As a newcomer to the Atelier franchise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Atelier Ryza 2 aside from the advertised elements of alchemy and exploration. The series has been around since 1997 in Japan, or 2004 for English audiences, but this was my first experience dipping a toe into its waters. What I found was a charming and chill JRPG, though nothing earth-shattering.
Players take on the role of Riesalin “Ryza” Stout, an alchemist from a small island who is called to the capital city of Ashram-am Baird. Three years prior, in the original game, she had a grand adventure with her friends back home on Kurken Island (as the game will repeatedly remind you), and now she’s seeking new knowledge in the big city and catching up with those old companions.
I was struck early on by the light and breezy feel of the game. With Ryza visiting a new city and reuniting with old friends, exploring new environments and honing her skills, it felt somewhat like a summer vacation in the first few hours. This is enhanced by bright, idyllic environments and a surprisingly vibrant score. The battle music, in particular, was invigorating. The Switch version isn’t as bright and shiny as the PlayStation 4 or PC ports, but I think this aesthetic serves the atmosphere better than ultra-polished 4K HD.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Played On: Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: December 3, 2020
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch