The combat system in Atelier Iris 2 has been improved over its predecessors'. However, the out of battle gameplay has been reduced in complexity, resulting in a more linear style of play. The alchemy and invention systems have been merged to create a more simplistic way of item creation, as well.
Battles are primarily turn-based. A turn bar at the top left shows the amount of time that each character or enemy has left until his or her turn arrives, while a skill gauge to the right shows how many Skill Points (SP) the playable party has at its disposal. Because SP are shared by all party members, each character does not have individual skill gauges.
There are two basic forms of physical attacks: Charge and Break. A Charge attack will increase the level of the party's skill gauge. This allows the party members access to their individual sets of skills. Many skills are more powerful attacks, a few are healing techniques, some are status attacks, and others affect various other battle elements. A Break attack, on the other hand, does not affect the skill gauge but will knock an enemy backward along the turn bar - possibly far enough to enter the thick section of the bar. Once there, the enemy will be stunned. Stunned enemies move more slowly along the turn bar and receive additional damage from attacks. Additional Break attacks will knock the enemy back progressively shorter distances - meaning the player can strategically switch between Charge and Break attacks to both stun enemies and unleash skills on them in the same battle. Each attack on any opponent while an enemy is stunned will increase the combo counter by one and add to the total combo damage. At the end of battle, the combo counter and total combo damage amount will result in additional EXP - up to double the usual per foe. Therefore, it is to the player's advantage to use the combo system as much as possible.
Outside of battle, Atelier Iris 2 is unique in that it contains two separate playable characters, Felt and Viese, who can be freely switched between at any time. Felt's quest focuses on exploration and battle, while Viese's quest focuses on item creation and support. Although some chapters are meant to be played with primarily one character, switching between the two is possible at any save point after an early event in the game. Of particular note is the fact that only Viese can use alchemy. Felt collects alchemical recipes; Viese creates them. Near the end of the game, Viese joins Felt's party, thus eliminating the ability (or need) to switch characters.
Alchemy is divided into three categories: Mana Items, Accessories, and Alchemy Items. Mana Items are special items that can be recreated by Felt using Mana power once they have been created by Viese initially. Accessories function as equipment, increasing various statistics and endowing characters with special abilities. Alchemy Items are miscellaneous items that cover a wide range of uses.
Alchemy requires not only the correct ingredients, but the correct Elemental spirit as well. Some recipes may be closed off until later in the game when Viese has acquired more Elemental spirits.
Each character is automatically equipped with a weapon and can further equip two accessories and two alchemy items. Weapons provide mostly offensive power, accessories boost various stats, and alchemy items provide skills. While an alchemy item is equipped, its particular skill will be in effect. However, by gaining the appropriate number of Skill Points (different from the SP for the skill gauge) from battle while the item is equipped, it is possible to learn the alchemy item's skill permanently. In this way, each character has the potential to learn a wide range of skills varying from several stat-increasing skills to others that can dodge or block attacks.
Weapon synthesis increases the power of weapons and can add special properties as well. Once Felt learns how to synthesize weapons, he can do so at any time by accessing the anvil at the camp. Through weapon synthesis, any character's weapon can be upgraded to a variety of forms if the correct Mana and item is present.
As the player progresses through the game, he or she will obtain large amounts of Mana elements. These elements can be used to synthesize unlimited numbers of Mana items, making them extremely useful. Elements are obtained by absorbing the essence of various materials in the field. For example, a box may provide water and wood elements, while a rock may provide fire and stone elements.
Field play has been simplified from Atelier Iris 1. Instead of possessing a number of tools that can be used to solve puzzles, each character instead has only the ability to jump and absorb Mana. The only other field maneuvers involve using specific items on obstacles or environmental elements such as plants or ore deposits. However, the random encounter system has been improved. Instead of a truly random number of encounters per map, each map has an encounter gauge that gradually changes colors from blue to red. Battles become possible at green, somewhat likely at orange, and almost assuredly at red. Each fight drains the gauge, regardless of victory or escape. When the gauge is empty, no random encounters will occur until the map is reset.
Felt and Viese, alchemists-in-training living on the floating continent of Eden, are the main characters of Atelier Iris 2. The game begins with Viese becoming a full-fledged alchemist. She proceeds home to tell Felt the news, but he is nowhere to be found. After finding Felt at the Belkhyde Gate, a sealed gateway to another world, they go to a forest so that Viese can make a pact with one of the Elemental spirits living there. Along the way, they came across the Azure Azoth, a sword placed in Eden in ancient times by an unknown force. No one has ever been able to pull the sword from its resting place, although Felt tries daily. After making the pact with the spirit, Eden starts to shake. Throughout the entire island, holy grounds of the Elemental spirits disappear. Felt and Viese decide to head to the Mana Temple and report the damage; however, before they can get there, Felt hears a strange voice calling him from the Azure Azoth. Felt tries to pull the sword out once more and succeeds.
After obtaining the Azure Azoth, Felt hears a voice telling him that he must go to Belkhyde, for Eden is in a period of great turmoil. A week later, after the investigation of the earthquake has been completed, Felt sets out for the Belkhyde gate, which has been unsealed by the Azure Azoth. After a good-bye with Viese, Felt sets out through the gate, to the world of Belkhyde. After stumbling his way through the Tatalian desert, he collapses and is found by Noin, who claims to be part of the Simsilt, later to be revealed as a resistance army fighting to liberate the land of Belkhyde from the grips of the Empire. Felt and Noin later move on to rescue Max, the leader of the Simsilt, from the Riesevelt lighthouse. After being chased out of the capital city and a one on one duel with a female assassin with a pair of crimson scythes, Felt and Noin move to Simsilt's base, Agito Cove. At around this point Felt and Viese find out about the Share Ring, a ring that allows one user to send items to each other. After recruiting Hagel, the blacksmith, and being rescued yet again in the Tatalian desert, this time by the dragon man Gray (Felt mistook him for a Fire Mana). He travels back to Agito and travel to the eastern continent, during which Felt takes in a new sight: the Sea.
During the journey to Altena Church, Felt finds the same girl that tried to kill him, poisoned in the middle of a forest. After bringing her back to Max's Camp, Viese in Eden manages to make a cure for the advanced poison that the Fungo had attacked her with. They then head to Altena Church, but are stopped by Chaos, who easily defeats Felt and Fee, but is chased off by Gray. When they finally reach Altena Church, the purpose of the Azoths, Eden and the Gardo Continental Drive are revealed. When Viese finds a map of 'Workshops' scattered all over Belkhyde, this becomes the focus of the bulk of the game. After repairing the workshops one by one, with respective portions of Eden's holy grounds reappear, allowing Viese to make a pact with them after performing certain tasks. This ends with a final battle against Theodore and his Empire goons in Riese Palace.
After some celebration, Felt goes hunting for Chaos, who was not present in the battle. He finds one of the Altena Nuns on the bridge leading to the Western continent. She tells him Chaos has arrived at Altena Church. When Felt arrives, he finds Mother Eizlen frozen by the Crimson Azoth's spell 'Exzanosis', which had earlier claimed Max's life. Felt fights Chaos in the lower levels of the Altena Church, where the Gardo Continental Drive is stored, but is fossilized with the Exzanosis spell. Viese, who was missing Felt as she has not heard from him for the past three weeks from the Share Ring, which they transport a shared diary to each other, begins to worry about Felt. After traveling to Belkhyde through the Belkhyde Gate, she goes through the same journey that he does, but it is accelerated as she roughly knows where to go. She finds Fee, who was trying to escape from the maids, as she disliked being their 'dress up doll'. After being chased down by Gray, they set off to Agito, as the western bridge was damaged. After meeting Noin and de-fossilizing Max with the 'Mell orb', who is pleased with their progress (liberating Belkhyde and defeating Theodore). They find Eizlen and de-fossilize her, they go to the lower levels of Altena Church, to find Felt also frozen. However, the Mell Orb would not heal Felt. After going to the nearby caves to find a special ore, they find Poe who headbutts a wall while lamenting of his accidental marriage to Mitsue, a catgirl they met earlier on. After freeing Felt, Eden suddenly appears in the middle of Lake Midgard, a lake created by the rage of the Crimson Azoth. The final part of the game involves restoring the Azure Azoth, which was damaged during the duel with Chaos, to full power to fight Palaxius, who possessed Chaos, double crossing him in the process.
After the Azure Azoth is restored, Felt is able to break the cursed mist that Palaxius spread over all of Eden. After chasing him to the Temple of Creation, Felt and his friends find out about Iris, the reincarnation of Lilith (but is unaware of it). Felt and friends engage Palaxius, and defeat him. Iris is freed and everyone finds a place in the world: Poe is seen trying to impress Mitsue (and failing), Gray oversees the next generation of Simsilt, Galahad fells a tree, while Noin works on her cooking skills (which are still terrible), and Fee, surrounded by paperwork, looks disdainfully at Max. Felt, Iris and Viese return to Noir, Eden's main city, arriving outside of their workshop. They all say: "We're home".
Much like the last game, Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny has several playable characters. Three characters can be in a battle party at once, with the player free to switch the others in and out at any time.
Noin (ノイン): Noin is the first person to join up with Felt after rescuing him in the desert from heat exhaustion. Her actions and demeanor are the opposite of Viese. With her strong fighting skills and Chi attacks, she fights against the Empire on behalf of the oppressed residents of Belkhyde as part of the Simsilt. Noin despises her father for running out on her dying mother for seemingly no reason, although when she eventually meets him, she learns the reason why: her mother asked her father to pursue his dream. She uses a metal gauntlet in battle. She has a crush on Felt, seemingly having no problem pronouncing her love for him when pressed. (CV: Megumi Teranishi (寺西恵)) (U.S. VA: Jessica Straus)
Fee (フィー): Fee is a mysterious woman with a cold appearance who encounters Felt one day. Her weapons of choice are two crimson scythes. Her special skills utilize a high speed fighting style, including the Slaith Royal Dynasty techniques, Ein Zecksclaw and its variants. As an infant, she was found at the steps of the Altena Church and was raised by the high priestess (the truth is later revealed that she came in the bloodstained arms of her previous nanny when the Slaith Dynasty was overthrown). As an adult, Fee serves as the church's holy warrior and is sent to destroy that which would threaten her religion. At first, unfortunately, that includes Felt. After being poisoned, Felt finds Fee half dead and despite the Azure Azoth's advice, chooses to help Fee rather than kill her. Fee turns out to be the lost princess of Riesevelt, Audrey, and Max's sister. She takes leadership of the Simsilt after Max's apparent death and eventually becomes the reluctant Queen of Riesevelt, even going so far as to escape from the maids half dressed. In the end, she lives with Max in Riesevelt, surrounded by paperwork. (CV: Natsumi Yanase (柳瀬なつみ))
Poe (ポウ): Poe is a fairy who resides in Eden. Self-titled 'Gun Mana' and 'Flashbang Poe' on his use of a (to him) giant gun in combat, which fires rounds with both damage, random effect and healing capabilities. He has a fateful encounter with Viese and instantly falls in love with her. He eventually travels to Belkhyde after a failed attempt to capture Viese's heart. He becomes good friends with Felt and his party, and often attempts to flirt with other girls with disastrous consequences. While in his own little world, thinking of what he should say to Viese, he unwittingly proposes marriage to another character, the cat girl Mitsue, whom he is eventually forced to marry, for the benefit of the party. However, his actions allowed Felt to gain access to one of the Workshops. In the end, he is trying to impress Mitsue, who hates him as he lost the pigeon blood, a symbol of love to her. (CV: Rie Kanda (神田理江)) (U.S. VA: Mona Marshall)
Gray (グレイ): Although he looks like a dragon, Gray was once fully human and trained with Galahad, but they both abandoned their master. He meets Felt in the desert after rescuing him from a monster. He tags along with Felt just because he wanted a purpose in life, instead of just wandering around (he really had nothing better to do). Worldly and friendly, he's considered the party's big brother, is immensely strong and is renown as a dragonslayer across the land. His appearance as a dragon-man comes from the fact that he's slain so many dragons that it's caused the Dragon King Ardgevald to curse him with their shape. Fights with a pair of shield/gauntlet type weapons; Galahad possesses the same weapon, but Gray is the superior of the two. In the end, Gray is seen training young Simsiltians in swordplay. (CV: Kenta Miyake (三宅健太)) (U.S. VA: Bob Papenbrook)
Viese Blanchimont (ヴィーゼ・ブランシモン): Viese is Felt's childhood friend. She was taken in by the Eden Alchemist Association after the death of her parents. She's fairly average in alchemy and she differs from Felt in that she works hard and can synthesize just about anything. Although Viese acts as Felt's support, she eventually meets a girl named Iris and becomes her guardian. She is the one to first to note that Iris can synthesize without Mana. Later in the game, Viese joins Felt's party. When in combat, she uses ranged attacks with a magic staff. In the end, Viese returns with Iris and Felt to their home. (CV: Miwa Kouzuki (倖月美和)) (U.S. VA: Michelle Ruff)
Kreuz (クロイツ): The head of the Eden Temple. He is the one who certified Viese as an alchemist. He later allows Viese into the inner library. When Viese travels to Belkhyde, Iris is entrusted into his care. (CV: ?)
Lutanus (ルテネス): A wise Darkness Mana who maintains the Eden Temple library. Viese and other alchemists often turn to her for advice. She has an obsession with finding the origin of Mana and Lilith. It is also said she can get quite angry if you interrupt her reading. (CV: ?)
Meila (メイラ): A green haired girl who is a friend of Felt and Viese's, that resides along with them in Noir. To her credit, Meila is essential in acquiring one of the Mana pacts. Once jokes that Iris was "Felt's daughter from Belkhyde". (CV: ?)
Klavia (歌姫クラウディア): A shy Sound Mana who rarely speaks to anyone. Viese befriends her after Klavia loses confidence in her singing ability. (In fact, in her first performance for Viese, it is revealed she is almost completely tone-deaf.) As the game progresses, Klavia overcomes her shyness, and eventually, her friend joins Viese. (CV: ?)
Yach (ヤッケ): A Noir shopkeeper who has ties to Belkhyde. He lost both his parents in the past. His only focus in life seems to be money and sales, once quoting that "I would sell my parents if it wasn't completely illegal". It is unknown if the Yach in Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm is related to him. (CV: ?)
Melona (メローネ): A Light Mana who runs a shop next door to Viese & Felt's studio. She is constantly having to put up with the actions of her clumsy subordinate, Coco. Melona had a bad experience with her former alchemist which eventually led to his accidental death, this event has prevented Melona from getting close to people since then. (CV: ?)
Coco (ココ): A klutzy Wind Mana who works in Melona's shop. Her antics lead to her being fired for a short while. It is later revealed that Melona simply wanted her to take work more seriously, thus, giving her a "short break".(CV: ?)
Yuveria (ユーヴェリア): AKA "Y-017J", she is the artificial humanoid that guided Felt to Belkhyde. She maintains the Gardo Continental Drive. Very protective of the Gardo Continental Drive, she stood in the way of Chaos even after he fought and defeated Felt. (CV: Shiho Kujima (久嶋志帆))
Mother Eizlen (エーゼリン): The head of the Altena Church, and the one who raised the orphaned Fee after Riesevelt fell. (CV: ?)
Chaos (ケイオス): One of the game's main antagonists. Chaos is part of the Imperial Army, reknowned throughout Belkhyde as "Chaos the Lightning Blade", and was appointed as an Imperial Champion because of his swordsmanship and speed. He moves around the nation as he pleases and frequently runs into Felt. Chaos is fought three times throughout the game, but cannot be defeated the first time. The second time he is defeatable, but still manages to fossilize Max. The third and final confrontation with him is a one-on-one duel to the death between himself and Felt. (CV: Hiroshi Tsuchida (土田大)) (U.S. VA: Liam O'Brien)
Galahad (ガラハド): Galahad is the second Imperial Champion, and Noin's father. A long time ago, he trained with Gray in the Dragon's Den. Galahad lives by a strong moral code, but doesn't want to disobey orders in fear of a less competent replacement. He and Noin had a falling out several years prior to the game storyline, but they reconcile after Consul Theodore's defeat. (CV: Hidenari Ugaki (宇垣秀成))
Tolena (トレーネ): Tolena is the Imperial Champion, but it's kind of hard to tell it at first glance. Tolena is a cheerful, bubbly, and sometimes airheaded young girl. She has been Noin's best friend since they were kids, and also happens to be Consul Theodore's daughter. Her father's high-ranking position may partially explain her Champion status, but she is also quite a good fighter, though we never see her battle anyone in the game. (CV: Haruhi Terada (寺田はるひ))
Theodore (テオドール): The "Consul" of Riesevelt, and leader of the Silvaresta Occupation Forces. Theodore is very conceited, quite drunk on power due to his high rank, and also very cowardly (as shown in his actions immediately after his defeat). After the Simsilt forces assault Riesevelt Palace, he is eventually deposed by our heroes. (CV: Yoshimitsu Shimoyama (下山吉光))
Max (マックス): The leader of the Simsilt Resistance Movement, and rumored sole heir to the Slaith Dynasty. After Riesevelt fell, he founded Simsilt for two reasons: to overthrow Theodore, and to search for his long-lost sister, Audrey (who turns out to be Fee). Max is able to use the secret technique Ein Zecksclaw, which can only be used by members of the royal family. A running joke in the English release of the game is that Max always forgets Felt's name, calling him at least ten different names (in one case he called him Klein, the main character of Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana. (CV: Kunihiro Kawamoto (河本邦弘))
Hagel (ハゲル): A world-famous blacksmith, and key member of the Simsilt Resistance Movement. Teaches Felt how to improve the weapons used by the party. Previously appeared in Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana. (CV: Tessho Genda (玄田哲章))
Mitsue (ミーツェ): A catgirl merchant and native of Zwital Village, Mitsue turns up multiple times in the game. She eventually marries Poe, following certain events of the story. Calls Poe "Poeywoey" in the English release, and "Poe-sama" in the Japanese version. (CV:Shiho Kujima (久嶋志帆) )
Theresa (テレッサ): A famous stylist from Grand City who gives Noin a makeover. This helps the party to gain a key item. (CV: ?)
The Azure Azoth (Elusmus) (深蒼のアゾット/エラスムス): The titular "Azoth of Destiny", and Felt's main weapon. Little is known of the Azoth itself, except that its creation was by the gifted alchemist Elusmus. It was broken during the start of the final chapters of the game, as the final part of the game is spent trying to repair it. (CV: ?)
The Crimson Azoth (Palaxius) (真紅のアゾット/パラケルスス): The Azoth of Belkhyde, wielded by Chaos. It is said that this Azoth was responsible for the sealing of Eden, and that it houses the personality of the talented alchemist Palaxius. In the final part of the game, he betrays Chaos and takes over his body. (Paracelsus in the Japanese version). (CV: ?)
Rie: Chaos' sister, who is very precious to him, much like Viese is to Felt. The events of the game are triggered because of Chaos' actions in trying to heal Rie, as he could not make the Elixir. It is eventually revealed that the Elixir could not heal her, because Rie had already passed away.
As in Atelier Iris, the main driving forces behind the alchemy of the game are the Mana Spirits. The transformation element from the previous game has been eliminated; instead, Atelier Iris 2 offers a larger number of Mana Spirits. Below is a list of each Mana and his or her respective element:
Dour (木のマナ・ドゥル): The Mana Spirit of Wood. Dour is the first Mana with whom Viese makes a pact during the opening chapter of the game. (C.V: Rie Kanda (神田理江))
Zuvelk (金のマナ・ツヴェルク): The Mana Spirit of Metal. It is only after Viese makes a pact with him that she and Felt can use the Share Ring, an essential item in the game.(C.V: ?)
Uru (火のマナ・ウル): The Mana Spirit of Fire. Humorously admires Viese's "command" over Poe. (C.V: Yukari Kokubun (國分優香里))
Aroma: The Mana of Aroma. She joins after Viese finds and grows a particularly rare species of flower, the Hal Flower, for Meila. Her reason for making a pact with Viese is rather peculiar: she seems to like Viese's scent. (C.V: ?)
Plua (闇のマナ・プルーア ): The Mana Spirit of Darkness. Plua does not have the confidence to make a pact initially, but she will change her mind once Viese returns after speaking to her fellow dark Mana and friend, Lutanus. (C.V: Kazuyo Ouchi (大内和代))
Diemia (岩のマナ・ディエメア): The Mana Spirit of Stone. Diemia wants a Glow Lamp in order to be able to read in the darkness of his cavern before he will make a pact. A running gag from the previous game is that Diemia is often used as a living stepladder for party members. (C.V: Takayuki Sasaki (佐々木隆行))
Nymph (水のマナ・ニンフ): The Mana Spirit of Water. She makes a pact with Viese after the new alchemist saves her life in Marmel Forest. (C.V: Emiri Katou (加藤英美里))
Silwest (空のマナ・シルウェスト): The Mana Spirit of Air. She makes a pact automatically and actually *gives* an item instead of asking for one. The item she gives is Hexi Glass, which helps out in making the Viese Charm alchemy item. This item gives a character-specific skill to Felt. (C.V: Yumi Morooka (諸岡優美))
Jiptus (毒のマナ・ジフトス): The Mana Spirit of Poison, she tells Viese to read the lithograph in her sanctuary before she will make a pact. Thus, a Rainbow Cloth is required to make a pact with her. (C.V: ?)
Faustus (幻のマナ・ファウスタス): The Mana Spirit of Illusion. He always ends his sentences with "poyo." Faustus makes a pact in exchange for being freed from a treasure chest abandoned in the library - a misadventure stemming from an ill-fated game of hide and seek. (C.V: ?)
Siren (音のマナ・サイレン): The Mana Spirit of Sound. A close friend of Klavia, she joins automatically after Klavia gains her singing confidence. (C.V: ?)
Aion (命のマナ・アイオン): The Mana Spirit of Life. She is one of the oldest of the Mana Spirits, second only to the Mana Spirit of Creation, Lilith. Aion also proves to be very difficult to work with, as her knowledge of her abilities has given her a very high opinion of herself. She tells Viese to make pacts with Eital (light Mana) and Plua (dark Mana) before she will herself make a pact herself. (C.V: Noriko Ohashi (大橋のりこ))
Eital (光のマナ・エイテル): The Mana Spirit of Light. Eital requests a Comet Gem in exchange for making a pact with Viese. (C.V: Shouko Ishii (石井翔子))
Lilith (無のマナ／原初マナ・リリス): The Mana Spirit of Creation, from whom all other Mana are descended. To become an alchemist, a person must "pledge to uphold the sacred tenets of Lilith." No one has seen her in centuries. (C.V: Miki Takahashi (高橋美紀))
GameSpot's review praised the game for its enjoyable cast of characters, alchemy system, and straightforward battle design. However, the review also criticized battles for being too easy and called the game's quest design "tiresome and unrewarding." 2