Arc of Alchemist attempts to implement many new ideas into your typical Compile Heart / Idea Factory action RPG. It tries to simplify the combat, add base-building elements, gives you all the characters upfront, and remove overt fan service in the game. Since there were so many changes, it ended up muddying the waters rather than clearing them up.
The main character is Quinn Bravesford, leader of an investigation team sent by the king to hunt down and acquire the “Great Power” rumored to be lurking in the Genesis Desert. The waters of Earth have dried up and you’re a part of what’s left of society. You brought six people on your team: Axel, Micah, Sandra, Sharon, Rune, and Jester. Each of these characters fits some archetypes like Sandra is the youngest who doesn’t want to be treated like a kid and Jester is a tough guy with a heart of gold. You learn their stories through little vignettes every time you head back to base.
The base building aspect of the game is interesting but ultimately frustrating. There are various building types that have different effects on the game. Whether it is to add more weapons or armor to the shop, allow you to train to higher skill levels or trade for more resources, you need to build and place them with correct adjacent buildings to get more bonuses. This ends up being critical as you don’t find weapons or armor or money in the field – only components. You then sell some components like gold for money to then use to get more buildings to get new weapons to take into the field. The frustrating part is not the grind, but rather the fact that certain components are needed for certain building upgrades, but it never tells you the best places to find them so you just walk around the fields and hope to come across the correct component.
The fields themselves are large, open deserts devoid of almost anything except the occasional monster and the even less occasional material pickup or chest. I understand it’s a desert, but there’s almost no reason to explore the entirety of it. The monsters that inhabit the desert are extremely unvaried. There’s the lobster type, the toad type, the monkey type, the armadillo type, the dog type, and robots. And that’s it. Different colors, to be sure, to indicate the difficulty, but you see the same types over and over in battle.
The battle system is extremely simplistic. It might even be more simplistic than say Dynasty Warriors. If you’re using the sword, there’s the ranged attack on the square and the swing attack on the circle. And that’s it. Different weapons do different attacks, but it’s not so varied to make a difference. It’s still just seeing a monster, mash circle, walk to the next monster. Monsters do not truly increase in difficulty, they just have more attack and HP. The one nice thing is the damage number pop on the screen so you can see when you’re doing zero-damage and know the game is telling you to retreat and grind a few levels.
Arc of Alchemist Review Final Thoughts:
Overall, I’m a little torn on Arc of Alchemist. There are some interesting ideas wrapped into a game that spent more time on those new ideas instead of fleshing out the game. The characters are well-drawn in a cute anime style and their backstories are interesting. I wish I could recommend this to more than just someone who wants to try out a mid-range action RPG that doesn’t require too much thought or strategy. Unfortunately, I think this one is a pass.