Game: Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy
Genre: JRPG, Adventure
Systems: Nintendo Switch (also on PS 4, Steam)
Developer | Publisher: Gust | Koei Tecmo Europe
Price (Switch version): US $59.99| EU € 59,99| UK £49.99
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Release date: 28th January 2021
Review Code Used Many Thanks to Koei Tecmo
If you are a regular on the site you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Atelier games. I won’t say I’ve played them all, but the series has had my warm attention ever since Atelier Rorona. You can imagine I was pretty happy to be able to review Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy. Ryza 2 is the 22nd game in the series and during the 23 years since the first Atelier game came to life, developer Gust has used every new entry to make changes. Sometimes big ones, sometimes small adjustments.
Leaving Kurken Island
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, released in November 2019, added to the Atelier games before it. As before, the storyline of the game was about teenagers on the threshold to adulthood. Synthesis, gathering items, fulfilling quests and doing battles are at the heart of the game, but the first Atelier Ryza also incorporated decorating the Atelier and had one single mystery at the core of the story. No multiple endings, just one adventure from start to finish.
What’s entirely new is that Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy directly follows on the adventures of the first one. Main character Ryza doesn’t return as a cameo as often happens in the Arland set of Atelier games, or in the Dusk trilogy. No, this second game is about the same main character. Reisalin Stout is a girl with a cheerful disposition, going on a big adventure with her childhood friends, Tao and Lent in the first game, and finding a new adventure in the second game. Old friends join her, and she makes new ones.
In Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout we followed the trio that wanted nothing else but to explore life outside of the sleepy hometown on Kurken Island, leaving behind their sometimes troubled youth. At the end of the first Ryza adventure Tao and Lent leave Kurken, but Ryza stays behind. Practising her alchemy by doing chores for the village, but otherwise living life much like she had before their grand adventures. I think it’s a good idea to keep following the same protagonist. You get attached to Ryza and the others, and it’s fun to be able to see them getting on in life, much like when reading a nice long series of books.
Ryza decides to travel to Ashra-am Baird, the central city that Tao and Boss went to for their studies. Tao had asked her to look into some ancient ruins around the city with him, and of course Ryza needs little persuasion to leave Kurken Island behind. Just before she leaves, Moritz Brunnen gives her one of his jewels from his collection of artefacts, asking her to investigate what the glowing stone really is.
The story unfolds with lots of mysterious ruins, a cute little animal called Fi to accompany Ryza, a new atelier to decorate and many familiar faces.
Synthesising and Battling like in Ryza 1
Writing about an Atelier game means you have to touch on two things: the synthesis system and the battle system. Synthesis in the game is almost the same as in Ryza 1, with the exception of how new recipes are presented. In the first game you had to unlock them within the synthesis process, but in Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy you unlock recipes in a skill tree. Do this by using SP that you gained from synthesis or clearing sidequests and requests. I quite like that, it gives me a better overview of what I still need to find.
The process of making the recipes you know is almost the same, but there is the addition of a few new things that make the process all the more interesting.
The battle system is mostly the same as in the first game. The basic flow, in which characters use physical attacks to build up AP to use skills, and then use skills to build up CC to use items remains identical. This also means that you can set core items on each characters to use in battle, with no need to keep synthesising new ones like in older games.
Ryza is a Budding Archeologist
It seems that aside from the synthesis and battling there’s even more to do and explore. Harvesting items by using various tools is back, as is catching fish and bugs. Ryza can now swim, dive, crawl, ride animals, swing on ropes and climb rocks. Being used to Ryza being able to hardly make a small hop to jump over a fence, means this is progress indeed!
Early in the game Ryza receives a compass that she can use in the ruins, giving her insight in past events that have taken place in the ruins she is investigating. These memories and ruin fragments are combined in the Exploration Diary like a little puzzle, making you feel like an archeologist delving in the past to decipher ancient manuscripts.
I really like this new addition that comes with its own sensor map of the ruins. It adds another thing to do in this already massive game.
A Colourful and Detailed World
The attention to detail in the graphics is amazing. Where Kurken island was already a very detailed environment, following Ryza in the big city shows even more clearly how lovely everything you see is fleshed out. What I did notice though is that NPC’s in the streets that don’t have a speech bubble above their head are kind of ghostly, as Ryza can run right through them!
As always in Atelier games, the characters outfits are quite something else. The most fantastic additions to everyday clothing, with Ryza for instance having only one stocking and sleeve. I can’t help but wonder how she decides what side of her gets the full outfit when she’s getting dressed. And though many of you may greatly enjoy it, I do find it a bit annoying how some screenshots only feature Ryza’s from her chin down to her waist….and don’t get me started on the skimpy shorts!
Sometimes readers ask me which my favourite Atelier game is. A difficult choice to make, as there are many aspects that influence my choice. I like older games because of the English voice acting, though I wasn’t a fan of the adventures being timed. Too often I had to restart because when counting the days I had left it seemed clear I could never play the game to its end. But there’s also the synthesis and battle system to consider.
I always answer that each has its own charm. I really like Ryza’s synthesis system, but I’m not a big fan of the battle system, being more a fan of turn based battles. But when you look at the sheer size of the adventure, the attention to detail, all the things you can do in the games and the bond you build with the characters, I do think the Ryza games are the best.
With Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy Gust and Koei Tecmo have delivered again. This new game can be played on its own, though you’ll have to learn a lot to master it all in a short time. For me, there’s never a dull moment in the game and I love the new additions like the Exploration Diary.
You won’t be surprised that Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is the best of the best for me.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up