Recently we were given the opportunity to preview a duo of titles soon to be released by Koei Tecmo. The zip line swinging, gravity defying, gore-festive Attack on Titan 2 and the anime fantasy conglomerate: Atelier Lydie and Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings. At completely different ends of the spectrum, the duo of anime-styled titles arrive on both Switch and PS4 this month.

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For those unfamiliar with the Atelier series, it’s a world of lace, alchemy and chirruping anime girls. Oozing pure “kawaii desu ne” at almost saccharine levels, the light and breezy series usually oversees a young female protagonist as she works towards having the best atelier (alchemy workshop) on the block. This time however the protagonists come as a pair, twins Lydie and Suelle aim to turn their business into the most reputable in all the kingdom. By disobeying their suspiciously youthful father Roger, yes his name is Roger, the pair sneak into the basement and find a strange painting, that they enter to gather rare and wonderful ingredients, to then synthesise into new items to sell to the public.

It’s an interesting cycle of gather and create, battle and upgrade. Gathering plays an essential role as you explore a variety of areas mining, shaking trees and uprooting every plant you find, to then transmute into wafer biscuits for the nun down the street. There’s a steady and plentiful supply of requests to take on earning money and rewards, but the main goals are the Promotion Tests. To check that your atelier has the chops to run with the best of them, you’re tasked with an alchemy exam to prove your prowess and upon completion, promote your Atelier Rank. The Synthesis system is highly nuanced, requiring a lot of trial and error, turn based RPG battles adding an element of action amongst the fern foraging, enemies dropping essential gubbins too.

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Attack on Titan 2 couldn’t be further away from the fae frolicking of Atelier. Based on the events of the second season of the anime, AoT2 addresses many of the hiccups present in the original. Whilst the Omni-directional mobility gear is still as exhilarating, if initially tough to grasp, minor tweaks make an already brilliant experience that much better with the addition of precision targeting. It still feels amazing to dash and zip around, it’s still even rewarding to fumble and relearn the famously tricky machinery, gracefully dismembering the towering hordes. Combat is still about building momentum and timing a slice, anchoring and boosting your way to the fleshy nape of the neck, but titans this time will prove more of a challenge.

A new detection mechanic means that if you linger too long in the sights of a Titan, they’ll enter a violent rampage doggedly pursuing you, the world a sudden crimson. The Titans in general have been given something of an upgrade, with new behaviours and intelligence, making each battle less of a breeze and more of a very real tussle. There’s also the option to create your own character who lives through the first attack and joins the Scouts, the tutorial your opportunity to face boot camp with the main cast. It’s a great touch that allows fans to enter the turbulent world of Attack on Titan, customising their character right down to the accents of their clothes. Original stories supervised by series creator Hajime Isayama are also present alongside new playable characters, bulking up the previous roster. Additionally, relationships between characters are now key, affinity can be increased between yourself and others for extra help in battle as well as fleshing out these characters in new ways.

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Both titles have a lot to offer, faceted and as mechanically deep as they are visually stunning. Attack on Titan 2 is released March 20th and Atelier Lydie and Suelle: Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings drops March 30th.

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