I had a chance to play the opening areas of Atelier Ryza 3, and for someone’s first interaction with the franchise, I came away impressed with the complexity it offers in its premise, with a fairly likable cast of characters. In my Atelier Ryza 3 preview, I’ll talk about the first hour or so of the upcoming JRPG alchemy-infused adventure.
Story and Characters
This is Ryza’s final “summer adventure”, and to get an idea of how she ended up here, I watched a pretty well-made recap available in the menu. I think I got a pretty good gist of previous games’ events, and while there are recurring characters in this one, I think most players won’t have much trouble with the story here as newcomers.
Ryza is a likable protagonist and often oblivious to the serious situations she finds herself in. I liked how most of her thoughts are tied to alchemy somehow, and she’s always on the lookout to create something new for her people. The side characters are pretty “anime”, which is to be expected, but everyone has their ambitions and roles, with their unique personalities, without feeling too tropey in execution.
The dialogue is often cheerful, and even in tense situations, Ryza manages to lighten the mood, inspiring her teammates.
World and Exploration
The world of Atelier Ryza 3 isn’t exactly an open world, but you have multiple larger islands that you can explore. You can easily travel between these using a boat, and there are barely any load times. Given how most of the gameplay is built around Ryza’s alchemical prowess, the world is full of ingredients you can pick and later use for synthesizing. There’s no long animation of her picking things up, which makes this task fun. Some objects must be broken down first to be picked up. You’ll need specific items for that, like an axe to chop up logs.
There’s a decent visual uplift from the last title, with better animations and texture quality. I like how the art direction is consistent throughout the series, even with these visual improvements. The forests are bright, colorful, and detailed, painting this fantastical land ripe for exploration.
The towns and fields are full of people walking around, engaged in their activities. You can also converse with a lot of these NPCs, and get quests from them. I liked how each area had enough detail packed in but was never large enough to feel empty. I’m curious about what the other islands will look like and if the visual variety is maintained throughout the title.
My only issue with the presentation is the occasional graphical pop-in at times. It’s a bit distracting and something I wasn’t expecting in the PC version. I hope a patch can address this in the final release. Apart from that, there are plenty of graphical options to adjust, and I had excellent performance throughout.
Combat and Synthesis
Atelier Ryza 3 features a similar combat system to the last title, and you’ll have to make quick decisions as you battle groups of enemies. You and your party must build up AP through basic attacks and use different powerful abilities to finish foes off. It’s not turn-based, but you’re free to switch between party members. You can change their stance and plan ahead by customizing their equipment. The combat does take a bit to get used to, but after understanding how blocking and perfect guards work, I didn’t have much trouble with most enemies that showed up.
Combat isn’t a big part at the beginning, and I think the more interesting aspect is the actual “synthesis” mechanics. Every recipe you find requires specific materials that can vary in quality to create something new, basically alchemy. Don’t be put off by this complex screen because navigating it isn’t difficult.
You fill in the slots of required materials and choose the quantity. Depending on the quality of your gathered materials, you can select different traits and see how useful the final product is. If this sounds too complex, you can always use the “auto-add” materials option. This goes through your inventory to automatically add the materials based on High or Low quality preference. This is helpful if you’re in a hurry, but I had a lot of fun mixing things to create new items.
These items extend to more than consumables because Ryza can practically craft anything this way as long as you have the recipe, including weapons, tools, armor, and more.
Atelier Ryza 3 is an engaging adventure with a likable cast and rewarding gameplay systems. The world is bright, colorful, and full of life, with ingredients to collect at every corner. I’m looking forward to how the story unfolds, and so far, the experience has been quite accessible for a newcomer. I enjoyed the fast-paced combat, the synthesis, and how most of your world interaction is tied to alchemy somehow.
Atelier Ryza 3 is coming to PC, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch on March 24, 2023.
What did you think of our Atelier Ryza 3 preview? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This preview is based on the PC version of Atelier Ryza 3. The key was provided by KOEI TECMO.