Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana
Description official descriptions
In the land of Regallzine, there is a special guild of alchemists - people who possess magic powers they draw creatures called "mana". The alchemists are able to manipulate elements and to fuse magical items. One of such alchemists suddenly got the idea of resurrecting an ancient god, claiming it will bring peace and happiness to humanity. To stop the madman, another alchemist, a young man named Klein, enters the scene. Klein is a particularly skillful magic user and has his way with mana, so with the help of his powers he hopes to stop the planned resurrection and to save the world.
The gameplay features traditional turn-based battles against randomly encountered enemies and a role-playing system based on the spiritual mana creatures. The characters use mana to create magical items and also equip it to learn special abilities and to gain bonuses when leveling up. Some mana creatures must be given gifts in order to obey you and to become more powerful. Mana-equipping can also grant you physical abilities which you can use to solve puzzles in dungeons.
- イリスのアトリエ エターナルマナ - Japanese spelling
- 伊丽斯的工房：永恒玛纳 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
Credits (PlayStation 2 version)
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Average score: 77% (based on 29 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 6 ratings with 1 reviews)
Atelier Iris : Eternal Mana is a RPG released for the Playstation 2. In fact this is a game that is quite different from most games around, and personally I loved it so I'd like to share my experience through this review.
Once thing that really separates Atelier Iris : Eternal Mana from any other RPGs is it's humorous content. Most RPGs takes themselves very seriously, which is good, but in the end it is nice to have a RPGs that doesn't try to be realistic or philosophic, instead it just is fun. Each single bit of this game is very fun, including characters, graphics, enemies, and more specifically enemies' name. Of course the dialogue through the game is very fun all along. How could you imagine for example, a cat-girl that also serves as a telephone ? Oh well, I wish I had as much crazy imagination as the people beyond this game ! Well, it's like this all the way around. The funniest of the whole game is probably the item's names and their description.
When I played this game at first I expected to be a regular RPG, and I was very surprised by the BIG amount of items this game features. Without doing anything too special after a few hours of gameplay your item inventory will already be 4 pages wide with junk stuff that you never think they could be in a game, and if you manage to get all items of the game, the inventory is 24 pages wide with I guess about 400 items to collect. Items can range from anything, and often, there is many variant of the same item such as small gear, big gear, small log, big log, etc... The funniest are food items, which gets various states. For example you have something like carrot, old carrot (not as good as carrot) and hard carrot (it's all black, and it's, according to the game "hardly food anymore") haha how could they make such wonders ? The game features an item synthesis system. When you go to a shop, instead of just buying stuff you can also "synthesise" items (read cook). By merging some items together and following a recipe given by the shop owner, you may get a brand new item. You can also do variant of the same item by varying ingredients (for example if you cook something with carrot you'll have the good version of it, and if you replace carrot by hard carrot you get the bad version of it). You can do a LOT of thing with this, which are almost useless to the gameplay but are so fun. For example you can cook with machine oil, create a bread with spikes on it that serves as a bludgeon (and you can equip it), or just create food that is so bad that is damage monsters when you force them to eat it (read use the item on them). All this stuff will do ridiculous damage as opposed to normal weapon attack, but it's still fun. There is somewhere in the game an item collector that will reward you for each new item created with money and sometimes bonuses (you can heard sound and see images on the title screen).
Aside of items, this game also features some other things. Your main quest requires you to fight monsters (and not to only create items) be reassured, but however the monsters themselves are fun, have fun names, fun attacks and so on. The fighting system is really similar to the one in Final Fantasy X, everything is turn based, and depending on what attack you and the character's speed, the next turn will come earlier or later. You can switch characters indefinitely on each turn, just like in Final Fantasy X. However, you don't see who will be attacking next, and they added charged attacks, which when you select them aren't directly executed, but take a whole turn to charge. If the character charging its attacks get a lot of damage, the attack will be canceled, tough. The game also features puzzles that needs to be solved by using the power of your manas (a mana in this game is, among a lot of other things, a little fun cartoonish creature that comes with you and each one have a special ability).
Your party is made of 6 members, without spoiling anything there is Klein your little hero, while not technically a silent protagonist, he says almost only "well I guess so...", "oh yeah", "you should be right", "really ?", and says nothing else. He's just so passive you wonder why he's even a hero, but he looks fun. His hair very from blond (in game) to brown (on box), to red (in the game's pictures) and to black (in the game's intro FMG). He just have every possible hair color at once. He's the only one to be able to use alchemy and mana items, and he's the only one to be able to revive others unless you get a super-rare reviving item. Now with him comes Lita, the crazy girl of the party who is always complaining, and is skilled with claws. She is very fast in battle, while Klein is very slow. After this comes Delsius, the easy going fool of the party, who has "bows" as weapon (but it looks more like a gun than a bow in battle). He's able to counterattack which make him a useful character. There is also Norn, the cat-girl of the party, which is always hungry or sleepy like cats. She's not very powerful, but early in the game she's the only one to be able to hit ghosts with normal attacks (Klein is latter also able to). Then comes Arlin, who is a mysterious and powerful swordfighter. Finally there is Marietta who is also a powerful swordfighter, her normal attacks are by far the most powerful in the game, and she is the only one who is able to heal without items. In short, your party is great, while a few characters are really stereotyped, they are very good and you'll like them. And they actually talk during battle, which sounds cool. The voice acting is very great.
Now let's talk a bit about the graphics. Normally I don't think graphics are very important in a gameplay experience, they just serve it. However, they day I bought Atelier Iris Eternal Mana was the first day in my life I bought a game for its graphics. I've heard this was a native Playstaion 2 game with 2D graphics, so since I'm a big fan of 2D graphics I wanted to see it at all cost. And I was right. And no, this game does NOT look like a SNES game or not even a PS1 game. If you heard so the guy who say this is a liar. All maps are handmade isometric background, and they look awesome and very bright (you'll never get such graphics with polygons). Characters are really well made, too, and they can face up to 8 directions, and are brightly animated. They don't look pixelish nor does they look polygonish, so I guess that make them good no matter what anyone says. When they talk you have a big closeup of the characters, and they have different poses for different emotions. Those disliking manga/anime style graphics won't be right at home here, tough.
Finally, the last thing I haven't covered yet is the sound. Sound effects are more or less average, but they aren't too annoying and since this isn't very important I'll pass. Then comes the voice acting, that I've already mentioned, is very good (however a bit loud sometimes). But when it comes to the music, this game has an absolutely AWESOME soundtrack. It's absolutely unbelievable. The soundtrack of this game merges Celtic, traditional Japanese and modern rock/pop influences in its songs.
And the result is AMAZING my god nobody will ever think a game could have music that is THIS good. Where to begin ? There is two battle music, one for each half of the game (just like another RPG I've recently player, Breath of Fire), you'll hear both of them over and over, but both are FANTASTIC ! The music hear in towns are just as amazing, and each single town, and each single instance have it's own music theme, all of them being incredibly amazing. Not to mention there is various boss music which rocks. In fact this game has probably the second best soundtrack of ANY videogame in the world, the first still being Final Fantasy IX.
There isn't much wrong with the game. The bad point is that at first the gameplay seems overly complicated, with mana synthesis, item synthesis, shop synthesis, mana items, and all of this is at first very confusing because the game introduce all of this very badly (and the manual introduce this even more badly). However, most stuff finally got not as complicated as it sounds. The game features amazingly fun tutorials, however they make you laugh like crazy and don't learn you anything about the gameplay.
The biggest confusion is probably that there is manas (creatures that accompany Klein as an alchemist), mana items (items made by manas and that only an alchemist (Klein) can use), mana synthesis (the process of creating mana items), mana (magical energy of your characters, MP if you prefer but the game reference it as mana), mana attacks (attacks that can hits ghosts (or other creatures physically invincible) because they attack magically instead of physically), and finally "mana" (a form of magic present in the air or something). The fact that the single word "mana" can refer to at least 6 completely different things in the game (not including the title itself) is very confusing.
There is a system to customize your weapons, however I really understand nothing of it. I still managed to beat the game without using it, so I guess it's not really necessary. In fact you will most likely spend as much time collecting items and doing sidequests than to actually progress your quest. This isn't too bad, but I think the game should have been slightly harder, because while some bosses were a pain, the game is still overall pretty easy. The random encounters are extremely rare on the world map. Also I didn't mention that the world map looks horrible, and there is a lot of fog on it. But this isn't very important how the world map look, as the places themselves looks great.
Finally I find that the scenario of the game is lacking, your goal is just to defeat a typical villain from destroying the world for no other reason than to make a good game. However, this is easily forgiven by all the fun that the dialog provides, and by the fact that the game feels unlinear by requiring you to go to different instances many times (maybe you just have to go to the sewers TOO many times at the beginning of the game, I remembered being afraid after needed to go to the same sewers 4 consecutive times or so).
The Bottom Line
If you're looking for a great RPG but you want a change, and want a game less serious and more fun than most, and if you don't mind 2D manga graphics, look no further this is your game. An absolute hit in my opinion, because of the incredible imagination behind everything in this game, it's awesome graphics, and it features both one of the best soundtrack and the longest and funniest item inventory of any videogame period. By all means if you get the chance to buy this game do yourself a favor and do it, you have little chance of regretting it and great chances of having about 40 hours of great fun.
PlayStation 2 · by Bregalad (937) · 2010
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Game added by Unicorn Lynx.
Game added July 15th, 2005. Last modified March 26th, 2023.