Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is the sequel to 2019’s Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout. Koei Tecmo Games and Gust have opted to bring Ryza back as the protagonist in a full-fledged sequel to 2019’s hit Atelier game. Previous titles in the Atelier franchise would usually introduce a new protagonist to head up the adventure but for this title, Ryza is back in the saddle and fans of the titular character will be pleased about this. Does Ryza 2 deliver on all its expectations or does this sequel fall flat?
Atelier series fans will be glad to know that the sequel does indeed deliver the goods. If you’ve played the first Ryza game, you’ll be ecstatic at the thought that the sequel features everything that made the original title great plus a whole lot more. The sequel features many refinements to Ryza 1’s gameplay mechanics which ultimately make Ryza 2 a lot better in multiple ways.
The story of Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy follows our protagonist, Reisalin Stout, once more on an adventure that’s filled with plenty of intrigue, action and some truly heartfelt moments. After falling into an alchemical creativity slump, Ryza is contacted by her friend Tao via a letter delivered by Moritz Brunnen. Moritz also entrusts Ryza with a mysterious egg-shaped item and since all her friends have left Kurken Island, Ryza decides to head on over to the capital city of Ashra-am Baird to learn more alchemy.
Upon arrival at a port and adventuring further into the capital itself, Ryza eventually encounters Tao and Bos. It’s been 3 years since the events of Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout and Ryza and her friends are older. Returning characters look different and have shown character growth in other aspects too. This is conveyed quite well with their personalities in the game.
While in Ashra-am Baird, a new character is also introduced to Ryza. Patricia Abelheim, the daughter of a wealthy resident that resides with the city. It’s thanks to Patricia that Ryza is able to set up an Atelier within the city and continue her alchemical syntheses. There are also another 2 mysterious characters which are fully introduced later in the game and they are both great additions to the already significant lineup of playable characters.
Gameplay in Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy has received a significant upgrade in terms of how the action plays out. The “Core Charge” mechanic has been refined from the first game to allow for more action to play out in the actual battlefield with less backtracking back to your base of operations. The alchemy and synthesis system has been revamped with Ryza now being able to learn new alchemical creations via investing SP into learning them from a skill board of sorts. SP is earned from exploring and from synthesising items. Throwing together ingredients into a cauldron to synthesise new items might seem daunting at first but it is incredibly satisfying once you know what you are doing. Mixing together ingredients based on their quality, elements and attributes is key to creating much more powerful items and thankfully this doesn’t feel like a chore at all.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy has no time limit and players are free to explore the game’s world as much as they want without any time restrictions. The combat gameplay is reminiscent of Final Fantasy XIII’s Active-Time Battle (ATB) system since both the player’s party and enemies will act based on a timeline. Players will be able to block attacks and attack when their wait gauge is completely filled. To further complicate the battle system, players will rack up action points which are earned by attacking or blocking enemy attacks with perfect timing. These action points are used to perform special attacks. In battles, players will also be able to perform attacks which can be chained with other party members based on what they tell you in battle. You can chain together some really devastating combos in this manner and it’s great to see it play out in-game. Oh and you can also swap between characters on the fly in battle and chain together attacks yourself if you so please. It’s great!
Returning to the story aspects, Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy features a lot of standard JRPG fare but the way it’s implemented and delivered is what keeps it interesting. The game’s story comes across as quite chilled despite there being some extremely serious undertones in some aspects, especially with regards to the very real problems that some of the characters are facing. It’s quite refreshing to see the Atelier series be taken in this direction and the sheer amount of things to do in Atelier Ryza 2 will keep you busy for literally dozens of hours.
Collecting items for alchemical synthesis is great fun and adventuring out and fighting numerous monsters never gets old thanks to how great the battle system is. The game’s difficulty is just right too with battles presenting enough of a challenge but once you’re knee deep into the various alchemical mechanics and know your way around synthesis and item usage, you’ll be able to defeat any threat that your party faces. The endgame “Legendary” difficulty option being available once you complete the main story will mitigate this somewhat and present a far greater challenge though.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy also features a full-blown photo mode and players can set up some great photo scenes thanks to the photo mode’s abilities. You can alter Ryza’s pose, or remove NPCs as well as apply filters to the scene and there are definitely going to be people out there that will spend a significant amount of time just playing around with the photo mode throughout the game.
Graphically, Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is beautiful. The city, the ruins, the fire and water effects etc. It is all great. The rain effects in the game also make characters look “Wet” and this was quite a nice surprise to see in-game. Players can also opt to change their character’s outfits back at the Atelier so if you’re not a fan of Ryza’s new outfit in the sequel, you can thankfully change back to her outfit from the first game in the series.
The soundtrack in Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is exceptionally good too as per the norm for a Gust game. Unfortunately though, just like the first game in the series, there’s no English dub here. The game’s voice acting is however performed by seasoned veteran Japanese voice actors and they’ve done an excellent job in their respective roles. There are some segments in the game where a character speaks in Japanese though and there’s no English subtitles. This happens predominantly in battles and on the victory screens in battles. We’re hoping that subtitles can be patched in at a later date even if it is just for one liners at the end of battles.
Overall, Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is a great sequel and one that fans of the original Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout will definitely enjoy. If you missed out on the first game and want to dive into the second, you can do so and won’t really be missing out on too much since the game is set 3 years into the future. However, it is recommended that you play the first title so as to understand the character’s backgrounds. With all that said, Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy was created in about a year and 3 months and Koei Tecmo Games and Gust have crafted an incredibly enjoyable game. It’s flat out amazing that they’ve pulled this off so soon and we highly recommend Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy if you’re looking for an amazing JRPG to play right now.
This review is based on the PC version of the game and can be purchased on steam for £49.99.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and PC
Developers: Koei Tecmo, Gust Co. Ltd.
Publishers: Koei Tecmo, Koei Tecmo Games, KOEI TECMO AMERICA Corporation
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