With more than 20 games since 1997
the Atelier series is one of the
longest running franchises in the video
game world. Atelier Ryza took the world
by storm and quickly became the best-selling
Atelier game ever. Was this because
of the simplified alchemy system?
The dynamic combat? Or those
red booty shorts? I don’t think
we’ll ever know, but the important
thing is that Ryza and the gang
are back to take us on another
beautiful adventure. Is Atelier Ryza
a worthy sequel though?
Stick around and let’s find out.
A little disclaimer before we start –
despite having put 42 hours into
the game so far, it still feels like
I’m at least two big chapters away
from the conclusion of the story.
This game has A LOT of content, both main story
content and a lot of side stuff
and I’ve been enjoying both equally to get
a good feel for a game. As for the review,
I’ve avoided spoilers for this other than
what’s been made public in the trailer
so far, such as the playable characters.
And seeing as game is a direct
sequel to Atelier Ryza 1, I will
be making some comparisons
way, but I do it in a way so that if you
haven’t played the first game yet,
you can still understand what I mean.
everything in this review is connected
so I advise to fully watch it.
But if you’re in a rush, and need
very specific information, I’ve also
added timestamps in the description.
Now without further
ado – let’s jump into it!
The story takes place three years after
the events of Atelier Ryza 1 and
this time around Ryza a heads out to
the big city to meet up with a friend.
Tao, who is studying in a city has
found a set of ruins that maybe relates to
alchemy and who better to investigate
this than a favorite Country Bumpkin?
Both familiar and new faces
join her on this adventure,
each for their own reasons.
Before we move on though –
can we just take a moment to
appreciate how our boys Tao and
Lent have grown? Especially Lent…
this guy felt like a seasoned warrior
at the end of the first game, yet
he didn’t really look the part.
But look at him now with his
anime hair and his cool guy cape!
Speaking of cool guys, this mysterious man
joins you as a playable character, along
with his little lady and a beautiful woman
that reminds us of some of very special someone.
The big city is named …
Let’s just call it big city
Even over here, Ryza has her own little
place that she can call home where she
can goof off, sleep and practice alchemy.
Once you step outside to immediately
notice how lively the city feels.
There are a ton of NPCS
standing around and walking by.
You can also enter quite a few buildings
and the city overall just looks great.
Aside from the familiar day-and-night
cycle, it can also rain this time around.
It doesn’t seem to do anything
special, but it makes the city
and the other areas even more
cool to explore. The town in Ryza 1
felt a bit stale and lifeless,
so I really appreciate how much effort
they have put into the city this time.
As for things to do in the city –
this is where most of the side quests and
all the character interactions take place.
You could pick up these side quests in
the cafe and by completing them, you
gain reputation with different factions.
The higher your reputation,
The harder the quests
and better the rewards will be.
The marketplace contains a few vendors,
but these mainly sell materials, which you
will most likely collect yourself anyway.
But while they don’t seem
useful on the surface,
they do occasionally have unique
decoration items that you can buy for
Ryza’s home. And speaking of Ryza’s
home – she has been blessed with a
cute little place that she has turned
it to her own personal Atelier.
And this time around the
Atelier really feels personal
as you have a lot of options to
decorate it yourself. You can get
these decorations from the vendors
I mentioned earlier by completing
side quests and sending your
slime pet out on missions.
As you can see I’ve made it my personal
mission to place as many barrels in the
place as possible. Ryza’s home is where
you spend most of the time in the city
and there are often friends dropping
by for some personal character stories
or cute little skits. But you also
spend a lot of time here for a very
important other reason: Alchemy!
As with the other Atelier games, alchemy
is a core feature of this game and you
will find it back in every aspect of it.
For the story and side-quests Ryza will create
items to help people out. For combat
she will create weapons, armor
and combat items. And finally,
for exploration and gathering
she will create specialized tools.
The alchemy level is gone and
replaced with an Alchemy Skill Tree.
While at first sight
it can be pretty daunting,
It’s actually very
logical and well-made. At the start
Alchemy is pretty basic –
you need to have recipes unlocked,
then combine the materials,
add some more materials for some
extra effects and you’re done now.
The alchemy system goes way deeper than
just this, but the game doesn’t allow
you to use all features from the start.
And to be clear, this is a really
good thing because not only would
it be very overwhelming, you would
also simply miss the required items
to make good use of these systems.
Wwithout going into too much detail
let me go over the alchemy systems.
Recipe morph is a way to unlock New
and often better items by following a
specific path in the alchemy process.
This is the way to unlock the recipes
for the best items in the game.
Gem reduction is a way to get
rid of unwanted materials and
items and turn them into the most
valuable currency in the game –
Money is good and all, but these gems
are what you need to make the most
of your alchemy, because most of the
other alchemy systems use these items.
Rebuilding is a way to make an item
that you’ve crafted even stronger.
You see, when you create an item
through alchemy, you can only invest
a certain number of materials into it.
With item rebuilding, you can
add more materials afterwards
at the cost of some extra gems.
Duplication is back and simply by selecting
an item and spending the required gems,
you can make multiple copies of it.
Evolution link allows you to transfer
a unique effect from one item onto the
other item at the cost of a few gems.
And finally, you’ve got essence
purification and light mist
which you can use to completely
change the way the alchemy process
would normally go for an item.
take the simple idea of mixing ingredients
together to make something, then add all
these systems onto it simultaneously
and you can imagine how deep this
actually goes and how powerful
your items can eventually become.
If you understand how it works,
this elaborate playground is
so much fun to experiment with.
I spent a good few hours between missions
to unlock new recipes and see how far
I was able to push certain items.
And I think in post-game, this is where
most of my time will be going to. I should
also say that I’m working on a video to
explain the alchemy system in more detail,
so if you do not want to miss that
make sure to subscribe to the channel!
So in order to craft items
you will need materials
and these can mainly be
found in the open world.
Gathering in Ryza 2 is very similar to
the first game and you use multiple tools
for different types of gathering spots.
The tools are marked with stars this time
around which indicates how many types of
items you can get from a gathering spot.
And these spots have been
imrpoved themselves too:
you can now see which items can
be obtained by using which tools
and this addition makes it much
easier to find certain materials
when you’re out in the field.
Aside from running around, you
can also swim and even dive under
water to find special materials.
And not only that, they have fixed
one of the most annoying things
about Atelier ryza 1.
You can now jump from ledges!
no more pointless running around. While
it may seem like a basic thing for a
game in 2021, I cannot stress how good
it feels to finally be able to do that
Finally, as it was already
hyped up by the trailer
you can now use a mount to
travel through areas faster.
When you’re riding on this mount, you
also see yellow spots on the ground.
These are places where the mount can
dig for special and rare materials.
The mount is also perfect for times
where you do not want to fight because
the enemies that are close-by run away
from you instead of towards you.
Overall, exploration feels easy,
natural and accessible and gathering
itself is a lot more predictable.
One thing that I still not
understand is why the backspace
is limited in this game.
I mean, I get that some games do this
to add a bit of realism or have you
make very important decisions on what
you want to take home or want to leave.
But with this game’s amazing
fast travel system, you can sort
this out in just a few seconds.
Anyway, last week… All you really
have to do is go to your world
map, travel to your Atelier
via the fast travel system,
get out of this window, open the
world map again and go back to
the zone where you just were.
Now granted for this clip I was at the
start of the area, but you get the idea.
The combat has seen a big
overhaul since the first game.
And while it’s still rocks this
hybrid between active combat and
turn-based combat, the user interface –
so the extra things you see on the screen
during battle, are a lot more clearer now
and allow you to focus more on the battle.
The combat itself feels fluid and
there’s little to no wait time anymore
From the moment you have three
or four people in your party.
I will be making a video about the
combat in a much greater detail,
so stay tuned for that!
But for now, I will give you a quick
summary of what it’s actually like.
So as always – you started a fight by
touching a monster in the overworld.
If you hit the monster with one of
your gathering tools, the monster will
receive a debuff and your AP level
will increase. The AP system has
five levels, and you can generate AP
points by performing regular attacks.
Once you have enough AP points, you can
use a special skill that does more damage.
Unlike the first game however, you
don’t have to sacrifice AP anymore
to increase the AP level.
This happens automatically
as you use your skills.
Not only that, you can actually combo
your regular attacks into skills as well!
So let’s say you need five AP to use a
skill and you currently have three AP.
That means that if you do two regular
attacks and then immediately use a skill
afterwards, it’ll actually go through and
you won’t have to wait for your next turn.
And if that wasn’t good enough,
there are two more big changes:
One, you can now chain special
effects into one another, as
long as you have the AP points.
So instead of using one skill,
you can unleash a barrage of skills
as you see on the screen right now.
And two – once your character is done
attacking, you can swap in a fourth
character who can immediately take action.
All of this combined leads to a
insanely fast and flashy combat
system, which makes you feel like you
are in full control of the battle.
Items can still be used in battles too,
but it works a bit differently as opposed
to Ryza 1. You enter battles with
zero CC and you build these numbers up
as you use your skills. Each
character in the battle
has a individual CC meter, meaning that
if Ryza uses her CC points, Tao will
still have all of his. If your character
still has unused CC points after battle,
it gets stored in a separate meter
that you can use outside of battle.
This allows for you to quickly
heal using healing items before
heading into the next battle.
Overall, this new item system
is a lot better and more
useful than in the first game.
Now there is one new combat system
that I haven’t talked about yet, and
that is because.. I really don’t like it
honestly. You can now guard
against attacks to reduce the
amount of damage you take.
And if you time this well, it becomes
a perfect guard and gives you AP points.
On paper this is a nice addition
as it gives you something to do while
waiting for your next turn. In practice,
it’s just a random mess.
You see, there is not really
an aggro system in his game.
So while you can see that the monster
is about to attack, you can’t really see
which of your characters will be attacked.
So as you can see in this clip here, I
can tell that the enemy is looking at
my character and see an attack coming up.
So instead of attacking, I’m going
to wait for his attack and
block it at a right moment.
But instead of attacking me, he randomly
turns around and attack someone else.
The other characters
don’t sit still either.
So even if I were to swap to the other
character, I wouldn’t be able to guard
because they would already be attacking.
The only thing I could find is
a certain item effect to draw
attention more often to a character.
And by equipping that you could make
a designated tank, but honestly,
with how fast basic combat system
is, it’s way more fun to flat out
ignore this mechanic, take a bit of
extra damage during the battle and
just heal up afterwards using items.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been
this excited about a battle system
in a JRPG game and never expected it
to be in an Atelier game of all things.
I would even go as far as to rank
it together with the likes of Star
Ocean in terms of how good it feels.
So as mentioned earlier, the game starts
with the Ryza heading to the big city
to meet him with Tao an investigate
ruins that could be related to alchemy.
The investigation has its own system
where you need to match five criteria
while walking around the area.
Once you’ve done this, lost
memories in form of glowing lights
will appear around the area.
And it’s up to you to find all of them.
When interacting with these lights,
you receive clothes that give
more information about the ruins and
what happened there in the past.
Once you have gathered the clues,
you need to match the description
of them with the description of the
hints in order to unlock, or at least
understand, the true meaning of what
has happened. Now, to give you an idea
of what is feels like most areas have
between 25 to 40 different clues.
And while you need to match them together,
you will sit there for a good 20
minutes reading the texts over and over
until you find the two matching ones.
The easiest way to find this is
by looking at the green text on
both ends and the green text should
somewhat match up with one or another.
I am pretty sure that this system will
not be for everyone, especially if
English is not your primary language.
But personally, I like this a lot
more than having the main characters
walk to a quest point and figuring
out everything by themselves.
The storytelling of the main story
mainly revolves around these ruins.
And by combining it with the
investigation part the game, it
feels like you were there with a group
speculating or what could be going
on. But that’s just the main story.
There is a lot,
and I mean, a lot of side content.
It’s a mixture of both side quests
and simple character interactions.
Through this, you get to know
each of the playable characters
and a handful of MPCs too.
And honestly, I really need to praise
Gust and the voice actors on the
dialogue and the performance. The
writing, even if it’s for side-content
is very well done and fully aligned
with the characters personalities.
Each character has their own ambition,
struggles and preferences, and they
are aware of this in each other.
So when you are able to notice things in
cutscenes, without it explicitly being
mentioned, it feels really special.
Like for instance, Ryza being very
considerate of someone that has a
guiltful feelings, or Klaudia being
extra worried or over-protective
because of Ryza’s naivety.
I think it’s beautiful
How Gus has managed to give each
character this amount of depth,
just through the storytelling.
You often notice these things in TV shows
with multiple seasons where you get to
know the characters for a longer time,
but not that often a video games I find.
And that brings us to my final thoughts.
Atelier Ryza 1 had its faults and
shortcomings, but was still a great JRPG
in the Atelier series that
set the bar very high. With Atelier Ryza 2
Gust somehow managed to improve each
and every game aspect – making this a more
than worthy sequel. The storytelling,
beautiful areas, and incredibly fun
combat all click together
with alchemy at its very core.
And this has made Atelier Ryza
an unforgettable experience for me.
With that said, I am someone that has
played through the first game and this
sequel built upon that. While it can be
seen and played as a separate story,
you will definitely feel like you’re
missing something at times. Whether
it’s the history behind the chemistry
of some of the characters, or them
blatantly mentioning something about the
events that happened three years ago.
If you plan on picking up this game
and want to fully immerse yourself
in the story and characters, I really
recommend to play the original game
first or at least read up about it.
Now, as I mentioned before, I
will be uploading more Ryza 2
videos in the coming days
and if you enjoyed this review,
make sure to click the like
button so others can find it too.
Finally, if you have any other
questions about this game or want
to suggest what to cover next,
please let me know in the comments
down below, and we’ll talk about it.
As always, I want to thank you all
for watching and until next time!