Originally released in 2010 for PlayStation 3 in the US, Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland was met with mixed reviews stateside, unlike the mostly positive reviews found in the Eastern market. Now, we’re met with Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland, an upgrade from the original PS3 release for both PS3 and Playstation Vita. While some of the same problems from Atelier games of the past still linger, this remake addresses many of the issues and makes the experience much more enjoyable this time around.

You’ll step into the shoes of Rorona, the titular hero of the game. Rorona is tasked with completing tasks sent by the kingdom over a three year period, and if Rorona fails any of these tasks, her alchemy shop, or “Atelier,” will be closed down. All of these tasks deal with somehow helping the kingdom, like exterminating vultures or creating seed to help restore a farm.

One of the most unique aspects about Atelier Rorona’s story is that it doesn’t follow the classic JRPG storyline of a doomed planet and you’re the only hero who can save it; instead, it relies solely on the conflict of keeping the shop open and dealing with those who would love to see it closed. This may not be as compelling for some, but for myself, I completely enjoyed a story this story, because it never let itself delve too dark, and it’s one of the more lighthearted JRPG’s I’ve played.


Atelier Rorona Plus is divided into two sections: Gathering items and fighting monsters, and socializing and creating items. Once you receive your assignment, you’ll be given a set amount of days to either travel outside of town to explore areas, defeat monsters, and harvest materials; or you can synthesize items in your workshop and peruse around town to speak with the locals. At the beginning of the game, the flow of information can seem somewhat overwhelming, and the tutorials  can be painfully slow. The pacing overall in the beginning just seems too filled with information, but if you stick around long enough and really pay attention to the tutorials, it will definitely pay off, since the game isn’t too hard to grasp once you’ve gotten the hang of everything.

Much like the other titles in the Atelier series, Ateleir Rorona Plus has a fairly standard JRPG turn-based combat system. Each unit will take a turn where they can either attack, defend, use a skill, or run. Rorona is the only party member who can use items, like bombs or healing salves, in battle to help turn the tide or aid an ally. You’ll only be able to have three people, including Rorona, in your party at one time, so choosing a right composition is key. You won’t simply be allowed to have anyone in your party for free, however, because each party member must be hired in order to be used. Each time you leave the main city, you’ll have to pay a fee in order to use your current party composition, so it’s smart to take long trips outside of the city to maximize the unavoidable fee.

Combat is simple and easy to understand, and it’s a nice contrast to the more complex nature of item synthesizing you’ll find back at your workshop. Battles go by fairly quick, and after you get a good party composition together, almost every battle is a breeze. Most of the time, I rarely had to think before I attacked an enemy, and in most battles, I usually beat all the enemies with little more than a few less health points to all my party members. Sure, feeling powerful is a good feeling, but without challenge, the game loses a bit of the drive that makes it a more compelling experience.


The other half of the game is spent encountering other characters and synthesizing items for your assignments or side jobs. From the materials you collect out in the wild, you’ll use those to make items in your workshop. The better items you find or buy, the better your creation is. You’ll be graded at the end of the time allotted, and this depends, generally, on quality, amount, and variation of items. You can settle with doing the bare minimum, but your report sheet will suffer for it. Side jobs are available for those looking to get a little extra money for their efforts. These tasks are fairly simple to complete, and they can also boost your friendship with the other characters, depending on who requested the job.

The original Atelier Rorona release – even back in 2010 – wasn’t too impressive visually, but the new polish added looks fantastic. Character models are highly detailed, and their animations help capture the characters personalities exceptionally. Voice acting is great as well, and the chemistry between the characters is felt right off the bat. This game features a decent amount of awkward scenarios, but the acting helps sell each moment, and they become more and more entertaining as you start to become familiar with each character.

Atelier Rorona Plus is a welcome upgrade to the original PS3 game. Though it has many improvements from its original release, Rorona Plus still suffers from several problems that have plagued almost every release from the Atelier series, like being a little too formulaic. Regardless, Atelier Rorona Plus is a solid RPG, and it’s a great starting off point for those looking to get into the now massive Atelier series.


This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation Vita version of the game Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland, developed by Gust and published by NIS America.

Did you like this? Share it:
Adding Some Polish | Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland Review
  • Quirky and light hearted
  • Simple combat to contrast crafting
  • Updated visuals and voice acting
  • Somewhat repetitive in nature
  • Some instructions can be overwhelming to new players
7.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Josh is a Senior Editor for New Gamer Nation. He'd love to chat with you about games on Twitter.