Barren, Dry, Lifeless
Arc of Alchemist is Compile Hearts latest offering which tells the tale of Quinn Bravesford who is after a Great Power which will save all of humankind. Compile Heart is widely known for the Neptunia series which has seen many games released over the years and arguably some have been better than others but generally favoured by most of the fans. Arc of Alchemist is a new game and has new characters, unfortunately, the lack of English voice acting makes Arc of Alchemist even duller than it already is. Starting off seemed quite promising as the opening was well done and graphically looks very nice but the problems with Arc of Alchemist soon became apparent. First off this game has nothing to do with Alchemy or an Alchemist for that matter as there is none of that but more on that soon. The game itself looks ok but even for PS4, it could do a lot better. The characters are of a Chibi Style, and they are well designed and there is quite the cast here and with characters to choose from the start, you can’t go wrong right? Wrong! All seven characters play differently but some are just worse than others. Sharon being a spellcaster can fire long-range attacks but both of these take incredibly long to cast and you cannot move meaning your other members have already dealt with the situation. You are better off playing as Quinn as she is the quickest and most fun to play.
The gameplay is Hack and Slash much like Cyberdimension Neptunia: Four Goddesses Online but just not on the same terms of quality. You get two attacks one which is quick and the second is a slower but more powerful move, these change depending on your weapon but there really isn’t much variety. They don’t look and feel powerful or even fun to use.
Exploration is here but I found it very uninteresting for the most part. There is a lot happening early on in the game, Cog Towers will emerge from the ground where you are running which you can just run around but it is annoying and still I do not know why they exist. There are turrets which fire at you and do a lot of damage but most of these can be taken out and scrapped for parts. Early on you are also greeted by a small but very strong creature which had destroyed two of my party members before I ran away with my only surviving character, the second time I beat it with no damage to any of my party at all and carried on as normal. I assumed I had got lucky but as with everything I have came across so far nothing makes much sense. The game is by no means hard, I played for around 3 and a half hours and was level 35 and destroying anything with ease, except for 3 giant cat type enemies which I had accidentally spawned using my fire Lunargear, these were obviously too strong for me as Danger flashed up and my attacks did zero damage, they were reskins of the cat enemies except black with red eyes. I don’t mind when a game throws a challenge at me but there is no challenge with Arc of Alchemist, there are instances which can lead to a quick cheap death but to me that doesn’t make a hard game. Arc of Alchemist is incredibly easy with some cheap one-shot mechanics thrown in to try to trick you into thinking it’s hard.
The Lunargear is of limited use until you can replenish it at camps and can do several things. It can open treasure boxes of the same colour, for example, the Red one can be opened by casting Fire and Earth Orange, the Fire can melt giant Ice Blocks which I find hard to accept they exist in such a world or light up dark places, the earth Lunargear can be used to create blocks to reach higher ground or can be dropped onto other rocks smashing them and revealing the prize which is usually a treasure chest.
The base of operations is where you rest and can restore your limited use of Items and Lunargear out on the field. By upgrading your base you can achieve several things such as allow better restoration for your party or increase the array of items you can buy. You can upgrade individual shops such as The Refinery, Weapons Facility and Alchemy Atelier. Yes, the Alchemy Atelier but this has nothing to do with Alchemy, it is basically the Armour Shop. If you grind a little bit you can upgrade your first base to max no problem, you gain so many items and selling them at a high price will mean you won’t run out of money very fast. The Progression is also very dull, you can increase your characters HP and Attack by buying it out using Cash which again isn’t hard to come by. The story of Arc of Alchemist is understandable but very boring, every time you go back to your base you witness another cutscene which is usually about one of the characters but it is usually just generic character building such as Rune being a mother character to Sandra or Jester who befriends a cat.
In the end, I think I can forgive there is no English dub as you have to wonder why they even took the time to translate this game into another language. I can appreciate being set in a desert that the overall setting can seem dull but it definitely didn’t give me that get up and go feeling, I can appreciate what they tried to do by adding a Barren land full of Machines but along with everything else wrong with Arc of Alchemist, in the end, it just didn’t work.
A PlayStation 4 Review Code was provided by Idea Factory International