren’t enough days in a year.

This urgency is the backbone of the game, and flows through every last aspect—rather fortuitously given how simple much of the game is. Combat is traditional turn-based fare with basic attacks, each character’s handful of skills, and Rorona’s hand-crafted items, which only she can use. Fortunately, random encounters hold no power here; outside of mandatory fights, combat is governed by the “bonk it to get the first move” rule.

You can customize your three-man party by hiring up to two different partners, but all choices ultimately add up to the same two roles: offense and defense. There’s similarly little room for min-maxing in the way of stats. Higher numbers are better, and once you’ve conquered that imponderable, you’re through the fog of war.  

Character stats as well as guides about in-game activites are available in the Library, a start menu of sorts. (image via lparchive)

Combat is deliberately kept digestible. Fittingly, a turn clock displays which teammate or enemy will act next, boiling most battles down to “dogpile the enemy that hits first.” It’s not boring, but it will rarely put you on the edge of your seat. However, more difficult fights—bosses which, I can confidently tell you, do not screw around—are more engaging, largely thanks to the Assist mechanic.

Assist points allow other members to block damage Rorona would take (in comes the defensive partner), and create combination attacks by piggybacking on her skills (bring it home, offensive). It’s unexpectedly satisfying to unleash a deadly combo after racking up four or five Assist points, and protecting Rorona is always something to keep in mind. She’s not a burden to the party, but you’ll want to conserve her MP for synthesizing whenever possible.

Gathering ingredients is just as straightforward: go to the place, find the things. Defeating enemies will net you a stream of basic items, but you’ll have to turn to specific resource points for the good stuff. The challenge here is budgeting the space of your basket. You can’t carry everything, so you’ll have to prioritize high-quality items and ingredients related to the current assignment. Revisiting an area will refresh its resources, but again, at the cost of time.

For your comparison: Rorona's original 3D model (left) and the model seen in Plus (right).

Combat and gathering are the silver and bronze to the gold of synthesis. The Elrich brothers had it right: alchemy is serious business. Dozens upon dozens of ingredients comprise thousands of combinations, complete with unique traits, cost, quality and more. There is no one-size-fits-all item; most requests requires specific traits, particularly if you want to earn Tickets, a side currency redeemable for items not obtainable with Cole.

You’ll need up to five different ingredients to synthesize an item, and more often than not, several of each. Making bombs? You’ll want a few levels of Forceful on them. Don’t have any direct ingredients with Forceful? Make new ones, filtering the Forceful trait down the ingredient tree. To give you more to play with, combining two consecutive trait levels (level one and two or two and three) results in unique skills. Hand-Crafted, for example, is unlocked by combining two levels of Quality, and is more powerful than them individually.

You’ll wind up with a network of synthesis combinations made possible only by upgrading and mixing carefully selected items, all for the sake of the best product. It’s an enjoyably involved process, and achieving a top-tier result is worth the effort.

This is a game at its best when you can’t do something, one cognizant of the fact that not having options and being forced to make tough decisions are very different things. You don’t have time to explore that area, no matter how valuable its ingredients. You don’t have time to resupply at the Atelier before heading to the next area; make do with the healing items you brought. You can’t ignore side quests in order to perfect the main assignment; do so and your relations with the townsfolk will crumble, meaning higher store prices and hiring fees (for party members).  

Cannot, do not and should not apply pressure, but never become annoying. It’s not a matter of being denied options; rather, it’s the hunt for the most efficient one.

Review continued on Page 2

Austin Wood

Austin Wood started working as a writer when he was just 18, and realized he was doing a terrible job at just 20. Several years later, he's confident he's doing a significantly less terrible job. You can connect with him on Twitter @austinwoodmedia.

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