Review of Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End and the Secret Key

When Gust first revealed Atelier Ryza, they probably didn’t expect the level of success it would achieve. Many people, including myself, were initially drawn to the character design of Ryza rather than the game itself. However, what surprised me was how excellent the game turned out to be overall. This led me to play Atelier Ryza 2, which was the first time in the series that a protagonist had a sequel. Now, we have the third game, Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End and the Secret Key, which concludes Ryza’s trilogy. Let’s see if Gust can wrap up their unexpected success.

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A year after the events of the second game, strange happenings begin to occur on Kurken Island. A new landmass called the Kark Isles has suddenly appeared, causing occasional earthquakes. Around the same time, Ryza starts hearing a voice urging her to uncover the ultimate truth behind alchemy in this world. She synthesizes a key after receiving a vision of a recipe, which seems crucial to her upcoming adventure.


One thing that surprised me about Atelier Ryza 3 was its vast size. Upon entering the Kark Isles, the game opens up and allows for exploration. Almost the entire world from the first Atelier Ryza game is available to explore, and there are no loading screens between areas, except when fast-traveling or entering buildings. I was amazed by the freedom to explore. Additionally, the game has four different “open zone” regions to explore, each with its own unique world to discover at your own pace.

As I unlocked the second and third regions, I realized I was in for a challenge. Open-ended games like this always draw me in, as I strive to uncover every part of the map. I found myself playing Ryza 3 like Breath of the Wild or Assassin’s Creed, with a desire to reach every landmark and reveal hidden areas. Exploring new regions meant collecting new materials for alchemy and enhancing my items. The addictive gameplay loop kept me engaged throughout the entire adventure.


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Atelier Ryza 3 not only features a larger scope and more open-ended gameplay compared to its predecessors but also places a stronger emphasis on the story. The narrative in Ryza 3 is more compelling, with greater attention given to its characters and the mystery surrounding the Kark Isles. Throughout the game, there are “character quests” that provide more time to spend with the beloved cast. Unlocking new party members unlocks additional character quests, offering enjoyable moments to experience.

However, the focus on story and characters comes at a cost. Some of the localized lines have strange translations, with occasional grammatical errors. It feels as if some lines were poorly edited or directly translated using basic English. Certain lines sound robotic or unnatural, as if they were translated by an AI. Additionally, the text uses an extremely small font, making it challenging to read. If Koei Tecmo plans to only use Japanese dubs for Atelier games in the future, they should prioritize legible text.


Atelier Ryza 3 retains the action turn-based combat system from the previous games, along with the visual changes introduced in Atelier Ryza 2. It also maintains a focus on items, which will please longtime fans who felt that the first game lacked attention to this signature element of the series. Preparing good items before heading out into the field is crucial in Ryza 3, as enemies are formidable.

The game offers a consistent difficulty level as long as you stick to the main story paths and have well-prepared items. However, venturing off the beaten path into higher-level areas poses a higher risk. Like other open-world RPGs, there are enemies that are significantly stronger than your party if you explore too early.


Once you grasp the battle system, it becomes incredibly enjoyable to play. Performing basic attacks grants you AP, which allows you to use powerful skills and increase your “Core Charges”. Core Charges are used for items, with each item having an associated Core Charge. The key to successful battles in Ryza 3 lies in building up these mechanics during each fight, resulting in a satisfying gameplay loop. The game also introduces “secret keys”, which can be obtained from exploring landmarks or defeating enemies. Using these keys provides specific buffs to your party for a duration, adding more strategic depth to item and key utilization.

I played Ryza 3 on the Nintendo Switch, like the previous games in the trilogy. From my experience, Ryza 3 is the best-optimized port of the Atelier Ryza trilogy, with faster loading times despite its open-world design. I can load into the game in about a minute, compared to the previous entries which took a minute just to reach the title screen. However, the Switch version still has some limitations, such as pop-in enemies, lag spikes during intense combat, and odd lighting in certain areas. An update has improved the graphics since its release, but if you have a powerful PC or a PS5, those platforms offer the best experience.


While some may prefer the focused elements of gameplay in Ryza 1 and Ryza 2, I personally enjoyed the open-world exploration in Ryza 3. Bringing back familiar party members, along with new additions like Bos, adds nostalgia to this adventure shared with the beloved cast over the years.

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End and the Secret Key is a satisfying conclusion to the “Secret” trilogy. Gust put a lot of effort into Ryza’s final adventure, resulting in a game that reaches new heights in gameplay and storytelling. It’s uncertain if Gust can replicate or surpass the success of the Ryza trilogy, but the lessons learned from this trilogy could guide the future success of the Atelier franchise. I congratulate Gust on their success with all three games and eagerly anticipate what they have in store next.




Update at 3:04 - 31/07/2023
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