4.25 out of 5


  • Character designs
  • Transporting
  • Alchemy


  • Cluttered interface of quests
  • Tedious exploring
  • Too many dialogue stops

Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC
Koei Tecmo
Koei Tecmo
Adventure, RPG
File Size (Minimum)
6.4 GB
Release Date (NA)
Jan 26, 2021
Release Date (JP)
Dec 3, 2020

Alchemy is the practice of transforming basic materials into a new item, such as turning copper into gold. Reisalin Stout, also known as Ryza, is one who follows this path, an alchemist. Three years after the events of the original Atelier Ryza, Ryza leaves her home island for the capital to visit one of her childhood friends and adventure partners, Tao. After arriving, she reunites with old friends and makes new ones, all while uncovering the many secrets of ancient ruins with a little help from alchemy. Atelier Ryza 2 is an improvement over its predecessor, and players will spend the majority of their time playing with the game’s alchemy system as they explore the ruins. Just be prepared to deal with a few quirks along the way.

Fight for Another Day

Atelier Ryza 2 - Screenshot

Atelier Ryza 2’s battle system shares some similarities with the original Atelier Ryza, such as controlling one character at a time, issuing commands, and having Tactics Levels. In Ryza 2, the battleground feels more open, even though your team cannot move around freely. However, like in the original Ryza, you can switch between each character easily by a simple button command and then set up simple actions such as support and attacking. That doesn’t mean you can’t forget about them, though. While you can give your team simple assignments, you’ll still need to use healing items to keep their butts alive. Therefore, crafting is one of the top priorities in the beginning of the game. (More on such alchemy later in the review.)

Also, in comparison to the original Ryza, the user interface (UI) in battle has modified the character profile and added a new map interface to detect enemies around you. The interface is cleaner, but keeping an eye on your primary character’s health seems off. Based on sizing, the game believes your party’s Tactics Level (raises combo counts) takes more priority than your health bar. It feels too small and should be adjusted to make it easier on the eye to detect. Similarly, your teammates’ health bar feels more prominent than your active character’s. Overall, though, the UI feels and looks more up-to-date and slicker looking than its predecessor.

Aside from the extra screen info, you can help keep yourself alive by guarding. It’s straightforward and is done with the simple press of a controller button. Plus, the UI will alert you when an attack approaches from outside your view. Of course, you will still need to keep an eye on the enemy in front of you. However, you cannot guard against multiple attacks in a row. Guarding is limited and needs to recharge for a few seconds before you can use it again. Most RPGs require this to be a turn usage, but here, it does not take away your action turn.

On the offensive side of things, each character can perform a set of skills with enough action points (AP). AP can be gained either by you or a teammate attacking. Players can perform combos with skills if enough points are allocated. Think of AP like magic points (MP) in other RPGs. However, you don’t need to worry about replenishing AP, since they reset to zero after every battle.

As you use skills in battle, your team’s Tactic Level increases. The higher the level, the better combos you can perform and the more AP you regain. This creates a way to take out enemies quicker and also helps prevent them from unleashing powerful attacks that could potentially take out your team. Additionally, for each action you make, you’ll earn Core Charge (CC) points. These points let you use items, known as core items, which are alchemy-based items you’ve created. You can equip up to four items per character, and some items use more than one CC point. In battle, you need at least 10 AP to utilize an item, along with your CC points.

If and when you lose a battle, you’re automatically returned to your room at the capital. Unfortunately, as a penalty, some random material items you found on your exploration are taken away. Therefore, you’ll need to explore again to regain those items. An alchemist’s life isn’t easy, except when it is.

Alchemy Feels Like a Cheat Code

Atelier Ryza 2 - Screenshot

A positive spin on item usage is that you will only need to create one of each type and you will have unlimited uses afterward. No need to create a stockpile of healing items. Just create the amount you need to equip your character to use. However, pay attention to the details when you’re making items. Items you create can inherit the effects and traits of the materials you put in. For example, when creating a set of grass beans, its healing properties can also include curing poison, sleep, etc. It all depends on the materials you used and the traits they originally had. Expect to do some serious exploring if you want to acquire high quality materials.

While crafting, you can get specific as to which materials to use for each step in the process. However, this takes some time. To help speed things up, the game offers a shortcut for creating a low or high quality item. This automatically lets the game determine what items to use and gets you out the door faster. The higher the quality of materials you use, the higher the quality of item you’ll get. Keep this in mind when taking on side quests. You’ll have to craft a high enough grade item to be allowed to undertake them.

If you’ve created an item and need to increase the quality, Ryza 2 lets you rebuild the item instead of doing it all again from scratch. This is a shorter process, but it’s only available if you’ve previously manually put together the item (as opposed to the shortcut method). When not rebuilding and you’re making something brand new in the manual step-by-step process, it will inevitably lead to some failures. However, instead of pitching them, you have options. You can give them to your merchant friend to help increase market goods or turn them into gems. Gems can help you craft your items, so make sure not to let things go to waste after your hard work.

Don’t forget about your blacksmith friend in the capital either. You can use alchemy to start creating weapons, armor, and equipable accessories, and he’ll let you add some materials to help boost item stats. However, once you choose your materials to inherit, you can’t adjust them afterward. You’ll have to find new items if you make a mistake.

Unlock Your Alchemy Potential

Atelier Ryza 2 - Screenshot

In Atelier Ryza 2, your alchemy skills are unlocked and learned from a skill tree. Think of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII’s skill grid for learning new techniques. Learning new skills and increasing your alchemy performance requires skill points (SP), which can be earned from battles, exploring, finishing side side quests, seeing story sequences, and completing stories in your exploration diary. Giving players the option to choose what to learn and unlock makes learning alchemy enjoyable. Unfortunately, if you learn a new recipe, you may not have the necessary items, and it could be awhile before you have them. Moreover, many of these skills cannot be unlocked unless you see and complete certain ruins or parts of the game’s story. So get to it!

Exploring Takes Work

Atelier Ryza 2 - Screenshot

Whether you’re travelling through fields, swimming, or dungeon crawling, you’re tasked as an alchemist to find materials for your crafting needs. Defeating enemies can drop rare items and exploring that hidden nook in the forest can be that missing piece you need to continue the story.

There are additional ways to find materials, and with the game’s gathering tools, you can unearth items that aren’t as easy to track down compared to hitting bushes and stones. One example is a spirit beast whistle that lets you ride a monster and can dig at specific glowing spots for materials. Other tools require crafting, such as a fishing rod, but after learning the recipe, it takes time to get the necessary items to make it happen.

Whatever items you wish to use, make sure to equip them before you exit the city. Otherwise, you will have to turn back and waste time doing so. Luckily, transportation is very handy and available early in the game. The only drawback is that it takes away some of your in-game time. There’s no time limit in the game, but some activities only occur during the day.

Dungeons are more tedious, as it takes more than just getting from point A to point B. After exploring the first ruins, you learn that you’ll be doing a lot of backtracking. While uncovering the mystery behind the ruins, you’ll encounter ruin fragments, ruin crystals, and memory vestiges. Memory vestiges are spirit pieces of people who were once connected to the ruins. Finding all these will give you the tools to uncover stories in your exploration diary. When you complete a ruin story, you’ll earn skill points, learn new alchemy recipes, or other useful items.

Frequent Stops and Gos

Atelier Ryza 2 - Screenshot

Unlike in traditional RPGs where you can explore a long stretch and then have a few minutes of story dialogue, Atelier Ryza 2 has stories that happen between your adventures. These occur frequently, which is fine, but skipping them isn’t an option, which is less so. If you need to go back to your alchemy house to start crafting, you may have to wait a few minutes to do what you want to do because you’re often automatically thrust into story dialogue. Are enemies attacking the capital? Is one of your dear friends in serious trouble? No, your farmer friend in the city would just like to have tea with you soon. A mission of vital significance, no doubt. It’s not clear why the game feels that these little things are so important that they can’t wait. If there was an option to proceed with a cutscene instead of immediately forcing you into it, this wouldn’t be as inconvenient. As it is, it’s just a baffling and annoying design decision.

What Do I Do Next?

Atelier Ryza 2 - Screenshot

In Atelier Ryza 2, you can freely do just about anything and in any order you wish. Naturally, you’ll need to complete some things before you can unlock the next part of the story, but aside from that, the world is yours. That means side quests. Outside exploring ruins, you’ll mostly do them in order to earn money, items, etc.

There are a lot of side quests and different categories of them. You’ll have requests from people, bulletin board postings, and side stories. The troublesome part is that all three are not lumped together. Instead, you have to go through the game’s story menu screen to find missions that didn’t get enough explanation. For example, a character named Bos is feeling fatigued and you decide to make some fish oil for him. In the cutscene, the game doesn’t tell you what to make, leaving you pondering what to do until you go to the story menu to find it. Requests and bulletin board jobs are found together in a separate menu screen. These story missions can be easily missed. If it wasn’t for the game’s map screen indicating that something important was happening in a specific area, this could have easily fallen through the cracks.

When completing requests and bulletin board jobs, you’ll earn reputation in the capital. When you earn all three stars for specific groups, such as merchants, you can earn discounts in their shops. For story missions, it helps continue the game’s story, even if they are side characters.

A Beautiful Touch

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy

Toridamono returns with the character designs for the game’s sequel and they haven’t gone down in quality in the slightest. Beautifully drawn and vibrant, Toridamono’s unique style makes Ryza look more stunning but, at the same time, very sexual. Other party members on Ryza’s team have a unique flair as well. The general populace in the capital look too similar, though, especially the males. It’s odd, but but don’t think about the implications of that too much.

The game’s orchestrated soundtrack is charming and lively. While it may not be as memorable compared to Uematsu’s Final Fantasy scores, it’s nonetheless well done and fits the game’s alchemy world.

The game is available on PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. If playing on the PlayStation 5, do know that the game does not utilize the DualSense controller’s capabilities. A missed opportunity to utilize the rainfall effects, similar to Astro’s Playroom.

The Final Piece

Atelier Ryza 2 has most of the right pieces to make a charming RPG, from its characters and story to its gameplay mechanics. Whether you’ve played its predecessor or not, it’s well worth exploring the world of alchemy through Ryza’s eyes.

A PlayStation 5 code was provided for this review by the publisher.

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy - Gameplay Footage (4K 60fps)

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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