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

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is a mostly solid blend of exploration and crafting, making for an enjoyable end to the Ryza trilogy.

Published: March 23, 2023 7:00 AM /

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The first Atelier Ryza was an interesting entry in the franchise, taking what Gust had learned from the previous trilogy and crafting a more beginner-friendly Atelier experience. Now the finale is here with Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key, bringing a conclusion to Ryza’s years of adventures and alchemy. It aims to offer up some much-needed refinements, and for the most part, it succeeds. And yet, for every good change, there’s also something that hasn’t really improved or evolved in any meaningful way.

Taking place a year after Atelier Ryza 2 — a much smaller time jump compared to the 3 years between 1 and 2 — Ryza has continued honing her alchemy and is relied on by many of Kurken Island’s inhabitants. Her alchemy-filled days are interrupted by a group of islands suddenly appearing nearby, potentially putting Kurken Island in danger once again. From there, Ryza investigates the mysterious islands and travels the world in search of answers, gathering new and familiar friends along the way.

Ryza standing defiantly in Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key

Atelier Ryza 3 does a better job at setting the scene compared to its predecessor — Atelier Ryza 2 felt more like a filler episode for most of its runtime, compared to the origin story of the first game. It doesn’t spend too much time reintroducing characters you’re already familiar with, though you still get to know what they’ve been up to throughout the main story and side events. There’s still plenty of downtime between major story beats, as you spend time making items and watching the cast just chat. But this generally balanced better, and it often feels like the story is actually making some progress.

Part of this might be due to the larger scale, as Ryza’s journey feels much more epic in scope compared to the previous titles. The quieter and more mundane moments are still combined with plenty of new discoveries, and it's fun to see how Ryza resolves situations compared to her younger counterpart from the start of the trilogy. What caught me off guard is the fact that Atelier Ryza 3 actually takes the time to resolve certain plot threads from the previous games. Where Atelier Ryza 2 mostly came across as its own adventure with some links to the first game, 3 actually tried to tie everything together.

Most main characters from the previous 2 games return as playable characters once again. Atelier Ryza 3 boasts the largest playable cast of any Atelier game, though you can stick with the same few characters for most of the game.

In some ways, Atelier Ryza 3 actually succeeds in wrapping up multi-game arcs. It’s nice to finally get some closure on Lent’s relationship with his father, and some characters get some extra time to shine after the middling story from the second game. Overall Atelier Ryza 3 still suffers a little from a problem the Atelier franchise is often guilty of, where things get a little too rushed in the last section of the game. A good chunk of the final section is just a repetitive cycle of briefly heading to one location, before heading back to your atelier. There are still some solid reveals for both the main plotline and the Atelier Ryza 1 cast, along with character development for a couple of the new party members. And, taken as a whole, the journey in Ryza 3 makes for a more compelling adventure than 2.

Lent, Tao, Ryza, and Claudia watching the sunset while standing on a cliff in Atelier Ryza 3 Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key.

As for actually adventuring, exploration has seen one major improvement between entries. Area design builds upon the previous games, offering larger zones that now have even more to discover. The change in area design over the course of the trilogy is best represented by Atelier Ryza 3’s first region, which is most of the first game’s areas combined together into one seamless map, with extra locations on top. The more seamless map design combined with Ryza’s incredibly fast movement speed makes for some fun exploration, as you gather materials and take on new enemies.

Areas in Atelier Ryza 3 offer lots of sidequests and optional character events to discover. Their inclusion is handled in a much better way that previous post-timelimit removal Atelier games.

This is also a good time to talk about the presentation of Atelier Ryza 3, along with the PS5 version. While Atelier Sophie 2 skipped out on Sony’s current-gen console, Atelier Ryza 3 marks a solid return to the platform. Compared to Atelier Ryza 2, performance is far better. Compared to the very inconsistent 30-60fps of the previous entry, Atelier Ryza 3 runs at a locked 60FPS even in the larger areas. Load times are also quick, which makes for a speedier experience when combined with the more connected zones. Visuals are still not that impressive — environments aren’t overly detailed and make use of simple textures — though it’s a decent leap over previous Atelier games.

Ryza doing a spinning attack on a black Puni in Atelier Ryza 3 Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key.

Unfortunately, combat hasn’t seen the same level of improvement compared to area design. Most of Atelier Ryza 2’s battle system makes a reappearance, offering a lot of flash... but not much substance. You mash basic attacks once your action bar fills, building AP to use skills, and in turn gaining CC to use equipped items. Party members act automatically and can be given 2 basic commands, and following their requests leads to bonus attacks (which in turn also leads to building another resource for new skills).

It’s serviceable, and if you like the previous game’s battle system then this is really just more of the same. But I never really enjoyed what Atelier Ryza 2’s battles offered, as it felt hard to actually keep track of what enemies were doing thanks to the camera and cluttered UI. This is still the case in 3, along with the actual low difficulty of battles in general. Things just feel too mashy with little required strategy, and there’s no real evolution to the battle system.

Alchemy has also received little change, though I don’t mind this quite as much. You’re still adding materials to nodes, unlocking new bonuses and traits for the finished product that can then be transferred to other crafted items. It’s an easy-to-understand system, and you’re given all the information you need via clearly displayed numerical values and optional databases for materials and traits. The only real new change is via the titular Secret Key, which can be used to apply some extra effects as you use alchemy.

Crafting Medica Powder via alchemy in Atelier Ryza 3 Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key.

This mysterious key is woven into all parts of Atelier Ryza 3, being introduced early on in the story and adding new mechanics for exploration, combat, and alchemy. The key has the ability to take power from landmarks (key areas of each map that also act as handy fast travel points) or enemies and turn it into new keys, each given random values and bonuses. You’re always incentivised to make new keys — some can unlock special caches, others improve items you’re crafting, and all will be useful at one point or another. They don’t actually add much depth in the grand scheme of things (many are just fodder to use during combat to buff your damage), but at the same time they aren’t a detriment to the basic gameplay loop either.

And, despite some grievances I have with the combat and a lack of change with certain systems, the gameplay loop is still incredibly rewarding. Finding new areas, gathering new materials, and crafting better and better items is a streamlined and fun experience. Adding in a slew of sidequests and events to each location also gives more of an incentive to explore too, even if they’re all marked on the map. Atelier Ryza 3 in general is just a good game to relax with, and you’re always making progress.

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key Review | Final Thoughts

If you enjoyed the previous Atelier Ryza entries, then Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is a worthwhile end to the trilogy. And the story, despite some hiccups, is far more engaging that the lackluster second entry. While I wish that combat had seen some reworks and alchemy is still mostly the same, I could never say that I didn’t enjoy my time with Atelier Ryza 3. There’s still much room for improvement, but it’s a good sign for the future of the Atelier franchise as a whole.

TechRaptor reviewed Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key using a PlayStation 5 review copy provided by the developer. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Review Summary

Despite the simple combat and some story issues at times, Atelier Ryza 3 offers an engaging gameplay loop that never gets boring. (Review Policy)


  • Larger areas make for more interesting exploration
  • Alchemy is still enjoyable
  • Story feels less like filler compared to Atelier Ryza 2


  • Battle system still feels messy
  • Story is a little rushed near the end
  • Keys are a little underwhelming despite plot importance

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| Staff Writer

Isaac is a Staff Writer at TechRaptor, handling guides — and the occasional review — for games throughout many genres. Some of his more extensive work at… More about Isaac

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key
Koei Tecmo
Koei Tecmo
Release Date
March 24, 2023 (Calendar)
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