Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is the last installment in the fan-favorite Atelier Ryza series in the flagship Atelier series and one that concludes our favorite heroine’s story in an emotional way. While not perfect, the game offers players a variety of new and familiar elements.
The Beginning of the End
Atelier Ryza 3 takes place a year after the last game in Ryza’s hometown of Kurken, where she’s revered as both a hero and a highly capable alchemist due to her past actions, heroic deeds, and now valuable experience. However, while performing her duties as the local alchemist of the island, her peaceful life is unexpectedly disrupted by the appearance of new mysterious surrounding islands, along with a mysterious voice in Ryza’s head that tells her to craft an equally mysterious key for a far-off location. Ryza, who is determined to get to the bottom to what’s going on, calls in her friends to help. Some are new, while others have returned.
The first few hours in Atelier Ryza 3, especially for returning players, are filled with nostalgia. These segments focus on recalling Ryza’s prior adventures with returning characters such as Tao, Lent, and Klaudia via flashback sequences in the middle of missions. After these scenes, the story then shifts focus to the main event and introduces all new characters leading to a massive 11 playable character cast, all with their own stories, which I won’t spoil. While the game’s narrative admittedly takes some time to get going, when it does, the story being told is highly engaging and heartwarming.
Gameplay & Combat
As for gameplay, Atelier Ryza 3’s combat system is detailed, fast-paced, and enjoyable. The game combines real-time and turn-based combat. The player must wait for the action bar to fill up before they can perform any basic attacks. You will receive Ability Points that can be used for special magic and physical skills. Using skills also gives you Core Charge points, which is needed to use consumables and combat items in battle. You can see that the combat system has a lot of details, particularly when you include new and old features such as debuffs and buffs. However, while a newcomer may take some time to figure it all out, returning players won’t find much new to learn. The only issue I had was that the pace of combat is often disrupted by players waiting to attack at crucial moments. This happens even more when multiple party members are stunned, and the bar resets.
Outside combat, players will also spend significant time with the series’ signature alchemy “synthesis” crafting system. The system is mostly unchanged. The materials collected can be used to create different tools, each with their own traits, stats and qualities. The best materials and stats will give you unique bonuses. Tools can also be used to collect advanced items to create more advanced weapons and tools. The new ‘Secret Key’ mechanic is the latest addition to this system. Players can create secret keys to be used both in combat and outside combat. This will enhance the synthesis of crafting. Returning players won’t have any issues with the synthesis mechanics, as 90% of it is the same. It may take new players longer to grasp the concept.
New Gameplay Features
For me, the most exciting aspect of the game was exploring the many new locations, with old and modern traversal methods. These included zip lines and new mounts like dolphins in oceans. These new options allow players to explore the many new, lush, vibrant, detailed, and large locations that the game offers.
Players can encounter a variety of sub-quotes while exploring. Most will task the player with exploring surrounding areas to gather materials or fight enemies for NPCs, while “random quests” are more time sensitive and are usually quicker to do than the average side quests. These quests are not offensive, but they can be repetitive and predictable.
Atelier Ryza 3, despite being a little less detailed on Switch, has a very aesthetic art direction and crisp, clear animations. Both docked and undocked, the game runs smoothly. The game’s performance is noticeably slow during cutscenes. The character movements are all very slow and the transitions seem to be delayed. The pacing was a bit off-putting for someone who loves speed. But I quickly got used to it.
Overall, despite some issues, Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key provides a great experience that wraps up the series and end things with an emotional bang that will leave longtime fans satisfied.
Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key
- The Great Story
- Great combat system
- Story and cutscenes with slow pace
- Complex mechanics
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