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And now, the story continues with a princess from a frontier kingdom, Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland—Prologue
Atelier Meruru is the third and last of the Arland Trilogy of Atelier games on the PlayStation 3. Like the two before it, and much of the rest of the Atelier Series, Meruru is focused on alchemy while planning ahead of time to get things done.
Released in 2011 in Japan and hitting American shorelines on May 29th, 2012 with the localization help of NIS America, Atelier Meruru is the direct sequel to Totori before it. The game possesses mechanics that are widely regarded as 'Rorona and Totori polished together', earning many an approving word from the fanbase (not to mention some of the best review scores an Atelier game has ever seen, on both sides of the Pacific). Unlike the previous game, where Totori has to go out for an adventure of her own, the titular protagonist Merurulince Rede Arls (commonly known as Meruru) is a princess on a mission to improve the state of her land in as many ways as she can.
The game provides examples of:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: A gameplay example, regardless of equipped weapon. Sterk's Gaia Break skill copies a slew of action only found in Super Robot Wars games, and the camera shows him having cut the enemy sky high, before the moon behind him is slashed in half, exploding in Hot-Blooded glory
- Affectionate Parody: To begin, Gust, for some reason, decided that this game should be a series of shout outs to other media while not being satisfied in being the most polished game in the franchise. To name a few, Meruru's boss battle theme song sounds like a theme dedicated to a Super Robot Wars character; Totori's ensemble with Chims can rack up as a parody of Sentai genre; Rorona herself is now a battle example of Magical Girl.
- Anti Frustration Feature: The menus have more navigations that enable players to check for ongoing requests and where to find certain kinds of materials and enemies, making schedule-balancing much more convenient
- Badass Cape: Initial players never fail to notice or mention Meruru's rainbow linen side cape. And it shows, because she is possibly the most combat oriented alchemist in the trilogy (by having decent attack power after levelling up a few times)
- Bishie Sparkle: Some characters will sport this after a fight, but the most notable mention goes to Mimi, for hers is accompanied by offscreen breeze of rose petals
- Combination Attack: One of this game's ferocious selling points involving combat. After Meruru uses an attack item, her companions can follow-up with attacks, followed by her unleashing the thrown item's hidden power, THEN followed by one played straight combination attack, before channeling the thrown item's REAL hidden power, maxing such items' use up to three
- Death Is Cheap: Instead of a straight out game over, this game repeats the previous' defeat penalty by whisking the player back to starting point with a lot of days passed by. The further away the party is away from home, the more the penalty. Should that be the case, players often would just do one thing: load the game
- Downloadable Content: Rufus, Fwana/Hanna and Pamela are downloadable as party members for a price each. A post-game Bonus Dungeon can be downloaded for free, while a set of remixed BGM (from nearly every previous game in the franchise) can be downloaded and set to play during certain events in place of the standard OST, for a price.
- Every Thing Is Better With Princesses: Oh, everything will certainly get better with Meruru's newfound life goal of alchemy. Should everything get to the point of 'Best', the people will erect a statue of HER in honor
- Improbable Weapon User: Lias Falken fits this trope for the main reason of shouting out Super Robot Wars Kyosuke Nanbu, as his weapon of choice is a gauntlet-equipped revolver stake. Keina Swaya uses a basket carrying sleeping drugs and healing potions, though that fits into Improvised Weapon
- Item Caddy: And now, you can have Totori as your partner, along with Rorona who also fills this role, making this game the first to have three consecutive protagonist alchemists in a single adventuring party, all of which can use brought items
- Genki Girl: Meruru, pretty much.
- Merlin Sickness: The fate that befell Rorona, causing her to be cast in this game as a child. Some fans don't take this well, mainly because of the development team partly responsible for having decided that this is the way to go for her. In game, Astrid is responsible for having messed up the plan to make a regression potion that can reverse her age back to the ideal age of 14, but instead she got about 8. Not only that, Rorona's memories got messed up. Fortunately her alchemic skills (which remained) are still a help for Meruru
- Multiple Endings: Like the two games before this, what you achieve in game can determine the ending which you'll get, based on a number of factors. A bit of guide reading is in order
- New Game+: Items, money and development don't get carried over, but equipped items do.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: You can count the amount of characters who have shortened forms of their real names, with the latest addition of Meruru
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Meruru's charm and main point of being. Instead of going by her father's aim of letting the nation get peacefully absorbed into Arland's border, Meruru later wants to use alchemy to bolster Arls condition. Throughout the game, her efforts will be rewarded by the sight of the map becoming crowded with representation of Arls' growth
- Shout-Out Sterk's Gaia Break cut-in to Super Robot Wars Thrudgelmir cut-in
- Spell My Name with an "S": Due to the large carry-over of cast, a number of examples from previous games apply here as well. Two new examples for Meruru, however, are Meruru's father and "the young shop owner" - the former was "Dessie Horstna Arls" (デジエ ホルストナ アールス). As this was a bit feminine for a man, a bit of kana-interpretation alchemy transformed it into Dessier Hahlsner Arls. More problematic was the latter, though, as "Fwana/Juana Olsys" (フアナ オルシズ). There've been several ways given of spelling her name and neither really matches the given katakana. NISA ended up saying "pike it" and called her Hanna Olses.
- An interesting quasi-example is Mimi; in the promotional material for Meruru, she was called "Mimi Houlier von Schwarzlank". This wasn't even consistent with the spelling Gust gave in Japan's version of Atelier Totori. NISA, naturally, opted to keep the spelling consistent between English versions as "Mimi Houllier von Schwarzlang".
- ↑ A trailing "e" or "a" sound can be interpreted as a light "er" or "ar" in romanization of Japanese.