Bard Banter – Favorites From Atelier Ryza 2
Bard Banter is a series which highlights great music found within the best genre of all – the RPG.
I’ve been a fan of the crafting-centric Atelier series for a few years now. I cut my teeth on the Arland subseries and despite it being re-releases of older games, and featuring an art style I’d normally not gravitate towards, I found that my hunger for the franchise could not be sated. I’ve played just about every mainline Atelier game on Switch now, and I’ve found it to be one of the most consistent series I’ve ever played.
Things it does well, it generally does well across the board…but this also applies to its imperfections. While I’ve never considered any soundtrack in an Atelier game to be bad, they’ve always seemed to lack a certain level of “wow” factor that would push them to truly memorable heights. Atelier’s newest subseries, Ryza, pushed the envelope in that regard though. For the first time since dipping my toes in the series, I was stopping to just soak in the vibes all the time rather than sporadically. 2019’s Ryza 1 laid solid groundwork for what would follow it, with Ryza 2 upping the ante in terms of both quality and variety of works.
It is an exceptional soundtrack across the board, but really excels where it matters most: working alongside the narrative and visuals to bring the world to life. Ryza 2 is easily one of the most stunning games on the Switch to date, and features a soundtrack that only amplifies its beauty. Below are a few of my personal favorites from the soundtrack of Atelier Ryza 2. Have a listen yourself, and perhaps you will also fall in love with it like I have!
The Trees Are Near
This track is one of the very first you’ll hear once you finally go a bit off the beaten path, and does an exceptional job of conveying that initial sense of excitement associated with any adventure worth its salt.
It’s All Uphill From Here
I really like when instruments that aren’t typically used together end up creating something really catchy and memorable. This track backs up a flute and guitar-led melody with some sick drum beats and it is surprisingly effective. This is one of the standard battle tracks in the game, meaning you’ll be hearing quite a bit of it by the journey’s end.
Sound of an Ancient Bell
This track will accompany you on one of many of the game’s dungeon/ruin dives, and it exudes some of the strongest atmospheric vibes of the soundtrack. The tolling bell and piano riffs compliment each other quite well here, and it’s easily one of my favorites among my favorites.
Where Fire Lives
By default, one might think a subterranean zone would be accompanied by a dark, ominous theme guided by more simplistic orchestration. This track does the complete opposite – busy, but it works well with the overall vibes of the melody. It has a certain level of “pep in its step” that actually makes it feel quite fitting in a cavernous zone that is certain to be dangerous.
City of Stars Reflected in the Water
This is one of the most interesting and surprising tracks of the bunch. Tasked with tonally portraying a long forgotten, underwater city, it begins basic and straightforward before building into a grandiose, emotionally-charged theme. The journey of this track goes hand-in-hand with what the player experiences – slowly uncovering a dilapidated city that still has a lot to offer in terms of visuals and mystique.
Bonus: Hometown Island
Here’s a bonus track that I’d like to share from the first Ryza game since I may never go back and give it its own Bard Banter (though it certainly deserves it). Not much I can say other than the fact that I love this track, and I feel like it perfectly encapsulates that feel of “small town innocence” that is very appropriate for Ryza’s hometown.
What do you think about the soundtrack in Ryza 2? Do you agree with my picks, or are there other tracks that you prefer? Let me know!