After about a year, we return to talk to you about a chapter of the now twenty-year series of Gust with the review of Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy
This writer admits to having a big problem. While everyone, and I stress everyone, was anxiously waiting to get their hands on Microsoft’s first totally next-gen exclusive, The Medium, the undersigned was anxiously awaiting yet another chapter of Atelier. Despite the visceral doubt of finding ourselves in front of an excessive “more of the same” compared to the first chapter, especially considering the short time gap, Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy was at the top of the priority list this early February.
The little big disappointment of Fairy Tail last summer has not in the least diminished the trust placed in Gust, a company that has been able to renew a niche brand like that of the Ateliers born almost 25 years ago. We have already talked about Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout, enthusiastically underlining how much we actually liked this turn from the classic Ateliers, while not diminishing the beauty of the adventures of the past. A new path, a new vision and a new way of understanding alchemy, which has come to fruition with this new chapter. Welcome to the Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy review.
Where were we?
We had left our Ryza at the end of an exciting adventure in an attempt to save the world from the terrible Philuschas. Over the next three years, the young woman remained in Kurken, where she continued to study alchemy and began teaching. Lent, Tao, Klaudia and all his companions, on the other hand, left for who knows where in search of a future. Ryza is therefore left alone, despite being still in contact with some of her friends, but it was clear that sooner or later she would fall back into a flurry of adventures, fighting and frantic searches for materials.
One day, Ryza receives a letter from Tao and Bos, which contains fascinating details about the ruins near the capital Ashra-am Baird, which seem akin to those of the Klimt Empire that are located on the island of Kurken. Driven by her tireless curiosity and the scent of adventure, Ryza sets out for the city, aware that she has never set foot outside the house. Before leaving, however, Bos’s father, Moritz, entrusts her with a strange egg, asking her to shed light on the mystery that surrounds it. In a sense, it is obviously important to know the events of the first chapter to fully understand everything that happens on screen. However, it will not be fundamental, as the narration takes a completely different path.
More mature – Atelier Ryza 2 review
Although therefore there are many elements taken from Atelier Ryza, the second chapter deviates from it and matures by a lot some choices made for the prequel and that had left us perplexed. First, we can say that Gust seems to have learned from his mistakes when it comes to storytelling. If the company had in fact decided to turn more on the narrative sector with the rebirth that took place with Ryza, giving him greater wealth of details and events, what happened with Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout is certainly a leap forward, but undermined by a excessive slowness in the early stages of the game. Slowness completely eliminated with this second chapter, which indeed starts in a compelling way and keeps the level of attention high for all the 40 hours of gameplay necessary for completion.
Also interesting is the evolution that Gust wanted to give to the various characters already present in the first chapter. In particular, Tao who, as a weak and also rather annoying link of the first chapter, was able to surprise us in terms of personal growth and rediscovered resolve. New additions to the party, notably Patty, they manage to keep up with the original supporting actors also and above all for the in-depth study that the Character Episodes are able to donate. Each supporting actor, whether part of the team or not, will in fact have his own secondary missions to complete to find out more about their past and their relationship with the game world.
More alchemy – Atelier Ryza 2 review
While it is true that Gust is trying to grow as regards the narrative sector of his works, there is no doubt that the main focus of the Atelier series has always been Alchemy. The crafting system of the objects fully reproduces what we saw a little over a year ago in Atelier Ryza, with some small tricks that we considered very interesting. For example, in Atelier Ryza 2 we no longer have an Alchemist level for Ryza for the first time in the series. Accumulating SP in this case will allow us to unlock specific skills within a fairly extensive Skill Tree, although perhaps we would have preferred a little more.
At the base, of course, remains the collection of raw materials which are then exploited in the same way as in the first chapter. So the Material Loops are back, the nodes in which to insert the various materials of higher quality that we will be able to find along our path. The more Nodes we unlock in the recipe considered and the more we use quality materials, the better the final result will be. The “alternative ways” to follow within the recipes to find new ones are also returning, although in this chapter some will be unlockable only within the Skill Tree. And, of course, the very long and useless tutorials are back, which do nothing but confuse the ideas of the novices and stress the veterans.
More Collection Items – Atelier Ryza 2 Review
A trick that we have not particularly appreciated, however, concerns the objects of collection of materials. As in the previous chapters, Ryza will be able to collect materials at first only with his Staff, subsequently, unlocking them, even with other useful objects. In short, whether it is an Ax, a Fill or a Sickle, to collect all types of resources it was necessary to alternate these types of objects. In Atelier Ryza 2, even if it is practically not specified anywhere, the quality of the object used will affect the type of resources obtained. And if the Bracket increases in quality as you progress within the Skill Tree, raising the level of collection of other items will be quite expensive both in terms of time and materials.
Gust then proceeded to dramatically increase the items usable in Ryza’s adventure. Alongside the fishing rod, there is a long series of novelties, such as the Emeral Band which will allow you, at certain points, to use a rope to cling to anchors and reach raised places. If that’s not enough, Gust has finally added a Mount that you can ride in the various maps and that will allow you to dig for more materials. Verticality has also been included in the exploration: Ryza will in fact be able to climb certain walls and swim underwater, through the use of a certain object.
More combat mechanics – Atelier Ryza 2 review
Another particularly important aspect of the Atelier series is obviously the combat system. Also in Atelier Ryza 2 obviously returns a turn-based combat system marked by a progress bar. Compared to the first chapter Gust has significantly improved the graphical interface, making it less confusing and “cleaner”, in the face, instead, of a greater number of special effects on the screen.
Again, the combat system has remained virtually unchanged from the previous chapter. The basic attacks are then returned with which to accumulate AP to activate the skills of the various fighters, which can be chained by the same character, but also with the Order Skills of teammates. It is always important to increase the tactical level of the team, continuing to attack enemies and spending AP in Skills, so as to be able to increase the maximum level of accumulated AP. In short, everything as before? Well, yes, approx.
Plus everything! – Atelier Ryza 2 review
To have been changed are some game mechanics that surely many will consider secondary, but which instead go to deeply enrich an already solid combat system of its own. For example, the Core Items mechanism has been expanded, ie the one that regulates the use of “consumables” in Atelier Ryza. Each item, whether healing or attack, in fact, in Ryza is not a real consumable that can be used based on the units owned. Once a heal or bomb is used, the item will not disappear, but can be reused based on the number of CCs the character possesses.
If in the first Atelier Ryza everything was very limited, in this second chapter accumulating CC during the battle is easier and, in this way, it is possible to make more use of the objects even in what is called Item Rush. With this option, during a fight we will be able to use multiple objects in a row to get out of the most thorny situations, for example during the fight with a boss. Also added the option to expand our Core Crystal, which can now be modified in different ways, to be able to enter battle with CC ready and with special effects.
The news, of course, does not end there and it would be difficult to think of listing them all in a single review. Just think, however, that Atelier Ryza 2 is in all respects the improved and corrected version of the first chapter, with many elements that enrich an already fun gameplay of his. Now let’s move on to the weakest part of all Gust’s productions for 25 years now: the technical sector.
Always the same sore point – Atelier Ryza 2 review
The main problem with the Atelier series is always the same: more money and a new graphics engine would be needed. However, it must be admitted that the expressiveness of the character models, as well as their details, have significantly improved compared to the first chapter of Atelier Ryza, but we stop here. In all the rest, there remains that feeling of “old” that now permeates all the games of the company. City environments are a continuous repetition of textures that are all the same and, in some situations, even rather ugly. The animations of each individual character are rather woody and old-fashioned, so much so that it always seems to see them running suspended in the air.
The general glance, however, offers spacious, colorful and impactful environments. If you then look at the details, unfortunately, the quality drops vertically. A praise to the uploads which, despite having played on PlayStation 4 Pro, are practically instant when using the world map to move around. The frame rate is also stable, except in the most intense fights, in which it has some slight drops ….