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Do we have any fans of the Atelier series of JRPGs on the forum? I'd always been interested in playing them but was put off by the time limits. I'd started hearing that they'd gradually been making the time limits less of an issue in newer games and in the most recent (Atelier Ryza) had removed it completely.

 

So I took a chance and bought Ryza on my Switch and started playing it yesterday. It's lovely. Good characters, a light hearted coming of age plot, interesting but simple combat and an apparently very deep crafting system (The hallmark of a series all about Alchemy). I'm only about 4 hours in but I'm having a good time.

 

 

 

 

The publisher Gust is currently having a sale on Steam.

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I played two of them on the Vita. Gameplay is very enjoyable, and it's a good solid RPG series. Suprisingly demanding too, you can drift your way through the game thinking you are doing ok only for it to tell you at the end you failed miserably. That difficulty does not manifest up front, particularly as the battles are (for the most part) pretty easy. What you need to be doing to pushing yourself forward at as breakneck a speed as possible, unlocking new areas and items. In a way it's worse with the games with no time limit as you only realise what you should have been doing when you get your final grade! I haven't played the more recent ones above though.

It's got the whole creepy sexualisation vibe going too, which is off-putting.

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I mean, it's not the worst out there. There's just always this background anime level pervy-ness. Tied to the fact that the characters are teenage girls (with age bumped from 14 to 17 in the 'translation', now there's a red flag) it's not a game you might find entirely comfortable playing. But it's all Carry On level stuff.

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34 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

I mean, it's not the worst out there. There's just always this background anime level pervy-ness. Tied to the fact that the characters are teenage girls (with age bumped from 14 to 17 in the 'translation', now there's a red flag) it's not a game you might find entirely comfortable playing. But it's all Carry On level stuff.

 

They're still the same age as in the original language version, it's just that time actually progresses during the storyline. Totori's 13 or 14 as her game starts, and 17 by its end iirc. 

 

Meruru was a really good entry, incidentally. Haven't really played them in a while because they release at a rate of about 10 games a month.

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2 hours ago, SozzlyJoe said:

I played two of them on the Vita. Gameplay is very enjoyable, and it's a good solid RPG series. Suprisingly demanding too, you can drift your way through the game thinking you are doing ok only for it to tell you at the end you failed miserably. That difficulty does not manifest up front, particularly as the battles are (for the most part) pretty easy. What you need to be doing to pushing yourself forward at as breakneck a speed as possible, unlocking new areas and items. In a way it's worse with the games with no time limit as you only realise what you should have been doing when you get your final grade! I haven't played the more recent ones above though.

It's got the whole creepy sexualisation vibe going too, which is off-putting.

What happens when you ignore the time limit / grading? Does it affect the gameplay in any meaningful way or is it just a score at the end?

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3 minutes ago, Sane said:

What happens when you ignore the time limit / grading? Does it affect the gameplay in any meaningful way or is it just a score at the end?

 

It depends on the game, but it generally translates into getting the proverbial "bad ending", and/or the game ending without opening up new post-game areas. I think some of the earlier games have a succession of hard deadlines throughout, which would lead to game overs. Rather like the Persona games actually.

 

Thinking back I had a lot of fun with the ones I played, gameplay is solid and aside from the pervyness they are pretty good natured, but totally agree with @deerokus, probably a couple of them is all you ever need to play as they are very samey.

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Ah, not too bad. It feels a little at odds with the concept of messing about with alchemy and crafting though. I would like to take my time, try out all sorts of stuff and go around collecting materials rather than rush through the game's story. I might still try it though, from the trailer Ryza looks quite nice.

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11 minutes ago, Sane said:

Ah, not too bad. It feels a little at odds with the concept of messing about with alchemy and crafting though. I would like to take my time, try out all sorts of stuff and go around collecting materials rather than rush through the game's story. I might still try it though, from the trailer Ryza looks quite nice.

 

I think if you get to the 'post-game' you can indeed do this. It's the type of game that invites two play throughs, the first to get a handle on it and the second to do it RIGHT. @Flub I guess it is too early to say, but how does it work with no time limits, are you given tasks and then graded on them but the game continues regardless? Or have they relaxed into more straightforward JRPG mechanics?

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3 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

I think if you get to the 'post-game' you can indeed do this. It's the type of game that invites two play throughs, the first to get a handle on it and the second to do it RIGHT. @Flub I guess it is too early to say, but how does it work with no time limits, are you given tasks and then graded on them but the game continues regardless? Or have they relaxed into more straightforward JRPG mechanics?

 

Plot is gated by quests. Often related to creating something. So on my lunch break I had to create a healing item of greater than 30 quality to progress. It's basically a regular jrpg at this point. Now I've done that it's started the part of the quest to create a secret hideout. No doubt that will involve me cooking something up in my pot :)

 

Of course while you're working on a quest you're free to fuck around gathering, crafting whatever you have unlocked and doing sidequests for more recipes. It doesn't care how long you spend doing any of  them.

 

 

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I’m playing Ryza on PS4 now, my first Atelier game since the PS3. 
‘Presentation is obviously nicer but the main things for me are improved alchemy process and lack of a time limit.

This means I can now pootle about min/maxing and gathering which is my thing. Shame the gathering basket is so small tho.

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I put Ryza down for a bit so I could play pinball. Picked it up again today and got utterly immersed again. There's something very satisfying about fucking around with alchemy and getting stupid amounts more powerful.

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https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2020/01/atelier_ryza_is_on_track_to_become_the_most_successful_atelier_game_ever

 

The Japanese company has announced that the game has sold a whopping 350,000 units worldwide, which, according to Koei Tecmo, means that it's on course to become the best-selling entry in the entire Atelier series. The only game standing in its way is the 2015 title Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, which has sold 370,000 copies so far.

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I've been playing Ryza in short bursts. Just got to the final boss battle of the main plot (I believe there's more plot following since there's a load of serious plot threads left hanging) and fuck me I got the shit kicked out of me. First time in the game. It was literally no contest. I'd been upgrading my weapons and armour quite a lot too.

 

Initially I was on a downer since now I have to grind the fuck out of the alchemy system for hours to progress but looking into things it seems there's shit loads of things I missed just by playing through the story. It smacks of a problem with pacing certainly and I don't know how people handled this when the series had strict time limits but I see a path forward now.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Flub said:

I've been playing Ryza in short bursts. Just got to the final boss battle of the main plot (I believe there's more plot following since there's a load of serious plot threads left hanging) and fuck me I got the shit kicked out of me. First time in the game. It was literally no contest. I'd been upgrading my weapons and armour quite a lot too.

 

Initially I was on a downer since now I have to grind the fuck out of the alchemy system for hours to progress but looking into things it seems there's shit loads of things I missed just by playing through the story. It smacks of a problem with pacing certainly and I don't know how people handled this when the series had strict time limits but I see a path forward now.

 

 

 

Yes, this is definitely a feature of these games. The game goads you into thinking you are doing well, then crushes you mercilessly at the end, game over, everyone died, sucks to be you. At which point I guess you either give up, or if you are like me launch straight into a New Game with the determination to do it RIGHT.

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3 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

Yes, this is definitely a feature of these games. The game goads you into thinking you are doing well, then crushes you mercilessly at the end, game over, everyone died, sucks to be you. At which point I guess you either give up, or if you are like me launch straight into a New Game with the determination to do it RIGHT.

 

Happily it just chucked me back to the Atelier. No time limits or bad endings in this one :)

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4 minutes ago, Flub said:

 

Happily it just chucked me back to the Atelier. No time limits or bad endings in this one :)

 

Nice. I used to think that was a bit of dilution of the game's appeal, but having gone back to play the older ones I now see the sense in it. Juggling the time limits is too bloody stressful. And you end up save-scumming when you do risky alchemy anyway as you just can't afford to waste 5 game days on a dud.

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1 minute ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

Nice. I used to think that was a bit of dilution of the game's appeal, but having gone back to play the older ones I now see the sense in it. Juggling the time limits is too bloody stressful. And you end up save-scumming when you do risky alchemy anyway as you just can't afford to waste 5 game days on a dud.

 

I never understood why they expected people to replay a JRPG over and over until they figure out the most efficient way to play. It's the wrong genre for that. It'd drive me insane if I had to start Ryza again. I mean I've enjoyed the plot and the characters but fuck me I don't want to do the same plot twice.

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29 minutes ago, Flub said:

 

Happily it just chucked me back to the Atelier. No time limits or bad endings in this one :)

 

That always put me off the others, and I love my JRPGs so I think I will give Ryza a go when it appears in a PSN sale

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20 minutes ago, Flub said:

 

I never understood why they expected people to replay a JRPG over and over until they figure out the most efficient way to play. It's the wrong genre for that. It'd drive me insane if I had to start Ryza again. I mean I've enjoyed the plot and the characters but fuck me I don't want to do the same plot twice.

 

Yeah, I'd be the same for most games. But I think the earlier Atelier games were made with this in mind, almost every cut scene can be instantly skipped, so you can actually power through the game relatively quickly if you focus. But the newer way seems better.

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14 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

Yeah, I'd be the same for most games. But I think the earlier Atelier games were made with this in mind, almost every cut scene can be instantly skipped, so you can actually power through the game relatively quickly if you focus. But the newer way seems better.

 

There's still a hell of a lot of things like unskippable pauses, double loading when coming out of a cutscene and still enough time wasted skipping all the skippable stuff that it feel terrible. Also having to do all your recipe unlocks again and grinding out alchemy levels and even just unlocking all the map.

 

I don't know what it's like in the earlier games but the plot in Ryza involves a hell of a lot of teleporting around talking to people. Once is fine but multiple times? I'd have ditched the game at this point.

 

As it stands I'm going to start working on a knapsack and combo gathering tools and see how I get on.

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I made some good progress on my lunch break today. I got most of the dual tools crafted. There's a very helpful guide on Gamefaqs that covers almost everything I need. Using bottle codes certainly helps with the gathering (But does get expensive with gems).

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  • 6 months later...

I've bought this in the recent sale and I'm enjoying it immensely. I love the upbeat feel of it and it looks lovely in handheld mode. I like that it gives you the option to skip over the detailed alchemy stuff, if you don't want to you don't have to spend ages chosing ingredients and stuff, you can just let the game do it for you. 

 

I'd recommend it to any JRPG fan that doesn't really detest crafting.

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What's the best thing to read / watch to get a good handle of the appeal of this game (Ryza)? I've been stung a few times with recent jrpg purchases, where I've seen reviews and thought, "this looks/ sounds cool," only to be disappointed afterwards when it doesn't meet the expectations set.

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Drifted away from the series in the last couple of years which is a shame because I absolutely loved both the Arland and Dusk series as well as the more recent Sophie & Firis games.  Really fond memories of playing Totori on my Vita.  For a while these were actually pretty much all I was playing, the ultimate cozy gaming, albeit whilst alternating with Dark Souls re-runs which was a pretty surreal combo with hindsight :D

 

Ryza has been the only Atelier game I quit; the spoon feeding was unbelievable (all Ateliers do this but on Ryza it felt never ending) and really missed the turn based battles (which just made for a more chilled experience).  They'd also massively pissed around with alchemy giving it more "depth" at the expense of any semblance of fun.

 

That's all very much my opinion only/old man shouts at clouds and clearly I'm in a minority when looking at reviews, but the changes in Ryza seemed to be about aligning it to broader JRPG behaviours and by doing so lost Atelier's distinct tone.  Atelier Firis is probably my series favourite; people moan about that one because it was the first open world Atelier.  Hopefully shows I'm not a complete luddite ;)

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