Atelier Ryza 2 on PC
Koei Tecmo and Gust had a big task ahead of them with Atelier Ryza 2, as the game signifies the first time a protagonist has ever received a direct sequel amidst the franchise’s 23 year existence. Anyone who has played the series long enough knows that if any character deserves to get more time in the spotlight, it is the infectiously peppy alchemist, Ryza.
Atelier Ryza 2 takes place three years after the events of the 2019 release, as Ryza and friends set off on a much larger adventure this time around. Compared to its predecessor, this new setting is huge, full to the brim with exciting places to explore, ranging from sprawling cityscapes to ancient ruins.
Exploring these large landscapes is surprisingly cathartic, as it is easy to find yourself lost in battle or exploration throughout the many idyllic areas that make up the game. The best part about the setting is that there is always something to do.
Whether it is hunting for treasure or resources, grinding monsters to level up, or solving the numerous puzzles spread throughout the ruins, it’s hard to find yourself without something to progress toward in Atelier Ryza 2.
In general, the way progression is handled in this sequel is a step up from the original, especially in regards to leveling and combat. You’ll still use the same timed turn-based system as before, but the way AP (Action Points) is used changes drastically.
Instead of choosing whether to devote Action Points to leveling up or spending them on in-game combat, the game raises your AP via something called Tactics. This method rewards you with more AP for various effective combo attacks and even just attacking to build it up.
Atelier Ryza 2 also implements a lot of quality of life changes that help combat flow better. First and foremost, everything just looks better.
Combat animations are much sleeker, making the fast-paced action and combo-moves feel even more fluid than before. Helpful indicators like type advantages are also spelled out for you, allowing you to deal out the best attacks.
Another small but significant addition is the ability to guard, which can be implemented right as the enemy attacks to prevent significant damage.
Overall, I enjoyed the combat so much that I often found myself going out of my way to fight enemies, no matter how big or small. Combat isn’t the only thing that got a bit of an overhaul in Atelier Ryza 2, as the alchemy system also improved significantly.
The alchemy system is as vast as ever, allowing you to craft several vital items to help you progress throughout Ryza’s journey. This time around, though, the game implements a new skill tree in favor of the last game’s leveling system.
Just like in the last game, this system has an intimidating amount of depth – though veterans are bound to love it. I didn’t mess around with alchemy all too much. Instead, I just used the auto-complete feature, which was a really nice option to have.
I did have some gripes with the game, especially in regards to the insane amount of dialogue. From the outset, Atelier Ryza 2 is exposition-heavy, hammering home the story, setting, and much more via tutorial conversations and texts.
It probably took about 15 or so minutes in before I even took control of Ryza. Sure, you can skip the cutscenes and make the conversations move quicker, but there seemed to be an unnecessary amount of fluff added to interactions.
Despite moments of comedy and charm, side quests also felt padded on and a bit boring. As such, I didn’t have much of an incentive to seek out many quests outside of the main quests or a need for resources and leveling.
That being said, the story and characters that make up the game are encapsulating and likable enough that sorting through the mountains of text and monotonous side quests wasn’t all too much of a chore.
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.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Koei Tecmo and Gust continue to iterate on Ryza’s story even more after Atelier Ryza 2, as there is even more potential for growth and expansion with her tale.
- Cathartic combat and exploration.
- Improvements to AP, Leveling, and Alchemy.
- Likable main characters.
- An unnecessary amount of fluff in dialogue.
- Padded side stories.
January 26, 2021
Koei Tecmo, Gust Co. Ltd.
Koei Tecmo Games, KOEI TECMO AMERICA Corporation
PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows, & Macintosh operating systems