Klint Kingdom Mysteries

Synthesis for the devil.

Alchemy was the foundation of the Klint Kingdom, but it was tainted by the ambition of man and twisted into a perverse practice. One later redeemed by the exploits of Reisalin Stout, affectionately known as Ryza, and her friends, as they utilised alchemical formulae to better the world around them. Solving problems through synthesis, helping the hopeless, and firing letters out of a literal cannon. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is an enrapturing narrative-driven JRPG featuring gathering, synthesising, duplicating, and feeding a Puni for reasons unknown.

Who knows what it may bring home.

I’m assuming that it delivers randomly generated raw materials, and that what you feed it, or how it develops, determines those materials. It could be the source of raw materials that are unobtainable elsewhere, or it could exist solely for its comedic value, or it could be source of Gems.

One that doesn’t require the continued deforestation of Limewick Hill. But, to be fair, those trees were unnatural, and not meant for mortal beings. One tree shouldn’t produce that many raw materials. Discovering it was a considerable boon, though. I was finally able to make use of the Multiplicauldron, thus bypassing the repeated synthesis of refined materials, and exponentially hastening my progress towards optional bosses, while satiating my desire to collect and organise things. I was slightly disappointed that the fifth great element, that of shadow, was unavailable until after the main campaign. And that, as a result, having synthesised everything that an alchemist could synthesise, it was barely a challenge. But, by defeating it, I could finally face the secret boss, which proved to be a challenge on Charismatic difficulty.

I’ve greatly enjoyed the time spent with Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, though. Even if I did tire of the Multiplicauldron towards the end of the main campaign. It’s a useful mechanic- and an appreciated one- but it’s a mundane process. Reduce raw materials into Gems, use those Gems, and then repeat. I was, however, impressed by how this instalment blended familiar mechanics with the usual modern conveniences. Not by cheapening the experience, but by making it accessible while retaining the complexity and extensiveness of its mechanics.

It was a rather refreshing experience.

Which is what I’d hoped that the Atelier series would be as a whole. Something different, but something satisfying. Something that I could enjoy for the countless hours spent synthesising recipes in the confines of an Atelier. And that’s exactly how I’ve felt with this particular instalment.

Throughout the main campaign I enjoyed watching each character develop independently, discovering their own goals and ambitions, and appreciated how each character had their own quests, which furthered their proficiency in combat. It was fun focusing on alchemical pursuits with Ryza and Empel, but then having to focus on defeating strong opposition with Lent and Lila. It was a rather prominent theme in the story, too. Which tied everything together quite nicely. I’m now wondering how they’re going to build on that in the sequel, and if we’ll see the same characters returning or an entirely new party. Or some characters returning and some new ones. Either way, I’d highly recommend Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout to those fans of JRPGs looking for something different but satisfying.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Rasen Pudding Pioneer

A delightfully delicious magical treat.

Synthesised from only the highest quality ingredients, which are freshly gathered every day and simmered over a medium heat in an alchemy cauldron for the perfect texture. Don’t forget to try our Kurken Island variant, too. Produced from locally sourced fresh milk, sugar, and most likely some kind of gelatin. Of the many things that I’ve synthesised- massive two-handed swords, billowing capes of mystical fabric, rings of untapped potential- the Rasen Pudding is arguably the greatest. It heals, it buffs, it jiggles, and it never depletes when paired with a Core Crystal.

Core Charges are now pudding servings.

Given his predilection for sweet things, I’m certain that Empel would agree that this is an acceptable use of this mysterious Klint Kingdom relic. Rather than using it to inflict elemental damage via bombs, remove status ailments, revive characters who’ve been knocked out, and so on.

We could do both, though. Not that I’ve been particularly diligent when synthesising consumables and combustibles, but I’m still learning how best to utilise raw materials and where best to use them. I’ve barely touched the weapon enhancement mechanics, Weapon Buff and Weapon Forging, but I don’t want to waste Gems on weapons that I’m likely to replace fairly quickly. I’ve explored the Gathering Synthesiser but once to retrieve a single raw material. And don’t even ask about the Multiplicauldron. I’ve only duplicated items that won’t yield much alchemy experience, as I’d rather synthesise from raw ingredients to unlock new recipes and further enhance Ryza’s alchemical talent. Not that the complexity and extensiveness of these mechanics isn’t appreciated, but they can be slightly overwhelming for entirely new players.

This is going to hurt…

Which, regarding the Atelier series, I am, as Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is the first of this series that I’ve played. I’ve previously purchased an entry in the Arland, Dusk, and Mysterious subseries. But I felt that the most recent release would be the most accessible, and would allow me to grow accustomed to the progression and mechanics of the series as a whole. And it certainly is accessible. But the mechanics exhibit unexpected complexity, which I couldn’t be happier about but know will result in hours of synthesising components in pursuit of perfection.

Or a really neat two-handed sword.

The Atelier series doesn’t conform to what you’d typically expect from a JRPG, either. Defeating enemies and grinding for experience isn’t as significant as synthesising powerful equipment, while progression through the main campaign is often narrative-driven and somewhat linear.

This is, of course, from my experiences with Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, which have been pleasant but might not necessarily be indicative of the series as a whole. But I’ve been fascinated by how engaging the alchemy mechanics have been, and how satisfying synthesising is. Exploration has depth and requires the use of different Gathering Tools, gathering is kept fresh and interesting by utilising those in new areas, morphing affords unprecedented flexibility and results in new recipes, items can be rebuilt to enhance their effects or traits, and everything feels as if it has its own purpose. Nothing feels disjointed or unintuitive. Adventuring has never been as wholesome or as fulfilling, and I can’t wait to see what mysteries we’ll unravel as we continue to explore ancient Klint Kingdom ruins.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie