The Atelier series is a lovely little JRPG series that is a unique combination of RPG, crafting, and stat min-maxing. It has unique pacing and a very open-world feel that can be both exhilirating and daunting at times. Unlike most RPG’s, fighting monsters for XP is a minor portion of the game. Most of your time is spent collecting materials to craft something using alchemy, either to solve some plot-related problem or to make better items, weapons, and armor.
Atelier Sophie is the first in the “Mysterious” cycle of the series, currently followed by Atelier Firis and Atelier Lydie and Suelle. It follows the adventures of Sophie Neuenmuller as she takes over the Alchemy business left to her by her recently late grandmother. Along the way, she befriends a mysterious talking book, traveling adventurers, fellow alchemists, locals from her home town, and more.
In this particular game, you have a home base in the town of Kirchen Bell that you always return to, in which Sophie’s Atelier (an alchemy studio) resides. You take sojourns out to far places, but always return in order to craft materials and advance the plot.
If you’re new to the series or the game, check out the User Manual section. If you have a good grasp of the game and just want to look up things, like what craft materials are needed for what, where to find things, then check out the Charts and Maps.
Unlike the other Atelier games, almost nothing in Sophie is timed, with an extreme few minor side quest arcs where you can miss out on something, but very late in the game. So honestly, you can just waste time, talk to everyone in town constantly, wander the countryside to your heart’s content, beat up monsters or run like hell, or just craft and craft and craft. The plot of the game mostly follows your crafting, so if you’re always trying to make something new, whether that means running off to a particular place or person for “inspiration”, then you’re advancing the plot.
If you’re deciding whether to buy the DLC, here’s the deal. None of the outfits do anything in Sophie (they do in Firis), so it’s completely up to you. As to the extra subquest one, it’s very post-game. There’s no way to make use of it until late in the game, so decide later whether you plan on spending another few dozen hours on things, including harvesting rare traits and redoing all your weapons and armor with them, just so you can kill some super-bosses on despair difficulty.
As far as the missable stuff, minor spoilers here, but… at the very end of the Monica plot arc, when you are supposed to show up and attend something, do so on time or you can actually miss out on a trophy. Also, when Plachta challenges you to do something, to make the first recipe in the last recipe sheet, do so before fighting the final boss, or you miss a trophy. That’s it. Everything else you can go back for at any time.
I’ll eventually put together a full Walkthrough and Post-Game/DLC Guide, but this is it for now.