Atelier Ryza 3 Is a Charming Alchemy RPG With All the Right Ingredients

Inverse Score: 8/10

Originally Published: 
Koei Tecmo

As I reached the summit of a large mountain, I was taken aback by the scenery: Sandy beaches and palm trees lay far below while large crystals illuminated the night sky. I felt a sense of wonder and amazement. Things had come so far for this RPG trilogy, and Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key really delivered a satisfying and evolved conclusion.

Atelier Ryza 3 rewards fans for following Ryza’s evolution from an amateur alchemist in 2019’s Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout to the hero of now. Now considered one of the best alchemists in her current age, Ryza now tackles a challenging adventure delving into the history of her craft. Alongside an engaging battle system and in-depth alchemy system, we also get a wonderful and compelling cast of characters that make Atelier Ryza 3 one of the most thoughtful and complex RPGs of 2023.

After an archipelago called the Kark Isles suddenly appears around her hometown, Ryza leads an investigation into its many mysterious ruins and a giant gate. A voice in her head tells her to seek something called the Code of the Universe, and something seemingly related also grants her the power to magically conjure up keys.

Third Time’s the Charm

Ryza 3 finally delivers some closure for the big lingering plot threads from the first two games, which lends itself to a really satisfying emotional payoff. In the first game, Ryza’s alchemic mentor Empel and his bodyguard Lila left for their own adventure, thus being absent during the events of 2021’s Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy. All this time later, they’ve returned to aid Ryza in a sort of Avengers-level team-up.

Atelier Ryza 3’s cast is one of the largest in the franchise, sitting at 11 party members.


Other, more consistent character arcs get some satisfying l development in Ryza 3 as well. The muscleman Lent has been part of Ryza’s crew from day one. In the first game, players learn about the abuse inflicted by Lent’s alcoholic father. Lent finally stands up for himself — and his mother — in Ryza 3. We see a lot of character growth as pretty much every character arc reaches a satisfying conclusion.

Ryza 3 has one of the largest casts of playable characters in the Atelier franchise as a whole. Each of the 11 main characters gets ample screen time, which is an impressive feat of storytelling in itself. The big ensemble also adds quite a bit of variety to the game’s battle system as well.

Continuous Improvement

Ryza 3 has a hybrid turn-based and real-time battle system that plays similarly to Final Fantasy X-2s ATB system. The active character has a meter that refills over time and can only take action when it’s full. Using regular attacks builds up the AP gauge, which then can be spent to use unique and flashy skills. But the game integrates several stacking systems as each battle progresses, which makes for escalating spectacles over time.

Want to use that fancy new bomb to disrupt the boss from firing off its ultimate attack? Need emergency healing by feeding your teammate some food? You’ve got to keep the offensive pressure up to raise the party’s Tactics Level to increase your AP ceiling while also storing up your Core Crystal (CC) levels. It may sound like a lot, but the way these systems weave together makes for a gripping and novel combat strategy that’s pretty darn exciting.

Ryza 3’s explosive combat features many stacking systems that intertwine with one another.


Battles are a feast for the eyes as characters leap and strike down opponents with flaming swords and bursts of magic. There’s nothing more satisfying in this game than seeing the camera close in on your characters as they unleash a flurry of special attacks.

Ryza’s new magical keys also offer various effects. One activates a regenerative healing spell to recover her HP for a set number of turns and another applies party-wide buffs to her and her teammates. So for anyone plenty familiar with the flow of the previous games, this adds an interesting new wrinkle into the mix that makes Ryza seem cooler than ever. Keep in mind, she can still craft various items, potions, and other pieces of equipment via alchemy, so scavenging materials is an important part of exploration still.

It might take a bit of practice to grok all of Atelier Ryza 3’s mechanics. However, once all the pieces fall into place, the alchemy becomes a deep, deep rabbit hole where Ryza can create some truly powerful items to completely change the tide of battle.

Ryza 3’s open world features gorgeous environments, landmarks, and skyboxes.


Open World Shenanigans

The game’s open world evokes Xenoblade Chronicles 3. There are plenty of mountains, rivers, and forests with ancient ruins and more marvels throughout, lending a great deal of environmental variety in Ryza 3. Navigation feels satisfying and convenient, particularly when Ryza can ride ziplines across the world to cover large distances along with using typical fast travel points

Ryza 3’s art style really brings out some bold colors. The character animations also look crisp and sharp as developer Gust’s art style emphasizes clean lines and expressive faces. Party banter feels lively and fun, similar to the casual conversations that fire off automatically like in Tales of Arise. It’s just a shame the subtitle font size is so small, particularly because there’s no English dub.

This and other problems however are slight and forgivable. I spent about 30 hours scouring the open world, picking up my materials, and making better equipment and items to take on new enemies I came across, especially when there were some bosses with challenging difficulty spikes.

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is another great entry in a criminally underrated series from an overlooked developer. It builds upon the previous games to deliver one of the year’s most satisfying RPG conclusions.


Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key will be released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC on March 24, 2023. Inverse reviewed the game on PlayStation 5.

INVERSE VIDEO GAME REVIEW ETHOS: Every Inverse video game review answers two questions: Is this game worth your time? Are you getting what you pay for? We have no tolerance for endless fetch quests, clunky mechanics, or bugs that dilute the experience. We care deeply about a game’s design, world-building, character arcs, and storytelling come together. Inverse will never punch down, but we aren’t afraid to punch up. We love magic and science-fiction in equal measure, and as much as we love experiencing rich stories and worlds through games, we won’t ignore the real-world context in which those games are made.

This article was originally published on

Related Tags