Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key
By David Chapman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Alchemy adventure franchise wraps up in epic style.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game continues on with many themes from the first two games. These include the importance of friendship and teamwork, working together to help those in need. There's also a strong theme of curiosity and exploration, as well as gaining knowledge through practice and the strength that comes with personal growth.
Positive Role Models
Ryza and her friends have continued to mature in many ways since the events of the previous games. Ryza in particular has grown from an immature kid to a teacher and now to a true leader. She has never lost her fascination with knowledge and solving new mysteries. Ryza and her friends have kept their close bonds with each other, standing together and supporting one another through anything life throws at them.
There's a wide range of characters that join Ryza's adventure as friends and party members. There are characters from different regions of the fantasy world, but there's not much noticeable in terms of ethnic diversity. There's a good range of personalities in the group, with a lot of positive representations in both male and female characters.
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Ease of Play
Gameplay mechanics continue to be tweaked from previous entries. In combat, players can switch modes from a more defensive and offensive mode on the fly, while party members outside of battle lend an extra hand in support roles. The alchemy system has been improved as well, making it much easier to craft items.
Violence & Scariness
Players fight against a variety of enemies in fantasy combat using a variety of medieval weapons such as swords and staves, combined with magical spells and abilities. Enemies include human (or human-like) foes, as well as monsters and other creatures. There's no blood or gore, with attacks appearing onscreen as flashy effects and defeated enemies simply disappear from the screen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters are shown in somewhat suggestive ways, with outfits that focus heavily on their busts and rears. These also tend to be highlighted by the game's camera.
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Products & Purchases
The game supports the purchase of additional downloadable content (DLC), including a Season Pass, which will add extra cosmetics and story expansions. This is also the last chapter in the Atelier Ryza franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is a single player fantasy role-playing game available on the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows based PCs. The game is the final chapter in the Atelier Ryza series, taking the titular alchemist on one more grand adventure. The game has a strong focus on friendship and teamwork, with both themes woven tightly into the story and the gameplay. Combat happens frequently, with characters using a mix of weapons and magic against enemies, but with no blood or graphic depictions of violence. Many female characters have (or can be equipped with) outfits that present them in a suggestive manner.
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Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key
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What’s It About?
ATELIER RYZA 3: ALCHEMIST OF THE END & THE SECRET KEY is the final chapter in the Atelier Ryza trilogy, bringing Ryza and her friends together for one last epic adventure. The mystery begins when Ryza, working on her synthesis skills, somehow crafts a strange key-like artifact. At this same time, entire islands begin to inexplicably appear out of thin air near Ryza's home. As Ryza and her friends set out to explore these new lands, they discover a set of ruins with a massive magically sealed door that seemingly leads to nowhere. The door reacts to Ryza's key and a strange voice beckons to her, calling on her to uncover the Code of the Universe. Long thought to be a myth, the Code of the Universe was whispered in legends to be the source of all alchemical knowledge. Could the Code explain the sudden appearance of the island ruins? Does Ryza hold the literal key to ultimate knowledge? Or might something more sinister be locked away, trying to escape? Ryza and her friends are determined to uncover the answers, and maybe save the world one more time in the process.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about franchises and sequels. Do you prefer games that are more of a one and done experience, or stories that develop over time and across multiple games, books, etc.? What are some of the qualities that fans look for in sequels?
What are some ways the role of female characters evolved over the years? What are some examples of positive female representation in games, books, TV, and films?
- Platforms: PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Windows, PlayStation 4
- Pricing structure: Paid ($59.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Koei Tecmo
- Release date: March 23, 2023
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes, Mild Language
- Last updated: March 26, 2023
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