This story takes place three years after the events of the previous game “Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout,” and depicts the reunion of Ryza and her friends, who go through new encounters and goodbyes to discover a true priceless treasure.
Atelier Ryza 2 improves on the original in almost every way and, despite a few stumbling points, proves Gust is still one of the best at making something magical out of ordinary things. Atelier Ryza 2 does a lot of things right. But even with the much more engaging combat, better environments, and skill tree reward system, it is, surprisingly, the story and characters that kept me coming back for more.
It's mind-boggling just how much Gust managed to squeeze into Ryza 2 with such a short time budget; the increased scope, both in terms of gameplay mechanics as well as the presentation, is nothing to scoff at. While not all of the changes will necessarily gel with every Atelier player, they clearly build upon the goals that Gust had set for themselves with the first game. It ultimately makes Ryza 2 feel much more like a traditional JRPG than the first game did, which is sure to appeal to more players - and I don't necessarily think that comes at the expense of what made the Atelier series so unique in the first place. There are moments where you can clearly see the limitations of the game's development shine through - such as with recycled assets - but even then, most of the time Gust manages to contextualize things so that you never really feel like the game was made in such a short timeframe.
Longtime fans of the Atelier series will find a lot to love in Atelier Ryza 2. New fans who started with its predecessor also will be pleased to know that the sequel more than lives up to expectations. My initial impressions of the game were quite positive and full of hope, and I’m happy to say that Ryza 2 delivers on nearly every front. A wonderful art style, a touching story, a fantastic combat system, an intuitive alchemy system, a stunningly gorgeous soundtrack, and a bevy of new systems go a long way in making this not only one of the best Atelier games in the series, but one of Gust’s best games.
Much like the original, I found myself having a great time with Ryza 2. As I mentioned back then, if this is the direction the Atelier series is moving in, you can count me in as a fan from this point. While the question remains if Gust will stick with this formula when they eventually move away from titles staring Ryza, I personally hope they continue to revise and refine this model. If Ryza 1 caught my interest, then Ryza 2 definitely has my attention.
Anyone who loves the Atelier Ryza – or the Atelier series in general – is going to love this game. The slight tweaks that the sequel makes to the combat and alchemy improve upon the already solid fast-paced JRPG turn-based combat known to the series without changing what already worked. Combine that with the vast setting and all there is to do in it, and you’ve got a solid recipe for an Atelier title.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy marks the very first direct sequel in Atelier's twenty-three years old history. Bringing back Reisalin Stout makes perfect sense and the game benefits from Reisalin and her cheery cast of compatriots. With a light-hearted story taking you on an adventure in a genuinely great-looking and enjoyable to explore environments, you'll also find yourself pulled in by an enhanced battle system, made even more tactical than before. The constantly returning alchemy is also joined by a system that I'm going to call memory archaeology, helping to develop the new main character as well as the history of the game's world. Either way, this is a very enjoyable outing and one that will no doubt keep Reisalin as a fan-favourite character in what is arguably one of, if not the best game in the Atelier series.
Atelier Ryza 2 has great crafting and combat. But that's because it mostly copies and pastes them from the last game. There's still some new stuff to see and the game is enjoyable regardless, but don't expect them to reinvent the wheel. Mostly, expect the same wheel.
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