Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key Review – Unveiling the Hidden Mystery
The Atelier Ryza series has become one of the most significant successes in the franchise, which is why we now see Atelier Ryza 3. These games have achieved remarkable success not only due to their popularity but also their quality. Each installment offers some of the most enjoyable moments in a JRPG, featuring a blend of alchemy, real-time battles, and a dynamic cast of characters. Although the storylines may not be the series’ strongest suit, the wealth of content creates memorable experiences.
Atelier Ryza 3 continues the story of Reisalin “Ryza” Stout and her friends as they explore the mysterious appearance of islands around the world. As the title suggests, this installment revolves around a set of secret keys synthesized by Ryza. This game also represents the final chapter of the “Summer” trilogy. The sequel builds on the iterative improvements seen in previous games, refining gameplay mechanics, combat, and exploration. Ryza’s personality matures alongside the gameplay systems, which is evident in the story. If you have enjoyed Atelier Ryza games thus far, this installment will undoubtedly delight you with its numerous enhancements.
Alchemy remains a primary focus in this sequel, accompanied by a revamped exploration system. Players have complete freedom to explore their surroundings, with a vast world map divided into distinct segments. Fast travel is available from the beginning, enabling easy navigation between different points on the map once fast travel locations are unlocked. This feature eliminates the hassle of backtracking during quests, as the environment is now considerably larger. Ryza can jump and swim, offering extensive areas for players to discover. She can also use mounts and magical items to traverse the world at an accelerated pace.
The gameplay mechanics have been refined, and the combat is perfectly tuned to the new systems. Although the game remains real-time, players can execute a combination of attacks rapidly and chain them to perform combos against enemies. Special attacks complement normal attacks, increasing the potential for more combos. Players can also switch between characters, ensuring they are not limited to Ryza. A significant new addition is an ability to use a magical key, leading to powerful effects in combat. Keys also serve as a progression tool, enabling Ryza to create them from enemies to remove barriers. Nonetheless, this new feature may introduce unnecessary complexity to the combat, potentially detracting from the experience for some players.
The developers have recognized the importance of collectibles and streamlined the process of obtaining items visible on the screen. While not all items can be collected immediately, some require tools like Ryza’s trusty stick, axe, or hammer, which can be enhanced through alchemy. This feature allows players to revisit areas and gather new items to advance their alchemy skills. The alchemy system has been revamped to be more beginner-friendly, offering shortcuts to simplify processes for players. Players can press a button to create an item using either the highest or lowest-quality materials. Manual crafting is also available, ensuring a plethora of options for players.
Despite the numerous positive aspects of Atelier Ryza 3, the game does have some drawbacks. The pacing feels somewhat off, and while the vast world offers extensive exploration opportunities, much of the content seems like filler. Sidequests often consist of mundane fetch quests that are best completed using fast travel. The narrative suffers due to the expansive world, as it takes longer to traverse. Character development, typically a strength of these games, appears to have taken a step back in Ryza 3. In earlier installments, the stories felt more personal, making it easier to empathize with the characters. However, as the stakes have become grander, this connection has diminished. Nonetheless, Atelier Ryza 3 strikes a perfect balance between new and returning characters, including some surprise cameos for dedicated franchise fans.
Technically, the game is decent, thanks to its art style, but the graphics do show limitations even on the PS5. Shadows can shimmer, and character models, except for the main cast, appear less polished. Additionally, there is noticeable aliasing in daylight, leading to shimmering around the edges. However, the load times are impressive, particularly when using the fast travel option. The graphics may not be a significant leap from earlier Ryza games, but this was not a crucial aspect in the first place.
In conclusion, Atelier Ryza 3 stands out as one of the best games in the franchise. It boasts far more positive aspects than negative ones. Although the visuals may not be dazzling, the gameplay improvements are welcome, and those who enjoy engaging in alchemy will feel right at home with this installment. The combat system remains fresh and dynamic, providing a deeper level of immersion. Overall, Atelier Ryza 3 successfully builds upon its predecessors and offers a highly enjoyable experience for both newcomers and long-time fans of the series.
Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key Game Information
- Price: $59.99
- Publisher: Koei Tecmo
- Developer: Gust
- Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher