Parents' Guide to

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Magical adventure of friendship and discovering potential.

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For more than twenty years and twenty games, fans from around the globe have been drawn into the magic and fantasy of the epic Atelier role-playing series. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is the series' latest entry, but also marks a new start for the cult-classic franchise. Starting as it does, in a village isolated from the rest of the world, the game's able to start fresh, without having to assume players understand the long history of the prior titles. Newcomers are able to learn about the nuances of alchemy and its importance in this setting from Ryza's perspective, gaining a sense of understanding right alongside her. Meanwhile, characters are engaging enough so that veteran Atelier players still get invested in their stories, even as the familiarity of the world unfolds around them.

Gameplay's also been given a bit of a facelift in Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout. The Synthesis system allows players to use alchemy to create and upgrade various weapons and other items. It's a simplified crafting formula relying on plugging components into a branching recipe, and it gives a certain amount of pride and ownership over items bought or scavenged throughout the adventure. Previously, combat was strictly turn-based, giving players as much time as they wanted to work out their strategy. This time around though, the combat is a hybrid of real-time and turn-based actions. Players still navigate menus and queue up their actions for each turn, but now the clock is always ticking. It creates more tense and complicated battles, especially when trying to adjust your strategy on the fly. Overall, Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is a great introduction to a genuinely magical world, and it's easily the best entry to date in the Atelier series.

Game Details

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