Anime JRPG Review

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy – Review

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is the latest in the ongoing Atelier series, which spans more than thirty titles released under the name. Unlike most of the Atelier titles which are standalone for the most part, this is a direct sequel to the first Atelier Ryza game. 

For those unfamiliar with the Atelier titles in general, it is a JRPG series that focuses on alchemy. You spend your time collecting plants, ores, and other items and combining them to make better items and to progress in the game. That legendary sword? It comes out of your cauldron, not out of a tomb.

Atelier Ryza 2 - Cauldron

Three Years On…

Atelier Ryza 2 takes place three years after the events of the first game. It never quite lets you forget it either. While you can follow along without, I strongly recommend playing the previous game before this, as it frequently references it.

You play the game as Reisalin ‘Ryza’ Stout, who has been living a relatively normal life after the events of the previous game settled down. She’s still practicing alchemy and working outside of that, but there have been no more adventures.

Her childhood friend Tao is now living in the capital. He’s found some reference to alchemy while researching ruins, so he asks Ryza to come and take a look. This is where the story opens – with Ryza’s arrival in the capital.

Arrival in Royal Capital

Along with Tao’s request to look into the ruins, Ryza has been given another request. Moritz Brunnel who was prominent in the first game has a family treasure – an egg-shaped jewel. It’s been sparkling and giving off a light recently. He asks Ryza to take it along and look into it.

In a not particularly unexpected turn of events, these happen to be linked. The jewel is actually an egg that reacts to the ruins and hatches a rather cute ‘beast of light’, which Ryza promptly names ‘Fi’. They also find a compass while exploring that Fi follows the holder of. Between Fi and the compass, they can explore ruins and solve their mysteries.

As the game continues on, a mystery unfolds and things get more serious. You begin to discover more and more about the history of the ruins and the mysterious Fi, but a problem soon becomes apparent. It stops just becoming a task to learn more about history. You discover a serious need to find and explore all of the ruins.

Atelier Ryza 2 - Ruins

Light and Darkness

Atelier games have a reputation for having a rather light tone. While Atelier Ryza 2 isn’t too different, I thought it worth pointing out that this one might tug on your heartstrings a bit. While I don’t want to get into specifics and spoil anything, there’s a sad theme in the latter half of the game that I think a lot of people will emphasize with.

Other than that, you can see characters go through a number of personal struggles and grow in various ways. It might get serious at times and cover relatable topics, but it still remains upbeat for the most part.

Klaudia Reunion

New Friends and Old

As you continue to explore ruins, you start to meet new friends and reunite with old ones. Your friend Tao has taken on a student, a young noblewoman named Patricia who has an obvious crush on him. You meet Clifford, an adventurous treasure hunter. Serri, a quiet lady from another world joins you. These and many of the characters from the old game will turn up. Even the goat from an ongoing side quest in the last game makes an appearance!

As is typical of the Atelier series, there are tons of slice of life scenes for all of the characters in your party and quite a few others too. I felt that these were handled really well, as they slowly became available as I played through the story. They all let you really get to know the new characters and let you see how and why the old characters have changed. Some small quests were involved too. Traveling out to a series of caverns to help Clifford search for treasure, helping Lent rescue some children by defeating monsters in the forest – things like that.

Completing these are its own reward as they’re genuinely good, but they also give you a nice piece of artwork featuring the character when completing their set of quests.

On top of the character quests, they sometimes became involved in other side quests. An aristocrat asks you for help and you find out that Klaudia recommended you. Ryza volunteers to help a child with weeding and Serri helps out. They’ve really interwoven all of the characters, rather than making it just about Ryza.

Ryza in Ruins

Ruin Raider Ryza

While there are quite a variety of quests in the game, the main storyline is mostly about finding and exploring the ruins. This is done through the use of the compass.

They follow a formula – you need to explore the ruins and complete a number of conditions. Defeating a particularly strong enemy, finding an item and things along those lines. These activate the compass in that ruin.

When active, the compass will lead you to memory fragments by shining a light in the right direction. They appear on a minimap too. These memory fragments give you a small bit of information about the history of the ruin.

After you collect the fragments, you can read them in the diary and put them together. There’s a small puzzle where you need to match a fragment with a related clue and it will slot in if it matches. Completing these unlocked recipes to help you progress. They also give you skill points to unlock other alchemy, gathering, and battle improvements. Not only that, but I found that the experience of finding the clues and putting the pieces of the puzzle together really felt like discovering the story.

As a sidenote, Atelier Ryza 2 features a great ‘adults with busy lives’ feature – it has a constantly updated summary of the storylines currently going on with a mention of what you need to do next and a lit-up icon on the minimap where I needed to go next. This often pointed out what I needed to do to get to the next ruin or what my next step inside one was. It was incorrect on a couple of occasions though.


Alchemist Ryza

Alchemy is key for both the story and the gameplay. Through the story, there will be several points where you need to create something to solve a problem or where alchemy is otherwise important.

One thing which did frustrate me a bit at the start – this follows on from the previous game where Ryza becomes a fairly accomplished alchemist. At the start of Atelier Ryza 2 however, it knocks her back down to only being able to create the basics. It gives a rather thin excuse for this near the start.

Moving past that though, I did enjoy the systems for it. For those who played the first game, the systems are very similar but there are what I’d consider improvements. The very notable one is that quality is now added to with each new item included, rather than sometimes going down.

Alchemist Ryza

For those less familiar, alchemy works as a series of loops that you can put items in. Some of these need to be filled to make an item, whereas some are optional for extra bonuses or unlocking new recipes. The loops can be specific about the exact item that is needed or more general like needing some type of flower. Making sure the element of the item matches or the overall quality of the item is high enough may be needed to unlock further loops or gain certain bonuses.

Alchemy in this game is fairly simple if you want a basic item. There’s even an option to automatically fill the loops. It can get very in-depth though. 

My endgame armor consisted of making about ten different items, each using ingredients chosen for their specific traits. Some of these went into creating yet another ingredient. Combined and with a few more steps, these created an armor with incredibly high defense. Before that, I had the same type of armor, but that I created using normal ingredients. It wasn’t anywhere near as strong.

Beyond the alchemy itself, there are several related systems. These include rebuilding created items to be even stronger, evolving items to add traits, created item duplication, changing items into gems, and creating items to affect the elements used in alchemy. You can really tweak things for the perfect item.

Hunter Gatherer

As you travel around the world you will be battling monsters, collecting materials, and completing quests. This can involve running around on land, climbing vines, swimming underwater, and using some other fun ways to get around. Those and a lot of fast-travel.

While doing this, you can find a huge variety of materials that you can collect either as monster drops, by picking them up, or with tools. One thing I particularly liked about this was that many objects you could collect materials from would change what they yielded based on the tool used. As you improve tools, you can unlock different ingredients too.

When you return to your Atelier, you drop off all of your collected ingredients. I did find that I ran out of space in my Atelier as I got to the latter half of the game though. I got rid of lower quality extras using the handy sort tool and then by converting them into gems or donating them for town development (yet another feature!). It did take me too long to get around to it though and I had to be careful – it always seemed that I needed a specific item right after I got rid of it!

By Sword or Item

As with pretty much any JRPG, there are battles. Monsters can be made into valuable materials for alchemy, so if you want that new mythical leather armor, you need to get the material from the source!

Quite a lot of the battles in Atelier Ryza 2 are optional. Monsters appear on the map and you can generally avoid them quite easily if you want to. Of course, this does mean fewer items and experience if you do.

Eventually, you can have four characters in your party – three who are actively in battle and a fourth who you can switch in. Both your own party members and monsters flow along with a gauge and when they reach their turn, they can take action. You can choose the action of your selected character and switch between them as needed. If someone in your party is not selected, they will choose an action automatically. That said, you can set the other party members to be aggressive or act more as supports.

I mostly played as Ryza here. While I generally controlled her and let the other characters do their own thing unless I wanted one of their special abilities, I could’ve constantly switched though and did occasionally. I did enjoy that it could be quite hands-on or kept quite simple. It’s nice to see a flexible system like that.

One feature that I particularly liked was what I’ll call the order system. Unlike a lot of games, you don’t order your teammates about. They order you about! Sometimes during a battle, they tell you to use a certain type of move. Use a magical attack, a physical attack, lower the enemy stats, and so on. If you did these, you would be rewarded by the teammate using a special attack on the enemy and other benefits. The order system is not without its flaws though. It sometimes told me to use magical attacks on enemies who were resistant to magic and things along those lines.

As it’s all about alchemy, items were particularly important too. While in the earlier part of the game I got away with just hitting things with skills until they died, I eventually needed to make powerful attack and healing items to keep up. There were also some special abilities later on that involved using collections of certain types of items to pull off extremely powerful attacks. There were a few nice features like that if you wanted to go more in-depth than hitting things with your weapon and skills. 

I found the combat relatively easy as long as I mostly kept up with creating weapons and armor. This was even without going into optimizing them. At least until a certain point. There was a significant difficulty spike where I was clearing nearby enemies without even thinking about it despite being behind on my equipment upgrades, but a boss easily made me taste defeat. Still, I went away. I made better equipment and items, and then struggled through. Then it was back to easy enemies all around with the occasional minor challenge. In the rare instances that I did die, the game was quite gentle about it. It’s just a case of losing some items.


But Wait! There’s More!

I’ve already mentioned quite a few different systems and this review would probably double in length if I went into everything in-depth. There really is a ton to do in Atelier Ryza 2 though.

I briefly mentioned donating items for shop development before. That lets you upgrade what’s available in the stores. You can earn items to decorate your atelier for both gameplay improvements or just visual ones. Later on, there’s a farm where you can grow ingredients. There’s a pet monster that you can raise and have bring you items. On completing the game, there are even unlockable difficulty modes for New Game+ and an optional boss.

I used some of these features more than others, but I was definitely impressed by the wide variety of them on offer.

Pretty Everything, But…

The world of Atelier Ryza 2 is beautiful and has very varied environments. The character designs are beautiful too and the models are generally high quality. There’s some wonderful artwork in the game too.

With that said, there are a few issues. On character close-ups in particular, it often feels like textures aren’t too detailed. Some lines seem jagged and pixelated. I’ve also noticed things clipping into each other – including a certain two things affected by the jiggle physics. There were also occasions of shadows disappearing and reappearing suddenly.

I played the PlayStation 4 version of this game on a PlayStation 4 Pro initially. Sometimes it felt like the framerate wasn’t smooth when I turned the camera angle around. Luckily my PlayStation 5 happened to come in a couple of days after I started playing this. While there is a PS5 version of the game, I continued to play the PS4 version on PS5. The save can’t be converted between the versions. It seems smoother on the newer system. I can’t comment on the native PS5 version or other platforms.

The background music was beautiful. It really helped to set the scene in most cases. The Japanese voicing was great too, with the voices matching the characters well. Though Klaudia’s voice did get a bit grating at times, as much as I like the character. For completing the game, there’s a nice little bonus from the voice actors to discover.


I really enjoyed Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy. It felt more of a solid adventure story than some other Atelier games but kept the strong focus on the characters and it had plenty of scenes to get to know them. The gameplay is one of the best I’ve experienced in a JRPG too, through the various traversal options, a wide variety of systems, and genuinely fun battles.


Platforms: PC (Steam), Switch, PS4, PS5

If you enjoy JRPGs, perhaps you’d like to take a look at Fairy Tail? Or perhaps you’d like to take a look at the first Atelier Ryza or the remaster of the earlier Atelier Ayesha?

Many thanks goes to Koei Tecmo for a PlayStation 4/5 review code for this title.

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