I finished Atelier Rorona a few minutes ago and though I admit I liked the game, there are some heavy issues with it. I'll elaborate everything in a review eventually (possibly during the weekend) but in this short post I'll be stating some things.
As you can possibly and logically imagine, the game isn't very good graphically and musically. It has some pretty cel-shaded things and some songs are catchy but nothing near FF-level. The story is simple, you are Rorona, a girl owner of an alchemy shop the kingdom wants to close down and she has to finish 12 assignments in three years to avoid it. This is precisely the worst problem with the game. The time limits.
For example, if the assignment is to create a certain item with ingredients in a dungeon 9-days away and creating the item itself in the worshop spends 4 days, then you have a realistic chance to fuck things up if you save your game too late.
In my personal experience, I didn't have any problems with any assignments because I focused on completing them 100% but that didn't leave me enough "days" to go exploring and level grinding both the battle levels and the alchemy levels so I finished the game with an unexplored dungeons and many monsters way stronger than my party.
The battle system is very simple, all you do is attack with skills or the attack command. Items can only be used by Rorona and there's a useless elemental system that you'll probably never use. (I didn't). Also, many story elements are left unexplained or are simply never developed.
The game is actually good but I can't help but feel that it came out about 12 years too late. It just doesn't match the quality of FFXIII, XIII-2 and other games like Star Ocean 4, Eternal Sonata and Tales of Vesperia. It's simple in every way and the deadline system definitely hinders the experience. I'd only recommend the game to die-hard fans of the genre. If you're not one of those, don't buy the game. It's unnecessarily expensive and definitely not for everyone.