Source: Review Copy
Price: £49.99 (digital deluxe £59.99, Season Pass (argh) £36.99)
Where To Get It: Steam
Ah, we’re back to the Atelier series, and so soon! So yes, as a quick refresher, the Atelier series is a JRPG series about cute alchemists doing cute alchemist things, meeting people, getting ingredients, beating up monsters, synthesising new things, and, after a relatively slow burn, saving the world. It’s usually pretty good stuff.
Now, the other thing about the Atelier series is that it changes the formula up somewhat nearly every time. So, while time limits on the overall story still appear to not be here (yay!), the combat system is different from Lydie & Suelle, the alchemy system is different, maps are different… And I like most of these changes. One, in particular, I’m not a huge fan of.
There is a world map with shortcuts. There is a minimap both in the main city portion and the various biomes you encounter. You know what isn’t there? A minimap inside buildings. There is a fast travel menu in the city from the world map, but honestly, that feels a bit backasswards from the way Lydie and Suelle did it. I sorta get it overall, there are people who will have quests for you, so you need to be running through the city to meet them (and, as usual, alchemical ingredients can be found in town), but…
Look, I get lost easily. And, to rub a little salt in, there is… A colourblindness issue with the door type objectives. Specifically, it’s difficult to tell what is a door you need to go through for the objective, and what… Is not. There’s a small difference in shade. That’s it.
Otherwise, though, Atelier Ryza’s second installment has a lot of cool stuff, the grind remains as mellow and, honestly, low key as ever, and the characters remain charming and interesting, from the folks you meet around town (oh, Ryza, why do you keep getting in trouble like this, huh?), to the main characters themselves. It looks damn pretty, the story is a little higher stakes from the beginning (as the ruins information rapidly makes it clear that yes, things are afoot in ye ancient ruins), the soundtrack remains as chill as seems to be the case (until it needs to be otherwise, and it’s alright at that too)…
So, what about them lost legends, huh? Well, that’s one of the more interesting additions. Effectively, you’re piecing together the story of ancient ruins, with the help of a magic mcguffin and deduction, in order to learn more about the situation you’re in, and about the fairy wot hatched from an egg you got given at the beginning of the game. Called Fii. Who goes Fiii!
Shush, they’re extremely cute, I will hear no bad words against them. It’s honestly not a bad system, though, because it encourages exploration of the ruins themselves, and filling in blanks.
Gripes about the map aside, I can’t really think of any critique that would significantly improve the game. What little quality of life it lacks, is easily fixed, and the rest just… Works. It’s a solid game about cute alchemists doing cute alchemist things, befriending many, crafting stuff incessantly for various reasons, whaling on monsters for various reasons, with a relatively chill difficulty curve, and an equally chill lack of pressure. You take it at your own pace, and, so long as you don’t mind a fair bit of repetition in your routine, then yeah, this is a solid JRPG to play.