Overall - 80%
While Atelier Ryza 2 won't set your world on fire, it does serve as comfort food for JRPG fans looking for a fix. However, those who aren't fans of the genre should stay far, far away.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy is Ryza’s second jump into the gaming scene. Does she deserve a sequel, or was the first game enough? Check out this review and find out.
Atelier Ryza 2 Review
Atelier Ryza 2 starts with a brief recap of the first game before getting into things. Not long after, Ryza receives a mission to go to the Royal Capital to learn what she can about a mysterious egg. When you arrive, you start running into characters from the last game that show you around. Tao and Bos are from your home town, and they help you get acquainted with the city. After showing you around, Tao brings you to some local ruins that you investigate with him.
When you get to the end of the ruins, you see a mysterious spirit that Tao can’t see. The egg seems to have some connection with the island ruins, and it eventually hatches into a mysterious flying creature they call Fi. Having no idea what this creature is, Ryza decides to check out all the island ruins. Before you can do that, however, you need a place to stay and a spot to do alchemy. One of the nobles in town offers you a room free of charge if you help out the town’s citizens. With a free room, an alchemy pot, and ruins to explore, Ryza sets out on a new adventure with old and new friends alike.
Atelier Ryza 2 has two main focuses: dungeon crawling and alchemy. Both of these feed into each other to create a system that works well. You go into a dungeon, gather materials, fight enemies, and gather treasure. You then come back home and use those materials to create new items to aid you in combat, help you access new areas, or complete quests. The further you get into the ruins, the more alchemy recipes you unlock. The only thing that slows you down is your limited inventory space.
While in dungeons, you will run into enemies you must fight. Atelier Ryza 2 sticks to a turn-based combat style. To be honest, it is really easy and you likely won’t die until well past the first half of the game. You use your basic attacks or magic to get more item points. When you have enough item points, you can use your alchemy items to do damage or heal. The longer you fight, the stronger your magic attacks become. If you do the right attacks – for example, lightning damage – your other allies will jump in to do damage or buff the team. There is some complexity to it, but I never felt that I needed to go deep into all the systems.
The reason why combat is so easy is the Alchemy. You make everything you use in battle; weapons, armor, charms, bombs, healing items, you name it. If you focus enough effort and materials into a bomb, it suddenly hits every enemy and more often than not kills them. If you put enough critical on a weapon, you do critical damage almost every swing. Maybe an enemy is giving you a little trouble, so you pop on an HP regen charm that you crafted. When I say the combat is trivial, it’s only that way because I made it that way. If you focus on Alchemy, you will quickly outpace the game’s challenges.
That said, the act of making items through Alchemy was a little odd at first. You have to combine certain items that will eventually create a new item. That part is easy. It is the additional effects, traits, and quality that threw me for a loop. By putting more items in than you require, you create the same item but amplify it dramatically. At first, you can only put in about six materials at a time, but that amount easily doubles as you progress. After fiddling around with it for about an hour, I figured out most of it and could easily craft things I wanted. When all was said and done, the Alchemy became my favorite part of the game.
There is one thing you have to do in the ruins that quickly proves to be a nuisance. There are these glowing spirits that you have to investigate to learn more about the past, but you can rarely get all of these spirits in one go. The development team likely did this to force players through dungeons multiple times to pad out the game. After you get all the spirits, you then have to find the right words and combine them into this puzzle thing that helps you figure out the past. Sounds confusing and tedious, right? It is, and it hindered the game in my eyes.
There are also side quests and activities to do in Atelier Ryza 2. Most of these have you collecting items or crafting items to bring to people. Sometimes you get a quest from a main character like Tao or Bos, which goes into a little more depth. At the end of the day, though, they are mostly crafting quests. You build up some rep, which gives you access to new items or lower prices at shops. There is also this big blue Puni (slime) that you can feed. After you feed it, it leaves and comes back with items for you. Sometimes it changes color as well, but I didn’t spend much time messing with it.
I didn’t run into any bugs, frame drops, or crashes. It is definitely a budget game, and it shows, but I still had fun with it. There is no English dub; just English subtitles.
While Atelier Ryza 2 won’t set your world on fire, it does serve as comfort food for JRPG fans looking for a fix. However, those who aren’t fans of the genre should stay far, far away.
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