Parents' Guide to

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Alchemy adventure franchise wraps up in epic style.

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key box art

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For more than two and a half decades, the Atelier role-playing games have used a mix of magic and science to craft tales of fantasy and adventure with alchemical heroines at their center. The story of one of these heroines comes to a close in Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key. For fans that have followed Ryza since the start, it's great to see how the character has grown over the course of her four in-game years from an impulsive and reckless alchemist wannabe into a strong and courageous teacher capable of leading and inspiring those around her. But latecomers to the series shouldn't feel like they're missing out, since it's not required to have played the previous games to jump into the story here. Besides, the adventure is bigger in size and scope than the others, with four large regions to visit and a wide-open world to explore. Between the main story and slew of side quests, there's always plenty to do. And thanks to a presentation and artistic style that feels like you're living in an actual anime, it's never a dull or boring world to visit.

Previous games in the Atelier Ryza series were fun, but complicated to play. Between queuing up moves, switching out skills, etc., the real-time combat could be overwhelming. For this entry, players are still given a lot of on-the-fly control of their party's actions, but the user interface has been improved to make things a bit more streamlined and easier to understand. The same goes for the game's alchemical synthesis, a core mechanic of the series. The in-game tutorial does a fantastic job of walking players through crafting, and the menus have been tweaked to make it easier to see what materials are needed to fill a recipe. Finally, the addition of the titular Key artifact adds an extra layer to both combat and synthesis. Keys can be used to modify and boost synthesized items, to affect the materials collected while exploring, or even used in combat to alter the battle conditions. It gives players more ways to experiment with their gameplay without being intrusive in any way. Whether you've followed Ryza's tale from the start or are simply looking for something refreshing and different, Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End and the Secret Key is a hidden gem not to be overlooked.

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