Bram seems to enjoy giving me sequels of games for reviews of which I have never played the first part. This created the challenge of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 last year and now he has given me Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy. This is the sequel to 2019’s Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout and the latest installment of the Atelier franchise. With a lot of curiosity and a little fear, I started this JRPG and delved into the world of Atelier Ryza.
THREE YEARS ON
The game will launch three years after the end of Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout. Alchemist Ryza had defeated a dragon with her friends in that game and after the victory, her friends returned to the mainland and she was left behind on Cork Island. Three years on and Ryza is bogged down in strengthening her alchemy and the moment she hits a wall, she gets a Mr. Moritz holds a glowing stone whose origin she must investigate.
Ryza doesn’t know where to start her investigation when she also happens to receive a letter from one of her old friends, Tao, inviting her to help him on the mainland with a search for ruins. Seizing her opportunity to embark on a new adventure, Ryza heads to the capital, Ashra-am Baird, to help her friend find the background of this mysterious stone. In this new adventure, she meets a number of new and old faces.
SLIGHTLY TOO LONG INTRO
The plot seems interesting and I was curious how Atelier Ryza 2 was going to be. Only the biggest problem I have with JRPGs is that the intros to the games are too long in my opinion. I also experienced that in this game. The first two hours of gameplay were actually glorified cutscenes and then you really start with the game. In my opinion, this could have been a bit shorter and more concise, because I like to get started with the game as quickly as possible and to dive into the story and the world.
Now this long intro doesn’t just have bad sides, because where I had no idea how the controls worked in Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, because no tutorial or quick refresher course was given, that was the case in Atelier Ryza 2. The game gave a short and quick explanation of how it works with existing and new mechanics. This was very much appreciated by a noob in the Atelier franchise like me because I felt I wasn’t being thrown in the deep end like in Puyo Puyo Tetris 2.
MINOR GLITCHES ON THE NINTENDO SWITCH
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is out on Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4/5. I have been able to review the Nintendo Switch version of the game and from that list, the Switch is not the strongest platform. Despite the lack of power, the game looks fine for the most part. The world of Atelier Ryza seems to be a beautiful world with cute characters and monsters, which I felt slightly guilty beating them at first.
Still, while playing, I also encountered a lot of minor glitches in the game, especially in the buildings and hair of the characters. They weren’t major glitches, but they were visible enough that even I noticed. Hopefully, these minor issues will be resolved with the Day One patch which will most likely be released on release day.
NICE COMBAT SYSTEM
Thanks to the tutorials, I was able to get used to the combat and alchemist system in the game. Atelier Ryza 2 has a nice combat system. You control one character in your party and can influence the rest of your party by letting them perform only normal attacks with Support mode or their special attacks with Aggressive mode. With normal attacks, you earn AC that you can use to perform special attacks. Your party members also sometimes ask you to perform a special attack so that they can do a chain attack. This all goes quite smoothly and made sure that I enjoyed myself quite a bit in combat.
Also, the alchemist system, or Synthesis as it is called in the game, is clearly explained by the developer. With the different materials you collect, you can create different types of items that can help you during battle. During the game, you unlock more recipes to get more items. Due to the fine explanation, it is also possible with the game to step into it as a newcomer like me and I felt like a fish in the water.
ENTERTAINING CHARACTERS AND STORY
The true power of Atelier Ryza 2 is in the characters and story. Ryza is an interesting character to play with and her party members all have unique personalities. Ryza is cheerful and a little naive at times and Tao is intelligent and a little blind to someone who has a crush on him. My favorite so far is Patricia, a quiet and shy girl who is eager to impress Tao and show him that she can help with his and Ryza’s research. With these three characters, I am curious who else will greet Ryza in her adventure.
In pure JRPG style, the two quests that take Ryza to the mainland turn out to be linked. In the first ruin she and Tao visit, they find an ancient artifact and come across a mural depicting something. At that point, the stone begins to glow and the artifact to rotate. Ryza and Tao decide to investigate the ruins and stone in order to uncover the mystery of the unknown legends of the lost cities. From that moment on my curiosity was really aroused and I dove into the game to progress.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is a fun game hidden behind a slightly too long intro. The game looks fine on the Nintendo Switch except for a few minor graphic glitches that occasionally pop up. Atelier Ryza 2 has a nice combat system that is quietly explained to newcomers and returning players, as it happens with Synthesis. I think fans will enjoy themselves again with this game and newcomers can also plunge into this new part, if they don’t feel like / have time to play the first part. I will definitely continue with this game in the near future to find out the origin of the stone and the ruins!