From the official press release:
Atelier Iris 3 centres around two adventurers called Edge and Iris. Upon finding a magical book which will grant any wish once all eight pieces have been brought back together they set out on a quest to locate all of the missing pieces.
For the first time in the Atelier series players can freely accept or reject quests. The brand new Guild Quest system enables intrepid adventurers to browse the job list at the Guild and simply select the ones which are most appealing. It’s a much greater level of freedom that should make each player’s experience far more enjoyable and a great deal more individual.
Grand Phantasm maintains one of the Atelier series most popular features which is that of the item and weapon synthesis. By combining items, entirely new and incredibly useful potions, weapons and items can be created, but only when the right combinations are discovered. It is an area that inspires as much devotion as the actual quests and battles and has now been made even more interesting, creative and challenging than in previous Atelier Iris titles.
Battles have also been lavished with some major advancements including an Active Cost Card Battle system, where the quicker you are to move the sooner your next strike comes around. Grand Phantasm also features a skill gauge that replaces the traditional magic point gauge found in many RPGs for one more akin to a special skill gauge found in fighting games, which fills as you attack.
Burst mode enables players to unleash a flurry of undefended attacks. The more combos you string together the more damage you inflict. But burst mode can only be triggered when you’ve filled the burst meter in normal battle. Mana spirits can be summoned into your team to unleash incredibly powerful magic attacks but only once you have built up a team capable of acquiring mana spirits.
And for the first time in an Atelier Iris game players are no longer at risk from random battles. Symbols on the map now confirm where enemies reside and players get to choose whether to engage the enemy, run away or simply attack them on the map whereby victory will clear your path, give you a chance of picking up any dropped times but won’t improve your experience points. Only proper in-depth battles will improve your stats. But depending upon the situation a variety of choices are now at the player’s disposal.