Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is Gust and Koei Tecmo’s upcoming game for the Atelier franchise. Atelier Ryza 3 marks the third and last game in the Ryza series and launches for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC on 23rd March 2023.
Ryza 3 tells the story of a mysterious island that had suddenly appeared not far away from Kurken Island, the hometown of Ryza, the main heroine. While Ryza was in her process of alchemy synthesizing, she unintentionally created a certain key. A mysterious voice then appears in Ryza’s mind, seemingly luring her to a certain place. With the key in her hand. Ryza’s third summer adventure is about to begin.
If you’re familiar with the Ryza series, you’ll notice that both the combat and synthesis system are quite complicated. But in Ryza 3, the game lets players play in a complicated or easy way. Let me explain.
The game uses a fast pace turn-based combat where you’ll have three main characters in the front row fighting off the mobs, two switchable back row characters, and lastly the reserved characters. Players can switch and only control one front row character at a time, using normal attacks to accumulate AP, which can be consumed to cast skills.
During combat, the other two non-controlled characters will fight on their own, and players can switch between Supportive and Aggressive mode to decide whether your teammates will consume AP to cast skills, because AP is shared between all front row characters. In Supportive mode, you can decide the usage of AP for each character, while in Aggressive mode your front tow characters will automatically consume AP to cast skills.
Additionally, your other teammates will request for either physical or magical attacks depending on which character you’re using, this is called Action Orders. Meeting their requirements will allow them to release powerful skills and players will also need to use skills to accumulate CC points to use items.
Completing Action Orders will rack up Order Counts, which lets you activate Order Drive. Activating Order Drive allows your character to perform powerful skills, and this even applies for characters who don’t participate in combat. Combat would usually look like this: performing basic attacks to accumulate AP to cast skills and complete Action Orders; where you can at least get a chain of 3-6 attacks.
However, if you’re not a big fan of the combat, that’s fine too. You can choose to ignore combat and focus on exploring, gathering materials while completing the story quests. Monsters in the overworld will chase you down, but they’ll lose aggro after a certain distance. Bear in mind that monsters are more aggressive at night, so it’s advisable to explore during the day if you want to avoid combat.
For those who are unfamiliar, the Synthesis System is this game’s process of alchemy. As long as Ryza learnt the recipe and has the material she needs, she’ll be able to create any item. Items that can be created using the Synthesis System include all aspects of combat and exploration. Weapons, equipment, combat items, tools for gathering, etc. You name it, she can make it.
Materials required for the Synthesis System are divided into two types: Essential and Enchanted. As long as there’s essential materials available, items can be made. While enchanting materials can increase the quality or effect of your items to the next level. If your material is in a higher quality, you can transfer its trait to the item you want to make, thus increasing the effectiveness.
There are tons of different values and effects of materials may create items in so many different states that two identical items might not be the same. Players can take their time to explore the world and find materials that they want and create the items that best fit their playstyle.
After each Synthesis, players will get SP along with the item that was made. SP is used to upgrade the skill tree, which allows players to learn more recipes, improve efficiency of gathering, the quality of gathered items, etc. The SP you gain through Synthesis isn’t a lot, so players can opt to complete quests to get higher SP.
The World map in Ryza 3 is divided into four regions, where the area within the region doesn’t need any loading process to cross over. Players have a variety of ways to travel around places, from sprinting, swimming, zip lines, and even riding mounts.
Players can now gather material while travelling the lands without needing to stop, aside from needing to change tools because different types of materials will need different tools. An interesting thing to note is that you can get more than one material from one source. An example being when using a staff on a tree you get you fruits, but using an axe on the same tree you get you logs. Even when the materials are from the same tree, they’ll have different stats, which is important for Synthesis when making different stat items.
Riding a mount around will limit the way of gathering material where some will require you unmount before you can gather, which can make things inconvenient. Aside from that, you don’t have to worry about a stamina system or taking any fall damage (Looking at you, Genshin Impact), which makes exploration very liberating.
There are also different types of quests where you can find throughout your journey in Ryza 3. There’s the Random Quests that are time-limited and appear randomly, there’s Normal Quests where the name suggests; and the World Quests that focuses on one specific region that lets you know more about the culture of the place. All these quest will reward you SP upon completion, which is important in upgrading your skill tree fast.
The key is a key item that is essential in Ryza 3, not just for plot purposes, but also be integrated into three main aspects of combat, exploration, and synthesis. The addition of the key isn’t considered as a completely new and independent system, but instead based on those three aspects of the game system and acts a support. As an example, the key in combat is considered a buff where using different keys will result in different attack effects.
When it comes to exploration and material gathering, different keys may can provide varying adventure effects. Some keys can also unlock small areas or Supply points that are scattered around the world to get more material.
As with Synthesis, it works the same as with exploration and combat where it increases the stat, opening more possibilities to create a more unique and high quality item.
You can get a key by using the original key to create a key in each landmark. Using landmarks to create keys may consume the energy of the area, but it will refill back as time passes.
All in all, Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is an accessible game for all kinds of players. There may be some players who just want to play the game just for the character design and story, but are turned off by the game’s seemingly complex system. So, even if you’re completely new to the Ryza 3, the game is designed to make sure that there’s no barriers to stop you from enjoying the game. There’s even a Prologue Movie that you can watch that sums up everything that happens in the first two games.
The game also offers extensive customisation in terms of items that players can make to fit in their playstyle, since materials in the game are varied and can be created in so many possibilities. Slap that with the keys and the possibilities are endless.
My main gripe with the Atelier Ryza 3 are the vague quest descriptions. I often find myself scratching my head trying to figure what the quest entails and wish it would be more specific. An example, I once followed the main quest to find a specific material, but the game didn’t tell me that I needed to defeat specific monsters that dropped the material I was looking for, resulting in extra time being spent not looking at Toridamono’s glorious character designs.
|The game has a lot of (t)highs
|Vague quest descriptions
|Accessible to both new and hardcore players
|Navigation aren't as clear
|Customisation is limitless
Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key was review on PC via Steam.