I have mentioned the Atelier games in no less than two lists of my favourite JRPGs on any given console recently, so it is with absolute delight that I was asked to review the sequel to 2019’s Atelier Ryza with Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy for the PlayStation 5!
For the uninitiated of you out there who haven’t played an Atelier game before, you play as the titular Ryza, an alchemist, which is the core driving force for these games. There is a battling system which is very reminiscent of the classic JRPG styles of Final Fantasy 7 and 8 using turn based “ATB” style combat where time doesn’t stop even when selecting the moves or items you want to use- I really liked this as it forces you to make snap decisions in battle and as I say, brings back many fond memories of Final Fantasies 7 and 8.
Between battles and adventuring in caves and dungeons you will spend a lot of time gathering materials to synthesise in your cauldron to perform ALCHEMY! Alchemy is a massive part of the series, which is really interesting and my favourite thing about the atelier series by far.
Gathering materials for Ryza to perform alchemy has its own levelling system as well, performing more gathering levels up this skill so that you gain more items per gather etc. On top of this you have a fully fleshed out Alchemy Skill tree which allows you to access more alchemy recipes the more use it.
Alchemy is, again, the most fun part of this game and it is overwhelmingly fun to see Ryza improve her alchemy skills to make new things. These items can range from being incredibly useful when crawling the games plethora of ca dungeons to simply being items you make expensive to gain money and buy equipment or new items with, but it’s not just picking stuff up off the floor that gathers items, beating enemies drops them too and as you’d expect: The tougher the enemy the better the reward!
Gameplay aside I have always been a big fan of the way that Gust designs characters and whilst they have mostly been thirst traps bordering on Hentai in previous years, the Atelier series has always shied away from that in favour of designs that are a little easier for me to justify to my wife. With this in mind I LOVE the character design and personalities of every single character I came across with Ryza herself being insanely adorable and she easily became my new waifu, I am also a huge fan of grown up Tao and think he has become a little badass without losing any of his adorable personality that made him such a sweetheart in the first title.
Also, I love FI. She is so cute and that’s all I will say on the matter.
One thing I have always liked about the Atelier Series is that the story is a lot more grounded than the world ending calamities we have come to expect from the genre. The Story of Ryza 2 is quite simple really: a client brings you a mysterious rock and asks you to take a look into why its glowing and shining, the “rock” then hatches and out pops a little fairy called Fi and thus the adventure begins!
Ryza 2 is also focused on a capital city as opposed to her home village on Kurken Island and it was a delight to see a lot more of this fantastic world and watch Ryza and her friends adjust to big city life.
Atelier Ryza 2 is very character driven, spending lots of time investing in characters and their relationships, As I say Ryza isn’t going to save the whole world in her quest but the grounding of this works really well and is what I love about the atelier series as a whole.
The music is really calming, the bouncy tones really set the scene and helped to make this game such a relaxing comfort food of a title, since playing the sequel I have been constantly listening to the first games OST while I work because it just fills me with so much joy.
It is a very slow burn of a JRPG so if you are looking for something that’s going to ramp up from the get go and never let up then I would suggest you look elsewhere, however if you are looking for a game that is incredibly relaxing and will help you unwind after a hard day at work; then I can EASILY recommend adding Atelier Ryza 2 to the list of games you absolutely must play!
With all this in mind, Atelier Ryza 2 has been a very satisfying game to play and when I went to put “1 more hour” into the game on Friday, it quickly turned into 7 hours of gameplay and I didn’t want to stop! All the alchemy, the item collection and the dungeon crawling has been perfected in Atelier Ryza 2 and I can easily sit here and give this game:
I love it so much and it has been the most relaxing video game experience I have had in years. I appreciate it’s not for everyone but if you are a fan of Anime or JRPGs then there is loads to love here.