Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is on the horizon, and that horizon looks oh so bright! That ‘3’ at the end of the title though, is that a sign that a prospective player HAS to spend dozens of their hard-earned dollars just to HAVE to subsequently drop dozens of their valuable hours in order to enjoy this game? Is playing the prequels to Ryza 3 even necessary?!
Benefits of Playing Ryza 1 and 2
Before I give you the definitive answer, I will say this: Playing the two prior games does have benefits. Both games are pretty fun and I guarantee that references to these games in 3 can only be made better by playing 1 and 2.
Returning Characters is a big thing in Ryza 2 and is going to be an even bigger thing in Ryza 3. If you go into Ryza 3 blind then you won’t have much to off of immediately for most of this cast. Though, that’d be the case if you started the first game. So in this case, playing 1 and 2 first will drip-feed you information and possibly make you love these characters before playing 3. I can’t deny that playing 3 first can create a unique perspective on the characters and story if you backtrack. No, I will not dive any deeper into the stories or characters right now.
This series of Atelier games within the series of Atelier has some amazing iterative progression. What I mean is that the foundations in Ryza 1 are expanded and polished to a mirror sheen in Ryza 2, and Ryza 3 is surely going to do the same since Gust is an amazing studio. Backtracking in this case could muddy the experience of playing Ryza 1 and 2 somewhat just by looking back after playing a very forward-looking game. Although, depending on your personal perspective and tastes, this could make the prior games more charming in comparison or trigger something in your brain where you get a kick out of seeing the humble origins of some of the stuff in Ryza 3 you liked. No, I will not spoil what was improved and changed at this time.
The Answer to Your Question
No. Absolutely not. That’s the short answer.
If that doesn’t satisfy you then you can read more where I non-succinctly explain why you don’t need to play the previous games. And if that also doesn’t quench your thirst then you can read even further to see what I have to say about experiencing ANY previous entries in ANY series, game or not! If that doesn’t satisfy you, I’m sorry I’m done with this particular topic (for now). However, you can read some other stuff that I handily link at the bottom of this article in your beastly pursuit of written content.
Why You Don’t Need to Play Ryza 1 and 2 TO play Ryza 3
If you’re excited about Ryza 3 and worried about playing the other games; try to NOT worry about it. Here’s what you’ll miss: some callbacks, and being able to see how they changed things in prior games to get here. Oh wait, I already touched on that. Whoops!
That’s still important to discuss because in the grand scheme of things that is more or less extra stuff, or what some may call context. You don’t NEED context. You can figure stuff out perfectly fine on your own. Judge the game on its own merits and if you like, then go back if you want. Context can be fun. Context is not needed.
Why You Don’t NEED to Check Out ANY Prior Thing Ever
Many series, be they books, movies, games, or anything has this stigma of experiencing prior works in said series. Kingdom Hearts, Trails of, Star Wars, Marvel Movies, etc. I’m sure you know the drill and the song and dance and all of that. Lemme hit you with this 2×4 over the head: just do what you want.
Do you WANT to play or read or watch this new thing? Do it. Worry about checking out older stuff later if you liked it. Do you WANT to experience the older stuff first? Do it.
I really don’t believe you have to do homework to enjoy something. If anything, it can negatively impact your enjoyment of things if you treat them like work. I believe it’s way better to naturally get into things. Check things out as you get access to them. You get to pen the story of what you experienced. It’s a very neat thing in and of itself. A story about a story. Very personal and beautiful.