Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure RPG
Developer: Gust
Publisher: KOEI TECMO AMERICA
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4
Tested on: PS4, Switch

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy – Review

Site Score
7.8
Good: Cute visuals, New mechanics, Overall solid gameplay
Bad: Lots of small graphical glitches and rough edges
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

There’s no denying that the Atelier franchise is a very active one. Over the last four years, we have reviewed eight different titles or collections in the series, some brand new, others remastered and rereleased. There’s one thing that is quite certain, while these games often had some ‘dated’ visuals, the gameplay was solid, the story very enjoyable, and the voice-acting very ‘kawaii’. While mentioned that the visuals were often somewhat dated, the character models were always cute, and were a welcome change in the J-RPG scene with skimpy-clad busty ladies being the standard. Sure, the Atelier ladies also have some generous proportions from time to time, it still feels like a subgenre in the J-RPG genre itself. This time, we revisit Ryza, who is dying to go on a new adventure. If you wish to read our review of the first game, click here.

Story

Overall the story is all about the titular Ryza, who had undergone a huge adventure in the first game three years ago. She still finds herself in the somewhat backwater Kurken Island, and is now a very respected figure. She soon finds herself having to go to the capital, in order to embark on a new adventure. It’s basically a new mystery to solve, where old characters are reintroduced and new ones join the roster.

Generally, the Atelier games have a slow start, as they will throw a lot of tutorials in your face. While you are still playing bits and bobs during those tutorials, Atelier Ryza 2 feels very slow in comparison. In the other titles, you are doing some basic alchemy tasks right off the bat, here you will have to start your trek to the big city, and more than often you can only take a few steps before the next cutscene starts playing. Luckily, things change and you get some more play-time in-between cutscenes after a short period.

Graphics

With Atelier Lulua we were somewhat dropped in the ‘next-generation’ when it came to the graphical prowess of the games. The character models were heavily updated and the overall quality improved. This is also very true for Atelier Ryza 2, albeit the empty overworld remains and some awkward movements seem to be a staple for the series. Even so, this is a pretty game, thanks to its colorful aesthetics and its cute characters. This is more or less the equivalent of Disney for J-RPGs, as it’s very accessible for all ages.

There are a few lazy bits on the designers’ behalf though. You’ll run through generic NPCs in the cities as if they’re ghosts, you seem to glide over the floor rather than actually have solid footing, there are some clipping issues and you’ll run into a lot of invisible walls.

Sound

As always, the sound design is quite nice in the Atelier games. You have an upbeat, yet adventurous soundtrack to enjoy while exploring the world around you. While the sound effects are standard fare for the genre, the voice acting is very nicely handled. Playing with the original Japanese audio, everything will feel very natural, even though the dialogues have a bit of overacting now and then.

Gameplay

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is a fairly traditional J-RPG that is quite similar to the other Atelier games. The game will let you explore a bright and colorful world while fending off (cute) monsters and doing a heavy amount of crafting. The franchise is slowly trying to modernize itself by adding a few small mechanics to this new installment, such as more freedom in terms of movement, mounts you can ride and alterations in its combat mechanics.

As always, you’ll roam around the overworld, triggering cutscenes as you go, to find yourself battling monsters and crafting items. The crafting system may look a bit different than it did with older entries, but it’s still all a matter of gathering materials, combining them while looking at the quality of the ingredients, and rinse and repeat. This is also one of the franchise’s fortes as it is actually quite relaxing to go out and collect materials and then craft new items.

Even though the combat system was already a bit different in the first installment of the Ryza games, it has now changed even more. In combat, you’ll step away from the typical turn-based format of antique games, and you’ll also only control one character at a time. There’s an action bar that shows when it will be your time to strike, but while you choose your attacks or skills, the meter keeps going, allowing other characters and enemies to perform their actions as well. Due to this, you’ll have to pay attention when fighting, otherwise you’ll face defeat many times over.

The second change in combat is the four-man party, and as mentioned, the fact you only control one character. You can still swap freely, but with the action system, it’s convenient that the other party members do their own thing when desired. This can range from them just doing their standard attacks to also using their stronger skills. This system is quite refreshing but it can also become tedious after a while, if you want to be in control at all times. Nonetheless, both this new system as well as traditional turn-based combat formulas are known to get a bit bland and boring as you progress through a game.

Other small changes to this game are the option to climb, swing ropes, swim and even ride animals. While this may be a bit gimmicky, going hand in hand with a lot of clipping issues, it’s actually nice to see the series evolve and try new things. Don’t expect this to be a full-fledged adventure game just yet, but it shows the potential to incorporate new elements in an otherwise ‘rusted’ series of games. Don’t get us wrong, we like the series, but it’s been a while since something original was added to the formula.

Conclusion

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is a great sequel to the original Atelier Ryza. While not changing that much in its base formula, small changes do make the game a bit less superficial in its mechanics. The newer combat system does keep you on your toes a bit more, while the crafting still follows nearly the same blueprint. We hope the next game will still stay a bit longer in the oven though, as the games still have a lot of clipping issues, invisible walls, ghostly NPCs and such. Those sentiments aside, we were thoroughly entertained with this new installment.

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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