Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy – Review


The game starts with Ryza in his small town on Kurken Island, recalling the events of the first title. For three years, she was without her friends with whom she lived that great adventure. Now, the girl who was once seen as the mischievous tomboy in the village became the alchemist who helps everyone.

Moritz Brunnen, the most powerful man on the island and the father of one of Ryza’s friends, goes to her and delivers an oval object that looks more like a jewel and asks her to find out what it is about. Our protagonist, who was feeling stagnant in the mission that took place three years ago, decides to go to the royal capital to see her friends again and try to develop as an alchemist.

After a brief contextualization in the events that precede the story, we arrive at Ashra-am Baird, the great capital that will be our base scenario for the history of the game. In the city, the protagonist feels like a hick in the big city, stunned to see the place for the first time. Shortly afterwards, we met old acquaintances: Tao and Bos, Ryza’s friends who moved to study.

Tao, once a small and frightened boy, has grown to the point of becoming almost unrecognizable to those who knew him, while Bos follows what he was like in the first game, now a little more friendly. As we progress in the campaign, we get to know new characters and meet the protagonist’s old friends, now with other routines and concerns.

After Tao helps Ryza find a place to live in the big city, they set out on an expedition to the ruins near a forest outside the capital. Here we are placed in one of the great mechanics of the series: exploration.

In this second game, exploration has gained a new layer of utility: clearing the ruins to find new information about them. As Tao studies them, he is trying to get to know them as much as possible and Ryza takes advantage of these expeditions to expand his knowledge as an alchemist. In these ruins, we will be presented to the Compass, an artifact that will guide us to find clues of information about the space in which we are inserted and thus unravel mysteries hidden in those environments, together with new ingredients and recipes for Ryza.

In Atelier, the player must search the game spaces in search of ingredients that can be collected to produce medicines, weapons, food and much more. Alchemy is a skill that few characters have in the game universe, and they are capable of producing almost everything in their cauldrons.

In this new interaction, Gust took care of mechanics to expand the exploration experience: now Ryza can venture through the scenarios with the help of a Spirit Beast, a magical being that can be summoned by her (after specific game events). The cute helper can also dig spaces on the floor of the sets and find special items.

In addition to hitchhiking, Ryza can also swim in some environments. In these spaces, the player will be able to cross specific areas and even dive and obtain exclusive items that are only available underwater. Another exploration mechanic is the use of the Emeral Band, which allows the player to go from one scenario to another, using a magic rope and, to finish the novelties, she can also climb stone walls with climbing plants. All of these mechanics expand the spaces for exploration, bringing a much greater dynamism and helping to transform gambling closer to a real adventure.

As we progress through the campaign and find new ingredients with more potent properties, we will be able to synthesize more refined items, whose effectiveness and quality improve exponentially.

The Skill Tree mechanic was also implemented, in which the player accumulates points when synthesizing, completing missions and exploring the ruins, being able to exchange them for new items that can be synthesized, improvements when forging new products or to explore the scenarios. This exit was very intelligent and talks very well with what was established in the first game.

The battle system is changed from a “traditional turn base” to “action turn base”. It’s a nice change of pace just as with the first, the battles in Riza 2 happen in real time with characters sliding along an action bar that determines when they can act. Once it is your turn though, you can’t just sit around deciding what to do as the battle keeps going while your turn is ticking. It gives the combat a sense of urgency and it might take some time getting used to.

The changes they made to the core is great. They removed the charging system, where are before you have to constantly go back to base and back to battle because your core charge ran out. Now core charge is replenished via skill use and you can repeatedly use the same bomb in a single battle, as long as you land enough skills to make up its core charge cost. Given that you can equip 4 items to each of your 3 active party members and 1 hot swappable character, there’s a lot of room for item use in battle.

This ties into the new skill chain feature which allows you to use multiple skills in a row, given the right amount of AP of course, this allows you to build core charge even faster. This gives the combat further ties to the game’s extensive crafting mechanics.

The crafting and gathering is still as fun as ever. It’s a fun and complex crafting system with the entire alchemy level from the first game is just completely thrown out the window, in favor of this new skill tree. It basically works like any other skill tree you would see in other jrpgs, allowing you to use experience earned during crafting to unlock new recipes and allows you to unlock even more recipes.

The skill tree also grants other bonuses like new super moves to use in combat and increased quality and quantity of gathered materials on the field.

The field actually saw some much more noticeable changes such as giving you a preview of what items are dropped from certain bushes, rocks and other objects.

The new exploration features allows you to swim, swing, dive climb, crawl and even ride an animal companion around. Some of these require you to first craft tools just like in the last game but all of them really opened up the game world in a fun way, making gathering a more involved experience.

Excellent graphics and music raised the bar. Bright vivid color, better lighting and shadows, excellent character designs and the detailed weather effects gives the game more “alive” feeling. You can even see characters get drenched from the rain. The soundtrack also improved a lot. It’s got that excellent mix of more adventurous exploration tracks, befitting of Ryze’s personality but also some more mysterious ominous stuff for story scenes.

With the new controls, you’re now able to remap them in game on both controller, keyboard and mouse. Although there are a few keys that can’t be remapped, the game finally has mouse support both in regular gameplay for camera movement and in the menus. The mouse support can be a bit spotty at times during alchemy but it’s good enough to the point that the game is actually playable without a controller.

The downside is the story is yet another further decline in quality. Ryze 2’s story is not only a downgrade from the original, but the weakest from the series thus far. As this is a sequel, it takes place after the events of the first game – three years to be exact. So you would expect that the game is going to expand on the characters established there while maybe taking them on another cool adventure. But the game instead has you spend more time with an animal sidekick that cannot even speak.

The characters from the first game eventually are introduced but they’re given the briefest stories before being shoehorned into this whole new plot. To sum it up without spoiling too much, instead of being a naturally developed adventure like the first game, this sequel has a very clear pattern to it. You arrive at a new set of ruins. Explore it enough to unlock a compass that then maps the ruins memories and then pick up these memories before engaging in a light puzzle game in order to unlock the ruined secrets.

You basically rinse and repeat this several times and you’ve cleared the game.

The act of filling out the journal with these memories can be very tedious. You have this list of 30 or so memories to scroll through and have to match each and every one of them to a couple keywords. A process that not only can take a while but doesn’t offer up much of a reward.

The main story is about as long as it was in the first game – 26 hours or so. That’s just the main story. The series is known for its wealth of content on top of that. There are extra side quests and even some post-game boss fights. There is also a new game plus mode that carries over some progress from the main game for those that want to go that route.

It is definitely still a worthwhile follow-up to the original the combat mechanics, crafting system and exploration. It may have taken a bit of a dive with regards to its story quality and the new exploration journal mechanic (which isn’t exactly the greatest) but if you like the first game, there’s still a lot to like with the sequel.


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