Atelier Ayesha is the first entry in the Dusk Trilogy of Atelier games on the PS3, released in June 2012 in Japan and American/European territories in March 2013. Though it shares many similarities with the Arland Trilogy, Atelier Ayesha starts a brand new storyline with a new set of characters. Like most Atelier games, it can be described as one-part JRPG, one-part Time Management Game and three-parts Item Crafting with a dollop of Moe for flavour.The world has entered a period known as the Age of Dusk, named for the slow decline of the earth's vitality. On the edge of this world lives a young apothecary called Ayesha Altugle, who lives a lonely life selling herbal medicine with only her pet cow for company.One day, when Ayesha goes to visit the grave of her missing sister Nio, she suddenly encounters a ghostly vision of her departed sibling. A passing alchemist seems to hold the answers to the phenomenon, but tells Ayesha to Figure It Out Herself. With only a single clue (a mysterious glowing flower) and an ominous time limit of three years, Ayesha must learn all there is to know about alchemy to figure out the secret behind her sister's vanishing, and possibly a way to save her too.A direct sequel taking place four years after Atelier Ayesha, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky was released in Japan on June 2013, and in the North America and Europe on March 2014. And another sequel, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea was recently announced to be released this June in Japan.
Tropes that appear in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk:
Absurdly Low Level Cap: It's not that hard to hit the game's caps, which is 50 for normal levels (about 20K EXP), 100 for friendship, and 50 for alchemy.
Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The world is filled with ruins from a highly-advanced past. The world of Ayesha is actually set centuries After the End, and the ruins are from a time when alchemy was at its height. Both Yggdrasil and the Zweiteturm were created as "arks" to preserve the old world in the face of whatever disaster destroyed it.
Anti-Frustration Feature: The game retains the anti-frustration features of Meruru and also greatly simplifies the Multiple Endings process by allowing you to choose your ending by answering a question or questions, rather than having to make a whole of savefiles. Additionally, getting broken items in synthesis is a thing of the past. If you know the recipe, meet the alchemy level requirement and have the needed ingredients then you can synthesize the item, otherwise you can't. (No more percentage chance to successfully synthesize the item.)
Ash Face: Non-explosive example. Ayesha apparently gets her face covered in soot in an early scene, but it was just from the smoke pouring off her cauldron, not an actual blast.
Baleful Polymorph: Wilbell says she would do this to Ayesha if she told anyone that Wilbell was a "real witch".
Bonus Boss: Several "Alt." monsters appear in the final year of the game, which count as the hardest fights available to you. Special mention is given to the Grand Dragon, a "secret" boss which is by far the greatest challenge in the game. It can be found by going to fight the Compact Dragon, weakening it and then waiting a few turns. It will use Time Travel to age itself to its elder form.
Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": The Cows. They're all over the place - starting with your faithful Pana, who'll be carrying your alchemical gear all over the gameworld without complaining - and they're SORTA like the cattle we know. Only crossed with a pig, a bison, and possibly a mouse. But they're still just called cows. Oh, and they say "oink moo."
Chirping Crickets: A bouncy, goofy theme with the sound of a kitten mewing and a "cuckoo, cuckoo" plays in situations that call for this.
Cute Bruiser: Regina, oh yes... she's a cute, short redhead Ladette, working in the extremely male-centric business of Prospecting (basically mining crossed with a dash of Adventurer Archaeologist, due to all the ancient ruins they're digging into) - and apparently beating every last of her hulking, muscular colleagues at it. She'll happily take on any man in a drinking contest or a contest of strength, despite looking like a svelte teenage girl. (She's apparently in her mid-twenties, commenting once that she's practically 30 already 'if you round up', but she sure doesn't look it...) Either way, when she swings her trusty pickaxe, you'd best get out of the way.
Darker and Edgier: Well, bleaker and more melancholy anyway, compared to its Arland series predecessor. While Arland is a colourful, vibrant world during its boom time, the Land of Dusk (which seems to lack even a proper name) is a washed out, tired world on its last legs, with most areas starved of resources, plant life and water. Unlike Arland, where Alchemists were life-bringing forces of good, the alchemists in this world were at least instrumental in bringing about the Dusk, by consuming much more than they put back. That said, this is still an Atelier game, so it's not a post-apocalyptic nightmare: The people are mostly nice and content and rarely act like they're in a dying world.
Disappointed In You: If you fail to complete the game's main goal by the end of the third year, then Keith arrives with Nio in tow and tells Ayesha to consider what it is that she lacks that she wasn't able to save Nio on her own.
Easter Egg: The famous Atelier series "barrel" gag is present... however, in order to obtain it you must first have rescued Nio and then you can examine the barrels surrounding Ayesha's workshop to get the gag.
Evil Twin: Linca has one... and it's implied she has seven in total.
Fetch Quest: Many of sidequests involve giving doing these NPCs in exchange for money and/or goods.
I Want Grandkids: One of the reasons why Regina's parents pressure her to give up her job as a prospector and settle down.
Jerkass: Keithgriff. Good luck trying to find any dialogue of his that isn't belittling Ayesha, or otherwise dangling his knowledge of how to save her sister above her head to test her alchemist abilities instead of, you know, helping.
Literal-Minded: Linca, when she's told to "make 100 friends" tries to do just that.
Lost Forever: Several time-specific events, though the game is usually pretty upfront about exactly when they will happen. This includes the Treasure Trove Contests: fail to win all six and you lock out the Golden Ending. You can also miss out on Keithgriff's ending if you do not complete the "History of Alchemy" sidequests before you rescue Nio.
Marilyn Maneuver: Happens to Ayesha offscreen in an optional cutscene with Tanya, who comments afterwards how cute her clothing underneath is.
New Game+: Which allows the player the keep equipped items, money, and Ayesha's synthesis skills.
Powerful Pick: Regina's weapon of choice - she's a prospector by profession, and apparently easily made the leap to using her main tool in a fight, too.
Playable Epilogue: You have three in-game years to complete the game. Beat the Final Boss before then, and you can continue to play right up until your original deadline. You can use this time to complete any sidequests, work on the pre-requisites for the various endings, battle Bonus Bosses and trigger Nio's character events.
Right Behind Me: At one point, Nanaca mimics her brother Juris's harsh tone, only for him to approach right behind her.
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Marion and Linca are under specific orders to try to arrest Keithgriff, but when it comes time for Ayesha to go rescue Nio, they decide to ignore those orders to help Ayesha.
Secret Test of Character: Keithgriff presents one to Ayesha when he visits her workshop and asks her to craft a Magic Tool for his inspection. The tool itself was irrelevant; instead, Keithgriff's probing questions into Ayesha's methodology and inspection of her workspace prove to him that she has natural alchemical talent, which is what he was testing in the first place.
Sequel Hook: Frankly, they're all over the place, never even minding the fact that we know Escha & Logy exists. Let's review:
Wait, Yggdrasil might not be the only guardian left behind?
SEVEN LINCAS?! And we don't even deal with them all!
Marion and Linca's home, which is extraordinarily far away from the Vierzeberg area. Just getting there sounds like an adventure.
Wilbell's quest to become a witch. This one will be followed up in Escha & Logy.
Talking Is a Free Action: If you start gathering materials, enemies will stop what they're doing, even if they were pursuing you. They might even not see you for a second after gathering.
Unflinching Walk: Performed by Keithgriff during his ultimate Special Skill (if it kills the target) - possibly THE single-most Bad Ass super-move seen this side of a Super Robot Wars game. It's worth burning a few healing-items during the Hopeless Boss Fight against him just to force him to use this...