- System: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch
- Publisher: Koei Tecmo
- Developer: Koei Tecmo, Gust
- Release Date: January 26, 2021
- Pricing: $59.99
- Rating: T
- Genre: Adventure, JRPG
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://www.koeitecmoamerica.com/ryza2/
Atelier Ryza 2 - Prologue Movie
Who it Caters to
It's not the most hardcore JRPG you might find, so it caters to all those looking for a cute-yet-intriguing story full of magic and laughs... and hopefully, the laughs are enough to distract you from all the grind!
What to Expect
For all those who are new to the franchise, this game won't bring anything new to the JRPG discussion, but it definitely will offer a couple dozens of hours of fun gameplay and charming anime graphics. If you played the prequel, then Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy will definitely feel like a step forward.
Atelier Ryza 2 will present you with a simple, easy-to-follow plot that connects all pieces in this puzzle, with a strong bias towards crafting and battles. Ultimately, however, this is a game of exploration, so it's up to you if you want to take your time, gather resources and enjoy crafting, or maybe go the hardcore route and be all about the fights and quests.
Atelier Ryza 2 uses 3D models and cel-shading, a common technique in anime games that doesn't always deliver the best results. The problem here is that some cutscenes are awkwardly animated, and sometimes the character's expressions feel a bit off. Regardless, all flaws we could mention are actually fairly common in most JRPG, palette swapping being another example. That being said, there are several small details that will make you smile once you notice them, like different textures for wet clothes and hair when it's raining...
As long as you don't come expecting photorealistic graphics, you'll be fine. Atelier Ryza 2's world is inviting enough to keep you playing for hours upon hours!
Another thing we like about Atelier Ryza 2 is that all dialogues are fully voiced, which helps bring life to your party members and all the important characters in this story.
Coincidentally, Tao himself is studying some ruins around the continent, and Ryza's help would be much appreciated. In Atelier Ryza 2, your goal is to investigate a series of ruins that happen to be connected to Fi's existence, and alchemy proves to be a vital medium.
One of the additions to Atelier Ryza 2 is the ability to explore underwater locations and jump over some obstacles, as well as using specific tools to access some areas and chaining your special skills in battle. Other than that, it plays very much like the first Atelier Ryza: you must defeat monsters in active turn-based combat to collect specific resources, but you also need to craft and use different tools to gather various plants, fruits, stones, etc. Those will be the ingredients to use in this not-so-user-friendly alchemy system that will definitely take quite some time to fully understand, creating more powerful weapons, new accessories, and key items that move the plot forward.
The combat system is rather complex too, but once you know what you're doing, it's quite enjoyable. Basically, you can perform different actions when the wait time is up and it's your turn again, but since it all happens in real time, timing your attacks and switching between your party members certainly gives it all an extra layer of strategy. Also, timing the enemies' attacks will help you gain AP faster, unleashing powerful attack combos and gaining CC to use core items to, for example, heal yourself, can very much be the difference between an easy win or a humiliating defeat...
Truth be told, investigating the ruins and putting all pieces of information together is an interesting addition to the mix, and using the same cast and protagonist for the second time—a series first—totally makes sense, not only because of how many copies Atelier Ryza sold but also because of how likable Ryza is.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Atelier Ryza 2 is a perfect follow-up, both for newcomers and hardcore fans of the Atelier saga. It has everything you would expect in a modern JRPG, like quests, housing (yes, you can decorate Ryza's atelier!) and resource farming, but not taking advantage of everything the alchemy system has to offer would be a big mistake. It wasn't until we stopped pushing forward and actually started synthesizing items and unlocking new recipes that we found ourselves enjoying the full experience, so we strongly suggest taking an alchemy-focused approach instead of just following the story and calling it a day.
- Plenty of things to do, especially if you enjoy grinding for resources and crafting.
- A worthy Atelier game, and one of the best we've played so far.
- All objectives and even the synthesis/crafting system are more user-friendly now (it has a lot of room for improvement, though!)
- Animations look weird at times.
- Although all Atelier games are like this, the story is short and simple. Maybe too predictable?
- Who thought having 2 separate maps when exploring the ruins was a good idea?
Honey's Final Verdict:
Anyone can finish the story, but will you be able to become the definitive alchemist and craft yourself a bunch of max quality gear sets for you and your party members? That's a true achievement!