Game: Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout
Genre: JRPG, Adventure
Systems: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Steam
Developer | Publisher: Gust | Koei Tecmo Europe
Price (Switch version): € 59.99| £49.99 | AUS$ 90.00 |CAN$ 79.37| US $59.99
Age Rating: EU 12 | AU PG | US T
Release date: 28th October 2019 (US/CAN) and 1st November 2019 (UK/EU/AU)
Reviewed on: Playstation 4
Review Code Used Many Thanks to Koei Tecmo Europe
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is the 21st entry of the Atelier series and the first of a brand-new story arc with the theme of ‘Summer Memories’. Atelier Ryza is a charming coming of age game that implements the use of real-time, turn-based combat systems and the gathering-synthesising features that the series is known for.
Alchemists, Ryza Up!
Players are introduced to the newest protagonist, Reisalin Stout, a young, feisty and uninhibited girl who wishes for nothing more than adventure and exploring life outside of the sleepy village with her childhood friends. Her friends who join her at the beginning of her adventure, Tao and Lent, also share a similar vision of departing their troubled home lives.
When fate leads the group to Empel and Lila, a pair of alchemists, Ryza is inspired to become an alchemist and the group has been presented with the opportunity to embark on an adventure that they have been dreaming of.
Alchemy and Synthesising
Atelier: Ryza is a great introduction for newcomers to the series, as the fresh synthesising system works to balance the intricacies whilst streamlining the process for beginners.
The process for synthesising using the atelier takes place using a web of nodes that the player can add their materials to – creating what seems to be an infinite combination of potions, armour and weapons.
The synthesising is also colour coded using elemental symbols that guide the player in ensuring that their combination of materials fit best in creating their item. However, if players are not keen on taking the road of testing the endless combinations of materials, you are now able to collect the necessary materials and have the game automatically create items for you by pressing the R1 button and selecting the quality that you wish to produce.
Want to know more about how it works? Here’s our step-by-step guide
Gust has not only overhauled the alchemy system, but they have also revamped the combat system too. Implementing the use of real-time turn-based controls, the pacing of the battle system has been completely changed. You are able to control any one of your teammates during combat to really maximise the use of each character’s special abilities.
Atelier: Ryza also introduces the use of AP (Attack Points) when landing attacks to exchange for landing special moves or levelling up the tactics level of your team to deal several blows during a player’s turn.
The combat system offers the player with many options during offensive attacks which will later (almost) reach the same level of alchemy when role assignments are introduced.
Graphics, soundtrack and controls
The UI is crisp, coherent and easy to navigate. Although at the very beginning of the game there are many tutorials that newcomers may be overwhelmed with; however, the game is lenient in that it provides the player with many opportunities to experiment and practise using many of the game’s core game mechanics.
The game’s soundtrack is whimsical and uplifting, pairing with the game’s simplistic and bright graphics it is seamless. I often found myself leaving my Playstation 4 running with the game idling just listening to the overworld themes while completing other menial tasks on my computer.
The character design for Ryza has moved away from the hyper-feminine physiognomies of past protagonists. Rather, Gust has opted to create a character incorporating earthy tones; reflecting the character’s upbringing on a farm. This design choice further sets Ryza apart from prior entries in the series, one that hopefully mainstreams the game to make it attractive to a wider audience.
The controls for the game were also simple and easy to navigate – especially during combat – there was not a time during my gameplay that I noticed any performance issues or difficulties.
Overall, I really enjoyed the latest entry in one of the longest-running RPG series. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout provided an experience that perfectly incorporates slice of life elements whilst providing a storyline that integrates character development where the player will grow attached to each of the characters during their journey. Gust has done a wonderful job in breathing fresh life into the franchise and is the perfect entry for newcomers to play.
In fact, I’m going to give this Atelier game our highest praise!
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up