Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm, released in Japan as Atelier Iris: Grand Fantasm (イリスのアトリエ グランファンタズム, Irisu no Atorie Guran Fantazumu) is a console role-playing game developed by Japanese developer Gust for the PlayStation 2.
It is the eighth game in the official Atelier series, and the last in the Iris trilogy.
The story takes place around a city called Zey Meruze, that resembles Venice in that it is crisscrossed by water channels (with Fairies offering a gondolier service.) However, Meruze also has portals to other dimensions, called "Alterworlds" where, for some reason, humans can't stay for more than a short time (they eventually are magically transported out.) Iris (who in this game is still an amateur alchemist) and her friends Edge and Nell work as "raiders" for the Raiders Guild, an organization that performs tasks for people for a price. Usually these involve missions into the Alterworlds, but can also be as mundane as finding missing pets.
The game follows Iris's team as they rise through the Guild's ranks. The real story, however, involves a sealed book that Iris owns-- and which contains an enormous power that can only be released by finding eight "gem-like fragments," so she endeavors to find all eight of them.
Players guide their party of adventurers through the town of Zey Meruze which acts as a central hub and five different areas called Alterworlds, acting as the dungeons. In order to progress through the game, players must undertake quests which are obtained from the Raiders Guild in town. This system is a departure from previous games in the series, and allows players to undertake multiple tasks at once and to choose their own way through the game to an extent. As tasks are completed, the party gains guild points. Once enough guild points are gained for the next rank, the next part of the main plotline follows, before more side-quests in the form of tasks are made available.
When the party moves from the town to an alterworld to complete a task, a timer starts counting down. If the task is not completed before the timer runs out, the party is safely removed from the alterworld and must attempt the quest again.
Alchemy forms an important aspect of the story and gameplay, as with the other Atelier Iris games. Items are combined in the party's workshop by the character Iris, forming new items and equipment. This system is used to create attack items for combat, healing items, status attack or restoration items, weapons and armor for characters to equip and various other items.
The game also features some side story characteristics, that allow Edge to engage in conversations with some of the townspeople upon the completion of certain quests. These conversations provide additional details about the townspeople.
Unlike previous games in the series, the maximum number of playable characters is 3. However to compensate for the fewer number of characters, once a certain point is reached in the game, Edge and Nell can equip various 'Blades' which can change their appearance, stats and skills, making them entirely different characters.