Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key Review
The Atelier series is just as long-lived as, for example, Such of, And he still has his legion of fans. The developers Gust have been bringing us Atelier games with different protagonists but the same playable bases since 1997. In 2020, they introduced us to a new protagonist, Rysa, and she immediately won the hearts of lovers of the genre and the saga. After a first and second installment, it is her turn to the third with Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key.
The game brings changes to the latest adventure of our hipster alchemist, both in the new plot and in the gameplay that fans can love. The added novelties make this JRPG more dynamic while retaining everything fans love the series for.
The story takes place one year after the events of the second game, and our alchemist has returned to her original home, the Kurken Islands, to spend her days helping people with her skills. Later, Rysa and her friends receive the news that some strange islands have emerged from nowhere and a series of natural movements is unleashed.
Added to the above, Rysa has been experiencing a series of headaches and a voice that speaks to her and offers her information in the form of a recipe to create a mysterious key. After arriving at some ruins to investigate the earthquakes, they realize that the situation is more serious than they think and could lead to a disaster on the Kurken Islands.
At the plot level, we can see that Rysa has matured compared to what we saw in previous games. However, it must be said that to better understand Atelier Ryza 3, we must have tried the previous games because there is mention of past events. Luckily, the game has the option to give us a summary of Atelier Ryza 1 and 2 to put us in context.
The game features the usual anime-style series tropes, but above all a lot of emphasis is placed on Rysa’s friendship with her allies. However, the plot has a more serious tone, revealing the maturity of our protagonists.
exploring the islands
One of the novelties of Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is that its world has been expanded to offer better exploration. We now have larger stages, four main areas, which may feel like an open world, but they are not open world per se. First of all, many zones are divided by different paths or passages.
In each zone, we will have different place names ranging from lakes, plains, ruins and many others. We can walk or run, and in some areas we will find animals that will help us explore more quickly. Other actions are climbing and swimming when the environment requires it. The game has a day and night cycle: It starts in the morning, continues at noon, then in the afternoon, and finally at night. This implies that characters and some monsters will change places during the cycle, with the most difficult enemies being at night.
In each scenario, materials and objects will be scattered, which are useful for the alchemy that is a fundamental part of the title. Now, Rysa will collect raw materials more quickly, leaving behind having to stop to collect items. For some reason it feels fluid and fun to run around each area collecting and fighting enemies.
At all times we will have the position marks on the HUD that indicate the distance we have from our objectives. Both on the screen and the HUD itself we will have the indications of the main and secondary objectives, being able to activate or deactivate in the menu if we want to concentrate on something specific.
battles and alchemy
One of the cornerstones of Atelier Ryza 3 is the alchemy or synthesis of objects. The Synthesis It consists of using the cauldron to create potions with different effects, whether healing or combat with levels of effectiveness as we gain experience. In the synthesis menu, key ingredients are added first, then trait ingredients are added to the mix and other materials to enhance the resulting potion. Depending on the ingredients and their quality, the potions we create will have levels of effectiveness. In addition, the option to modify the recipes once you reach a certain level also returns.
In some cases, when synthesizing, we can obtain materials with powerful traits called super traits. These can be transferred to the ingredients during synthesis and the potions will be even more effective. However, super traits can only be transferred from raw materials so usage is tricky. A new skill tree has been added to the system that we must unlock by earning points by creating recipes or Skill Points (SP). With the skill tree we can learn new actions, recipes for alchemy and passive effects. Learning skills requires SP which can be obtained through synthesis or by completing quests.
As for the battles, they are once again in turns with the active time (AP) bar, which implies that in our turn we must attack when it fills up like the enemies. With the basic attacks we will get AP points, which we use for the abilities or magic. While we are waiting, we can defend ourselves, and doing it at the right time will do minimal damage and will grant us AP. Just like the second game, only with a few changes.
The skill chain system returns to connect combos while we have AP points. We start the chain with Basic Hits, then perform one of the skills and continue with character switch attacks. When certain conditions are met in the fight, our allies will be able to continue the chain with Actions Orders, which are colorful attacks that do a lot of damage.
Also, the items created in battle such as bombs and traps can be used to improve our chances of winning. However, we must take into account the number of points called CC Points. Each object requires a certain number of CC Points, they can be used even if it is not our turn, so the battles become more strategic.
Another novelty is the creation of some mysterious keys that will serve us, not only to open doors, but to add passive effects and perform a Boost attack that will not consume our AP bar while it is active. These keys open up new possibilities for combat and we will have to get a good amount for different effects.
Visually, the technical section presents lush landscapes in open areas and anime-style character models. It has very brief loading screens, although they are increased with fast travel to a few seconds. It runs stable at 60FPS on PS5 and puts up with all the graphical trappings of combat.
The soundtrack once again prioritizes environmental themes to liven up the game depending on the situation. The voices are in Japanese with English translations, and it would be time to have USAtranslations to broaden the audience.
Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key It improves some aspects that have been maintained in the Rysa saga, such as the exploration of more open environments and better ways to navigate them. The story is a continuation of the first games so we will have to have played them to understand better. Graphically, it’s a nice game with improvements in resolution and frame rate. It can feel a bit continuous, though with some new options like creating keys.