The first Atelier Ryza served as a softer introduction to the Atelier RPG series, boasting some serious eye candy in character design, accessible combat, and light story. A little over a year later, the sequel has already landed on our desks. Read our Atelier Ryza 2 PS5 review to see if this sequel is a worthy successor, or if Ryza was just a one-hit wonder.
Atelier Ryza 2 PS5 Review – Next-Gen, Technically
Atelier Ryza 2 may be a PlayStation 5 game, but it doesn’t really look or feel like it. The world looks nice, if perhaps generic, and things scale to a 4K resolution without problem. Walking around in most areas feels kind of jittery, with a slightly inconsistent frame rate that shows up at random. Thankfully though, combat doesn’t suffer from any stuttering. Overall, Atelier Ryza 2 doesn’t look much different compared to a PS4 game. HDR isn’t implemented, which is a shame because in a world full of such bright colors, some extra pop would’ve been great.
Considering the PS5 didn’t release until about a month before the game’s Japanese release date, it’s understandable that the only real advantage to playing on the newest PlayStation console would be its SSD. Indeed, due to the blazing bandwidth available on the PS5, load times are literally non-existent here. Pressing the touchpad button and choosing a destination results in instantaneous travel, which is so nice it’s hard to go back to older games and have to wait at all.
All main cutscenes are fully voiced, and while most side missions are as well, a few aren’t, which seems like an odd omission. Japanese audio with English subtitles is the default option for the Western release of Atelier Ryza 2, and the translation is well-done with few typos. There was also apparently no censorship applied to this release, though fan service for Ryza and the other characters is likely buried so deep there was little chance of uncovering much in the span of a review playthrough. Speaking of which, expect to sink 25 hours or so to complete the main story, and perhaps double that to see everything the game has to offer. Your mileage may vary, of course, but Atelier Ryza 2 has an average JRPG length to it that many will enjoy.
Atelier Ryza 2 PS5 Review – Alchemy Is the Answer
As with any Atelier game, a major focus is put on alchemy, whereby players craft items using resources collected from fallen enemies, as quest rewards, or just randomly found around the world. While Ryza can collect items on her own by simply walking over, using tools such as wands, scythes, axes, and others helps to collect rarer ingredients, which will result in higher-quality items available for crafting. The crafting system is pretty in-depth, yet a handy automatic mode allows the player to hand over crafting to the console, which results in it looking like the player is a crafting fiend as ingredients are added at a rapid pace.
Of course, leaving crafting up to the computer may not result in ideal or novel combinations, since some recipes are locked until the player comes up with the proper combination. It’s definitely possible to complete the game using mostly automatically-synthesized items – it probably just doesn’t feel as rewarding as crafting a perfect item yourself.
The Atelier is Ryza’s base of operations, and players can synthesize items, upgrade previously created items, and even decorate. Some decorations, such as wallpaper or flooring, can buff party members if certain conditions are met. Some items are purely for decorative purposes, and a certain slime will even make an appearance to help Ryza automatically collect materials while she is out on her adventure. Weapons, equipment, defensive and offensive items, and more can also be equipped here. Thankfully, as mentioned before load times are a thing of the past, so visiting and re-visiting the Atelier is not a problem.
Atelier Ryza 2 PS5 Review – Focused Combat
Combat in Atelier Ryza 2 features a mix of real-time and turn-based mechanics. Time always progresses forward, while characters have a “wait time” gauge that fills up at a speed based on various attributes. Any character in the party who performs a basic attack adds to the player’s Action Points gauge, which can be spent to perform special moves. After some time, other party members will ask the player to perform a particular type of special attack, such as dealing magic or physical damage. If the player executes their request within a certain amount of time, then the character that requested it will perform a follow-up attack, dealing extra damage in the process.
All of these moves add to a tactics level gauge, which dictates what kinds of basic attacks are available to the player, as well as increasing the maximum amount of AP that can be saved up to then use in combos. When enemies attack, timing the block button can result in extra AP being earned as well as a reduction in damage received, though the character’s wait time will not progress for as long as the button is held. A separate CC gauge is also kept, which is spent when crafted items are used mid-battle. Once an item is crafted, it can be used as many times as the player wishes, with the only limit being the CC cost. These elements all add up to produce a satisfying combat system that has a nice flow to it. It also sounds more complicated on paper than it is in execution – no one should have issues adapting to this combat system.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy is an accessible RPG that fans of the series will appreciate. There’s not a huge challenge for much of the adventure, but then Atelier Ryza doesn’t bill itself as being particularly demanding. The tactics mixed in with real-time battling is a good mix, and other quality of life aspects help to move the player along the rather lengthy campaign. Hundreds of side quests flesh out the story for those who wish to be fully engrossed in the world, while those who prefer to stick to the main plot can easily do so. A lack of next-generation features isn’t surprising to see this early on in the PS5’s lifecycle, but at least load times are non-existent here. Atelier Ryza 2 is an easy game to enjoy without thinking too much, and sometimes that’s just what the alchemist ordered.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.000 reviewed on a PS5. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.