Sizzling on the heels of 2019’s wonderful Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout, developer Gust has wasted completely no time in releasing this second epic journey for Reisalin “Ryza” Stout, a protagonist who’s confirmed so fashionable with followers that she’s the very first for the reason that Atelier collection kicked off again in 1997 to get a second crack in a starring function. Removed from being any type of fast cash-in, what we’ve bought right here is the twenty-second entry in a long-running franchise that elevates fight, dungeon-crawling and the sport’s signature alchemy to new heights, whereas rectifying the earlier outing’s considerably sluggish tempo with a marketing campaign that hits the bottom working.
Going down simply three years after the occasions of its predecessor, Atelier Ryza 2: Misplaced Legends and the Secret Fairy sees Ryza journey from her quiet dwelling on Kurken Island to the bustling metropolis of Asha-Am-Baird the place a now grown-up Tao Mongarten requests that she joins him in exploring a collection of mysterious alchemy-related ruins. Earlier than leaving for town, Ryza is presented an odd glowing rock which promptly reveals itself to be an egg when it hatches a creature often known as Fi, who’s tied in some unusual option to the goings-on on the historical ruins she should now discover.
Compared to the glacially-paced opening hours of the final entry within the collection, Atelier Ryza 2: Misplaced Legends and the Secret Fairy will get off to a refreshingly fast begin, losing no time in funnelling gamers by a useful refresher on fight and alchemical methods earlier than launching Ryza and the gang into their newest journey. Of all of the video games we’ve performed within the Atelier franchise to this point, this one simply feels as if it strikes one of the best steadiness between narrative, fight, exploration and useful resource gathering by the introduction of a collection of fantastic damage dungeons.
The place Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout may generally really feel just a little plodding and rudderless within the intervals of downtime between its primary story beats, right here Ryza, Tao and new character Patty – in addition to a bunch of returning buddies and foes that we gained’t dare to spoil right here – are saved on their toes and pushed ahead in direction of their final aim by these dungeons, which introduce a bunch of latest mechanics and provides the sport a enjoyable archaeological bent that by no means grows outdated over the roughly forty hours it takes to see the marketing campaign by to its conclusion.
Every damage you examine right here is stuffed with reminiscences of the individuals who explored it within the distant previous and, by utilizing the brand new Compass of Recollection mechanic, you and your workforce should collect clues represented by glowing lights scattered all through a number of areas so as to piece collectively puzzles – represented right here by enjoyable little stamp books – confront an end-of-dungeon boss and transfer the narrative ahead. Making use of Ryza’s newfound traversal skills, together with hook-shotting her approach throughout gaps with a swanky emerald bracelet, swimming, clambering over small limitations and even using a beastly mount, the moment-to-moment gameplay is one of the best the collection has ever provided; it is atmospheric and stuffed with extraordinary creatures to battle your approach by as you piece collectively the backstory resulting in the sport’s central risk which, as per regular, stays a thriller till deep into the narrative’s working time.
Talking of battles, Atelier Ryza 2: Misplaced Legends and the Secret Fairy sticks with the massively improved real-time, turn-based fight system launched to the collection in its predecessor while making a couple of tweaks that end in an much more action-packed and strategically satisfying affair. The overall stream of fights right here stays assault, accrue AP, spend AP on particular strikes and construct up your core prices so as to use objects that you simply’ve synthesised again at your atelier. Nonetheless, now you can chain collectively your flashy specials, utilizing as many as your accrued AP permits at one time, in addition to expending a number of objects in a single flip if you happen to’ve banked the required core prices to cowl the fee. In observe this implies you may, for instance, heal your self and a teammate, fireplace off an explosive uni and chuck a freeze bomb all within the area of 1 flip earlier than unleashing a combo of specials that see your teammates – who you are as soon as once more free to regulate in battle at any time – take part for some screen-shaking assaults of their very own.
It’s a fight system that basically raised the bar for the collection final trip, and right here it feels just like the handful of intelligent little tweaks offer you much more flexibility with reference to the methods you use in opposition to foes who’re way more satisfying to face off in opposition to right here from the get-go. Certainly, it wasn’t till fairly late within the sport in Ryza’s final outing that we got here throughout any type of correct fight problem in any respect, whereas right here we had been butting heads with extremely succesful bosses in a number of the earliest dungeons. That’s to not say Atelier Ryza has become a extra hardcore JRPG by any means; that is nonetheless a comparatively small-scale journey that’s a calming delight to dip into – it’s simply that the enemies right here present a wiser problem that will get you contemplating your choices a lot earlier on.
With reference to the collection’ signature alchemical gameplay, followers can be completely happy to listen to that it stays as deep and addictive as ever, retaining the slick new grid/node-based model of its predecessor whereas once more making a couple of tweaks and additions that give gamers much more in the best way of selection as they get all the way down to the enterprise of crafting all method of well being potions and defensive/offensive objects to hold into battle. Atelier Ryza 2: Misplaced Legends and the Secret Fairy introduces a brand new essence system which can be utilized to vary the basic nature of nodes inside recipes in addition to including new traits, making an already massively versatile synthesis system much more malleable. Gust has additionally launched an evolve hyperlink system to Ryza’s atelier shenanigans, which lets you mix two of your created objects so as to enhance the stats of 1, evolving and enhancing its total efficiency – or creating a brand new merchandise completely.
Alongside all of this, Ryza now earns SP which can be utilized to unlock new recipes and buffs on a terrific massive ability tree and, total, the symbiosis between all of those varied components – the dungeon-exploring, alchemical creation of things, slick battle system and unlocking of latest ability tree branches – ends in a sport that retains you hooked into its core gameplay loops noticeably extra so than every other entry within the collection up to now. We had been so busy with digging round ruins, furthering the mystery-filled primary story and getting deep into creating highly effective new bombs and potions right here that the collection’ now nearly anticipated weak factors – boring cookie-cutter aspect missions, lifeless NPCs who repeat the identical dialogue advert nauseam and the fixed want to collect an increasing number of sources – didn’t appear wherever close to as problematic as they’ve performed prior to now.
By way of efficiency on Change, the model new graphics engine launched by Gust final trip does a advantageous job right here in each docked and handheld modes, with nothing in the best way of framerate points, bugs or different issues in an enormous, vivid and vibrant sport that’s graphically on a par with Ryza’s earlier journey with a couple of new atmospheric prospers (resembling puddles left round city after a rainstorm) thrown in for good measure. Out within the area, Atelier video games have by no means appeared or performed higher, with extra selection and scope within the areas by which you battle and gather sources and – owing to all these new traversal choices at your disposal – they’re additionally much more involving to maneuver in and round. Whether or not you’re climbing up some vegetation to achieve a excessive level, swimming throughout a physique of water or using your new mount round areas, what’s right here seems like a step up over what’s come earlier than it within the collection.
For newcomers who could also be contemplating diving into some Atelier motion at this level, Atelier Ryza 2: Misplaced Legends and the Secret Fairy is certainly a superb start line. Sure, you might really feel extra affinity with the lead protagonist and customarily get extra out of the host of cameos and returning characters right here if you happen to’ve at the least performed the earlier sport however, when it comes to the story and gameplay mechanics, there’s no actual cause to let that cease you becoming a member of within the enjoyable. The sport’s deepest facet, its signature alchemical synthesis, can as soon as once more be totally automated right here if you happen to so select, eradicating the largest barrier for brand spanking new gamers, and the story itself works completely properly as a standalone journey.
So it is good, then? Not fairly. Whereas it isn’t fairly as annoying as earlier than, the act of gathering sources can nonetheless be actually annoying, particularly whenever you’re lacking one stupidly hard-to-find ingredient. Facet quests are additionally fairly boring, which removes quite a lot of incentive to finish them; these optionally available missions ought to add flavour to the story, however most of the time, they’re painfully boring. We would additionally prefer to have seen a extra interconnected world, reasonably than the segmented setup that is current right here – it feels very old-school, and never in a great way. Lastly, the shortage of English voice appearing may very well be a damaging to some gamers – though we’re conscious that probably the most hardcore of hardcore JPRG followers need the unique Japanese voice tracks and nothing else.
General then, this newest Atelier journey is the strongest entry within the collection up to now and one which fortunately continues the regular march right into a extra mainstream kind for the franchise that was first signalled in Ryza’s 2019 outing. It’s all nonetheless fairly quaint in comparison with different trendy JRPG efforts; there’s no free-roaming open world right here and the story continues to be fairly small scale – extra curious about friendships and private studying and development than some world-ending evil on the horizon – but it surely’s undoubtedly probably the most playable and fully-formed Atelier sport that Gust has launched to this point. Should you’re searching for a light-hearted and stress-free JRPG journey with some slick and strategic fight, addictive alchemy and enjoyable dungeon-crawling motion, this one comes extremely really useful.
Atelier Ryza 2: Misplaced Legends and the Secret Fairy takes all the pieces good about Gust’s 2019 Atelier journey and additional refines it, leading to one of the best entry within the long-running franchise up to now. This may occasionally nonetheless be a comparatively small-scale, old style JRPG expertise, but it surely’s one which’s stuffed with coronary heart, nice characters, slick fight and a few wonderful new ruin-based dungeons. Anybody searching for a relaxed and enchanting JRPG to sink their time into ought to positively test this one out.