Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny

The mythical, floating realm of Eden is breaking away and vanishing into nothingness. A deep-voiced sword-in-the-stone chooses an unlikely boy as the world's savior and whisks him to another dimension to search for answers. Can Felt and his kinda-sister Viese restore balance to this magical universe? Will there ever be a new idea in RPG storylines?

True, the plot of Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny isn't going to shred your scalp off, but its old-school, hand-drawn visuals and general light-hearted environment work wonders. Just like 2005's Eternal Mana. You’re gonna spend a lot of time battling monsters in random encounters and talking to appallingly unhelpful and one-lined villagers, but that's what you get with these traditional RPGs.

Iris 2 diverts from the role-playing norm, however, with its alchemy-based magic system. As you explore the beautifully drawn environments, you'll see rocks, plants and all kinds of goods you can break down into base parts. Now that you have a stock of ingredients, you can reassemble them into bombs, food and a bevy of new, more powerful items. But only Viese can do this, and she's stuck on the quickly departing land of Eden.

Through sheer clichéd circumstance, Viese and Felt have a Share Ring that lets them ... share items regardless of where they are. While Felt slashes up the bad guys in the other world (which, of course, is overrun by a greedy empire), he can send raw materials back to Viese for alchemic alterations. The character swap can be done at any time from any save point, but we had a lot more fun fighting knights than mixing potions.