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Mana Khemia est sans aucun doute le RPG le plus abouti de Gust, attachant, drôlement décalé, et soigné à l'extrême, tant visuellement que musicalement.
Le début poussif laisse vite place à un jeu incroyablement addictif et amusant, qui ne prétend pas révolutionner le genre. Pour ceux qui apprécient le genre, Mana Khemia s'impose comme un RPG majeur de 2008, et comme l'un des meilleurs de la console.
Mana Khemia revived my love for Gust titles, just when I thought I was losing that love (see Atelier Iris 3...). Mana Khemia seems to have been a success in Japan, what with a PSP port of this game as well as a PS2 sequel coming out in Japan later in 2008. I would have appreciated NIS America putting more effort and careful thought into the localization of this game, but for me personally, it made little difference. Mana Khemia is an incredibly fun game with a fairly large scope, that takes a minimum of 40 hours to complete. And, with a simple New Game Plus feature, serious fans can get all of the character-specific endings without doing much work. I enjoyed the gameplay enough to deem the game's overall score "A" material, but just barely, with a 90%. I recommend it to any RPG fan, even those among us who generally disdain the 2D, low-budget titles.
Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is fun. That's basically the only word to describe it. It isn't particularly deep or thought-provoking, or noticeably challenging. It's just fun. Spending 30 hours or so with these characters is an enjoyable time, and while it won't be the sort of RPG you replay often or will remain with you long after the credits roll, you'll have a fun time with it. The school setting is unique enough to really set Mana Khemia apart from most of the bombastic "save the world" RPGs, since even fellow school-based RPG Persona 3 was far more focused on symbolism and drama than goofy fun, and the gameplay is enjoyable enough to keep you going. Don't play Mana Khemia expecting a life-changing experience or the new baseline for RPGs. Play it expecting to smile.
Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is a good RPG, but mostly for the crowd that favors the complexities of things like stat management over elements like story and action.
The Next Level
Mana Khemia offers plenty of humor, great looking 2D graphics, solid music, and a combat system that makes the turn-based approach a little more hands on. The best way to enjoy this adventure is with balance: equal parts item farming, character growth, and synthesis. If you enjoyed the alchemy games of the past or want to jump in to the genre, then Mana Khemia is an easy choice.
G4 TV: X-Play
The synthesis system is simple enough, but it’s also very flexible. A basic recipe usually has lots of different optional ingredients – a potion, for instance, might call for one of four different kinds of mushroom. Varying the synthesizing process with different ingredients (and a touch of random chance) gives the resulting item different extra effects, which it can pass on to another item in a future synthesis experiment.
Mana Khemia is not going to win any awards, but it does accomplish maintaining a fun experience without become too serious or too hard, making it a good offing for most RPGers new or old.
With its interesting combat mechanics and layered alchemy system, Gust has created its best game yet, at least out of those released in North America. It has its flaws, and it won't challenge veteran role-players. Yet it's surprisingly clever and endearing, and offers an engaging experience that, though not quite classic, is addictive in all of the best ways.
Mana Khemia se montre plus plaisant sur PS2 que sur PSP et demeure un RPG sucré à souhait et très sympa à jouer. Le titre a été cependant lancé à peu d'unités, et peut être vous faudra t-il tenter votre chance en Angleterre pour mettre la main dessus.
Mana Khemia is one of Gust’s strongest titles to date. It takes the elements that fans loved in older Gust games, and runs with them. The considerable alterations to the formula make the game feel fresh, though the changes likely won’t be enough to make Khemia appeal to many outside of Gust’s fanbase. Even so, if you’re a fan of in-depth, anime-style RPGs, consider spending a few semesters in the Al-Revis Academy.
The Review Busters
If you are looking for a change in the RPG genre then this might be the perfect game for you. I can’t say Gust has tried to hard to change their games too much, but the formula is still welcomed. This game is worth checking out, just make sure that you are aware of the games easy difficultly curve. Completing Mana Khemia is easier than beating Super Mario Bros.
Game Informer Magazine
It provides its fair share of fun, but of the two "strange boy with special powers attending school" PS2 games on this page, Mana Khemia lands in second (a.k.a. last) place.
We did like the idea of a semi-realistic advancement of time; when out in the woods, a clock will update you and if you stay out long enough, night will fall. At this time, the enemies become far more aggressive, so be careful! But again, like with most everything else in this game, it's just not a big or "impactful" feature. Bottom line is this- while there isn’t anything critically wrong with Mana Khemia: Masters of Al-Revis, there’s also no real incentive for fans of the genre to purchase it and play it through to the end. The control is fine, the gameplay as a whole is fine, the characters and atmosphere are acceptable and even amusing, and Gust does hit the correct note when it comes to presentation. But the Academy aspect of the game drags big time, the voice acting and graphics are sub-par, and although the Alchemy is involving, the overall depth isn’t as intricate as you might believe. Basically, all we have to say is, “well, it’s okay, but…that’s it?”
Mana Khemia is the kind of game that feels too much like its predecessor and doesn’t offer enough to draw in new players. However, if you are a fan of the genre, or more importantly the developer behind them, then this game will certainly not disappoint. The deep alchemy system and unique grow book are worth the price of admission alone and the collector’s edition is chock full of fan-service. If you loved Atelier Iris then you will most likely enjoy your time with Mana Khemia, just keep in mind that this game is almost a step backwards in the difficulty department so your skills may be too much for the world of the alchemists.
Cheat Code Central
If you are a fan of past Gust RPGs like Atelier Iris and Ar tonelico, Mana Khemia may be something worth looking into. However, be forewarned that this game in no way features the same amount of freedom to roam and spend as much time as you please. Where Gust fails is in their ability to make this game appeal to a wide audience, even in the RPG market. Some RPG fanatics may enjoy the in-depth alchemy system, but the repetitive system of attending school and completing pre-ordained tutorials become very redundant. It is very hard to become deeply attached to this game.
In the end, players that are looking for a unique RPG experience full of quirky characters, an interesting story with a few twists and turns, and exciting music, then Mana Khemia is the game for them. This is despite the few issues with the game's latter areas that force players to battle against enemies that can be frustratingly difficult to defeat, after being spoon-fed through most of the rest of the dungeon preceding it. Mana Khemia is a fun game despite its flaws, and will hit store shelves on March 31st.
Overall, Mana Khemia is the type of game that will appeal to a niche audience; fans of the Atelier Iris series will feel right at home from the moment they pick up the controller and die-hard jrpg fans will get into the game's complex alchemy system. For the rest, the game's weak storyline and lack of truly captivating gameplay elements will both act as deterrents. Synthesizing items feels cumbersome, and much of the game can make a player feel like a robot on a treadmill. If Mana Khemia is for you, then you probably already know it.
The biggest trouble of all is that Khemia borrows too much from earlier Gust games. Atelier Iris 1, 2 and 3 all share sprites with Khemia, the music is almost identical and the characters are as forgettable as ever. Even if the storyline is somewhat intriguing and the battles (eventually) excite, sitting through one lengthy dialogue tree after the other while alchemists-in-training spout empty phrases about homework diminishes the experience. This style of RPG hasn't been fresh for years, but now even as a relic it's losing appeal. Maybe Gust should take a break and rethink its next release, because we sure don't need Mandated Gust RPG Update 2009.
Mana Khemia is one of those games that has some good ideas that are simply ruined by weak execution. The synthesis and grow book elements are deep and provide a certain amount of replayability, and the ability to pick and choose classes for your characters to enroll in is a creative twist on an RPG formula. However, the lack of challenge across the board, from accomplishing class tasks to battle and even skill acquiring will disappoint most players. It's not a horrible title, but it definitely is weaker than the series it's trying to take over for.
The new stuff, however – the story, the characters, the overacted voice acting – is almost too lackluster to swallow. The music is catchy but it's nothing extraordinary. There are deeper scores out there to be certain. If the Atelier Iris gameplay isn't solely enough to hook you, the rest of the game will surely discourage you from playing till the end.
People will often criticize a game for having too much visual wizardry and not enough meat. With Mana Khemia, it's the exact opposite: The core gameplay is sound, so it's a shame that it's burdened by a derivative plot, generic characters, and archaic visuals (reminiscent of the 32-bit era in a bad way).