Whether Atelier Ryza 3: The Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is your first ever Atelier game you picked up or one of the many you have played, it’s always good to have a refresher. Developer Gust tries to make every game a bit different. Whether it’s a big overhaul from one trilogy of games to the next or different synthesizing systems, different battle modes and more. There are even marked differences between the two Ryza games before this one! But although there’s a good in-game guide, there’s an overload of information while playing, and it’s easy to miss the finer details that make the gameplay much more enjoyable.
So, I felt it was time for some tips and guidance to get you started! And by the way, if you are still in doubt about whether to go for the game, here’s our review.
Exploration: Getting Around
There are some changes in how Ryza gets around. Instead of crawling through gaps, she can now slide into little hidden places. And if you press the R-shoulder while walking, she runs (must not be easy in those heels!). Or, when in the water, she does the breaststroke. Keep in mind that now Ryza can also automatically climb upon higher ledges by simply pushing against the ledge and pressing B.
Ziplines are a great addition. Make sure you unlock every Zipline platform you come across, as when two connected ones are both unlocked; you can zip from one to the other. If you unlock a platform and you can’t use it yet (when you walk to the other end, nothing happens), then the opposite one isn’t unlocked yet. As soon as you unlock the second one, you will see a bright light at the hook where the zip line is in, and a glowing ball shoots out to the other side.
Animals: Ryza can interact with animals, like dogs, cats and more. They will give you an item when she pets them or lead you to secret places. And when you see a small dolphin seal depicted in the water? A dolphin will come to let you ride on its back.
When you see an icon with a paw print on the map you’re travelling on, you will find a special animal. One that sparkles, and you’re to follow it. When you do, it will ultimately drop a special item, like the Three coloured Stone this rabbit dropped for me.
Warping: Once you have unlocked Landmarks, you can easily travel to them. And always, when on the overworld, you can travel to your atelier.
Swimming and diving: when you’re swimming, and you see exciting things below on the bottom, you can dive once you have synthesized AirDrop. Simply press Y to dive into places where you can.
Quest materials are marked: What’s nice is that in Ryza 3, the material you need for your quest is marked. You don’t need to check every bush or stone if you need something specific; it’s clearly marked with a checkmark.
Exploration: Several Regions
In the first two Atelier Ryza games, you had only one world map. In Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key, there are several regions to explore, each with its own map. Press ‘-‘ to pull up the map and toggle with the L-and R shoulder to the right region.
On this map, you can see the areas you unknowingly travelled in, as going from one to the next is instantly in this game. No gateways to go through, no changing of the screen.
Every area displays a couple of numbers, like below in the Scintilla Mine area.
You can see I had unlocked 1 of 3 Landmarks and found none of the nine treasure chests yet. Clicking on the area, you see in more detail where the Landmarks are. Clicking on one of the unlocked landmarks brings you to the map you can find under the down button on the D-pad when you’re in the game.
On every map, clicking Y will bring you back to the Atelier in that region.
When a chart hasn’t been explored yet, you’ll see little landmark icons with ??. Try to find them, and they will unlock automatically.
The clouds that obscure the land dissipate in the part where you have uncovered the landmark, so you’ll get more of a feeling of where you’re going. After that, you can also warp to the landmarks once they are unlocked. Select the landmark on the map, press Y and confirm that you want to travel there.
Note that, if you zoom in ZR you can see, with little depictions, what monsters are in the area. Encircle them and you can even pull up their information.
When you’re at the landmark, go to the map by pressing the D-pad down to get more information about the area. Encircle the landmark you want to know more of, and press X. It shows you what monsters you will encounter, what their level range is, and when you click on the monster, it also shows how they react to the elements like fire and lightning, but also which items they may drop and in what other habitats you can find them.
You can also choose to track the monster. Pressing ‘-‘ shows you the chance for Key Creation and what kind of keys they’ll lead to, making this a real little encyclopaedia of information.
The information at the landmark also shows which quests are tied to this area; the main storyline quest has a little yellow marker next to it.
It shows what materials you can find here, and when choosing one of them with A, you get the choice to see the guide or track the item. The guide shows in which category the material falls, which element it can have, and how it’s gathered (by hand or with one of your tools). And finally, it shows in what other areas you can find this material.
Many Sorts of Quests
The main story quest in Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is easily found as indicated by a document and ! next to it. But along the way, you will pick up many more quests. Pressing ‘+’, you pull up the Quests menu.
Main Quests, always at the right-hand top side of your screen when you are playing and indicated on the map with a marker (mostly pink, unless there is more than one main quest) and a sort of scroll and a ! next to it. You can find it quickly by pressing ‘+’ in this Quest menu, which will take you to the map.
World Quests are specific to the region you are in.
Character Quests can be anything. They are often resolved with a little chat between the friends in the game, like the quest “An Accumulation of,” where they talk about how their parents react to their adventures.
Normal Quest must be picked up by talking to someone you meet with a ? above their head. When you pick the Quests up, they can be found on the map with a ! and the title next to it. From the Quest menu, you can see where it’s to be reported by pressing ‘+’.
Party Quests can be anything. Many have a goal in battle, like using a healing item in battle ten times. But they can also be something random, like the one below. Party members can learn passive skills when a quest is completed.
There are Random Quests as well, and they will trigger when you enter a certain location (you’ll see yellow little stripes appear briefly above Ryza’s head). Random quests are optional, and when you leave the area, they may disappear. They can be anything, like harvesting yellow-coloured materials (with Super Traits) that are extra powerful or fighting a group of monsters in a string of battles without pause.
Alchemy: Building your own Atelier
As you can’t go back to your Secret Hideout all the time, you can build an Atelier in the region you are in. There are three different styles to build in, each with a different effect. Research Base (advantages when exploring), a Farm (you can grow seeds there) and a Laboratory (Increases SP gain rate).
When it’s built, you can place furniture in there or accessories like plush dolls. You can place them from the Diary menu by choosing Place Accessories.
Alchemy: Let’s synthesize
As always, the synthesis system in Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is very deep, and if you like this part of the game, it’ll give you many hours of fun. Suffice it for this guide to tell you that you fill in the slots in the core of the recipe, let’s say, the main branch. You can also add materials to the “side branches” as they will give extra quality, traits or effects. But after you’ve filled in the core, you can already synthesize the item.
Sorting allows you to choose the highest quality materials, the ones with the highest elemental values, the ones you have the most of, and so on. Filtering lets you choose more specific values. If you feel daunted by it all, you can also choose to auto-add materials with the R-shoulder button.
You start your game with a certain amount of recipes to synthesize. And as the story progresses, more recipes are added. Aside from that, you also unlock your recipes in a skill tree. To do this, you need SP, which you will earn by synthesizing, doing quests, finding it in treasure chests and so on.
Another way to get new recipes is to do a recipe morph. The recipes you have already show, with a little + to the name, if there’s a recipe lurking beneath the one you already have. A red + means you don’t have the materials or requirements yet to make it, and a yellow + shows that you can indeed make the item.
Like in this example for Honey, you’ll see that there’s a recipe for Nectar Rock in there. The way it works is that first, you must meet the recipe morph criteria. In this case, I had to fill in four ice elements in the Traits circle above the new recipe (the one where you see the grey bee). Having done that, I had to input five fire elements, which triggered the recipe to morph.
Alchemy: Super Traits
While exploring, you sometimes see plants, rocks etc, that glow yellow. The materials you gather from them have Super Traits, which are very valuable in synthesizing.
You can find them by filtering for them in your container (located in the Atelier). These traits can be passed on to the items you synthesize using these raw materials; for example, you can make a neutralizer with this trait. But you can’t have the Super Trait Swordmaster inherit over to the weapon you make using this neutralizer.
Alchemy: Reinforcing Equipment, Duplication and Gem Reduction
Reinforcing Equipment: If you need a stronger weapon or armour, you don’t have to make it from scratch: you can reinforce it by adding materials to it to give it better stats and effects. To do so, stand at the furnace in your atelier.
Gem Reduction: materials and items you don’t need can be reduced to gems by using the normal cauldron.
Item Duplication: Unlocks in the Skill tree. If you have a very useful or high-powered item, you can choose to duplicate it instead of making it all over again. This costs gems, however, but it can be totally worth it. You can do this at the Mulitple Cauldron or standing at the normal cauldron.
A new addition to Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key. Of course, Ryza makes the first one herself with Alchemy without really knowing how the recipe popped into her head. They are powerful items with effects that can be used in exploration, combat and synthesis. And each key in itself can have up to four different effects.
At the first part of the game, you need to have a Hollow Key to create other keys. Every time, you can create five keys with it. And when it’s depleted, it will renew once you’ve been in your Atelier. Later on, you will get more powerful keys to create new ones.
Symbol Effects: When equipped to a character, these can increase their stats.
Buff Effects: During battle, when you choose to do Key Modification, it will give a powerful effect on the target for a certain period of time.
Not all keys have Buff Effects; like below, you can see it on their card.
This Blue Stone Key has the Buff Effect Auto Heal XS. When you equip this key to someone in your party, you can activate it during battle by choosing Y –>Key Modification, and in exchange for losing one tactic level, you will get this temporary buff.
Adventure Effect: The effect is activated when opening special treasure chests and barriers. While you are out exploring, you will sometimes see a blue beam from the ground to the sky. When you’re next to the source, you have found a Supply Point. It’s a treasure chest that can be opened by using a key. Certain Keys like the one below have the Adventure Effect, and touching the Supply Point will give you materials and a small increase in the quantity you find.
Syntheses Effect: this effect can be activated when you synthesise, and it will affect how well an item is made by boosting or changing the Material loops.
While you are making an item, on top of the screen, an “X Secret Key” will show up. Once you press that, you will see the keys you have and how they affect the item you are making.
In the synthesis screen on the left it shows 3 levels of effects, each one being applied in order if the key meets the right requirements. The requirements that must be matched are:
- Effect 1 Element – The keys element, following Atelier Ryza 3’s four elements: Fire, Ice, Bolt, and Air.
- Effect 2 Motif – The shape of the key. This can be Ore, Feather, Star, or Gear.
- Effect 3 Rarity – Keys can have a rarity of common, uncommon, rare, and super rare. Keys of a higher rarity can still trigger lower rarity requirements.
The Green Stone Key below had quite some impact for me but ticked only the first two effects as it was a common key.
Its Synthesis Effect was the air element and a small increase. This key hit the level 1 condition on the left: Element Air with the effect of a quality increase. But this one also qualified for level 2 because of its Motif being Ore; it made the Element Value go up as well. So, instead of 4 Green Neutralizers with an element value of 2 and a quality of 105, I got 4 Green Neutralizers with an element value of 3 and a quality of 125.
New Secret Keys can be created at Landmarks, and the type you can make varies with the Landmark. Landmark Power is consumed when making the key, but the good news is that the power will recover over time.
Combat: The Battles in Ryza 3
The fighting in Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is turn-based action. Party members and monsters make their moves after a certain time, and balancing waiting time, what offensive actions to make and when to defend is key.
You fight with a party of five, three characters in the front row and two in the back row. Those two can be called upon by pressing L and having them swap places with the front-row characters.
Here are some tips to let you enjoy the battles:
- Normal attacks and using items in battle will up the AP meter, and magical attacks ( holding the R shoulder button) generate CC. You need this CC to use items in battle. All items in your pocket have a Core Charge, the number of points needed to use the item. Have enough gathered? You could string several items together in one turn.
- When AP is higher than 10, you can also use CC, even when it’s not your turn.
- The CC menu also holds the actions for the Secret Keys. You can make a Key (when the monster is lower than 80% of its HP and your T-LV (the gauge in the bottom right during battle) must be at 2 or higher.). Or you can choose to do Key Modification, which will give a powerful effect to the target for a certain period of time, depending on the Buff effect of the Key.
- Don’t stay with just Ryza during battles. For different monsters, different party members have magical attacks to which certain animals are weak.
- Using magical attacks ups the Tactical Level, making normal attacks more powerful.
- Doing magical moves uses up AP. And if you have enough AP, you can even string more magical attacks in one move. So it’s a kind of balance: normal attacks to make AP or use magical moves? I guess it depends on the kind of battle.
- During the battle, your party members will request you use physical or magical attacks through Action Orders, and when you do as they ask, they follow up with more powerful skills. Giving you more CC points to use again. The beauty of this game is that you can influence in the stats what kind of Action Orders are used.
- Need more time to contemplate your moves? Don’t forget that by pressing the ‘-‘ button; you can pause the battle.
- If I have one complaint, then it is that I’m watching the enemy before me to see if I need to defend myself, and then I’m attacked from the side by another monster. I hadn’t remembered that with ‘+’, you can change your targeted enemy. It might come in handy!
- By the way, Defend at the right time, and you won’t suffer as much damage.
- Pressing the Dpad to down makes the other party members only use normal attacks generating AP. Pressing the Dpad up lets other characters use magical skills freely, so they also use up the AP.