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Thread: Karifean's Modern Guide to Ys

  1. #1
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Moomba Karifean's Modern Guide to Ys



    Introduction

    Welcome to my Modern Guide to Ys. Ys (pronounced much like the English word 'ease') is a series of action JRPG by developer Nihon Falcom dating back to the late 80s that still goes on to this day, with Ys IX having been released in Japan just a couple months ago. The series entries have seen numerous remakes and rereleases over the years - this guide aims to be a guide not to veterans of old but to people like me, who have only recently gotten into the series and need an overview and perhaps some recommendations.

    Why am I making this guide? Three reasons: One is to spread the word about this great series. Ever since I started playing the games less than two years ago they've risen to being some of my favorite games in the genre, and I want to spread the word. Second is to provide a primer of sorts for people who are interested in the games but don't quite get what they're about or where to start. Half the releases in the series don't have a number attached to them, but the other half do, so it can be rather confusing, I hope to give a comprehensive guide on all that. And finally, just because I love these games and I want an excuse to gush about them for a while.


    So what is Ys even about? Broadly speaking, Ys follows the adventurer Adol Christin as he goes on his many adventures to explore the world, along with his trusted sidekick Dogi. He suffers shipwrecks and discovers forgotten civilizations, fights evil demons and ancient species. The series provides a wonderful sense of adventure, backed by Falcom's consistently amazing soundtracks and worldbuilding habits including giving every single NPC in every single game their own character.

    But enough prelude. First up, we're going to be starting this guide by starting... at the beginning. Which can be hard to find. But that's what I'm here for. Stay tuned!

    Table of Contents

    Last edited by Karifean; 01-12-2020 at 12:12 AM.

  2. #2
    *permanent smite* Spuuky's Avatar
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    The beginning as in I or the beginning as in Origin

    Also it's not pronounced like "ease." The vowel sound is the same, but ease is pronounced with a z consonant sound, and Ys isn't!

  3. #3
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    YS I CHRONICLES

    Ys I is a game that has seen numerous releases and rereleases across many different platforms. But the most accessible modern day version is the "Ys I & II Chronicles" release for the PC. It's up on Steam, it's up on GOG, and it's pretty cheap nowadays.

    The original Ys dates back to 1987, and the Chronicles version is less a full remake as much as it is a faithful recreation of the game with updated graphics and mechanics to make it feel less archaic. Still, the fact that it is a very old game is strongly felt. For instance, one of the earliest portions of the game has you visit a fortune teller who tells you that you're a hero of legend and to gather your equipment and get back to her. So you go out and grind some EXP and gold so you can buy stuff from the store. Riveting. Oh, also, if you try to go out into the wild at the start of the game without having any weapons or defensive gear, you'll immediately find yourself completely helpless against even the simplest of enemies. That kind of thing is commonplace in this game.


    One of the most controversial things about the original Ys is its combat system, which divides fans to this day. The "bump system", as Falcom calls it, has you doing combat simply by using the movement buttons or stick, with no actual attack button involved. The trick to it is that in order to tackle enemies safely, you need to bump into them at an angle instead of head-on. That way you will damage the enemy without taking damage in return, while if you and an enemy collide face to face, you will both be taking damage.


    The leveling system in this game is lopsided to say the least. A single levelup will make the difference between being the hunter or the hunted. In fact, the maximum level Adol can have in this game is Level 10 and you're expected to reach that level before the third boss which is about the halfway point of the game. After that the game actually gets a lot more balanced as you can no longer outlevel enemies or be underleveled for them, making the final dungeon a proper challenge all the way through.


    One thing the game has aged exceedingly well on, however, is its soundtrack. The first Ys game set a standard for video game music back in the day and was, as far as I'm aware, the first ever video game to have its OST released on album, and is widely considered one of the most influential works in the medium. And it shows. Even 30 years later, the soundtrack still holds up incredibly well. The Chronicles version allows you to choose between different arrangements for the OST and you really can't go wrong with any of them.


    The actual story has you going around the island of Esteria gathering the Books of Ys. At the same time you're doing this, some asshole is going around stealing things made of Silver. You also end up rescuing a pretty girl from a dungeon who was apparently locked up by that guy but she is amnesiac and doesn't remember anything that could point to why that happened to her. As you learn more about the area you find that Ys is an ancient kingdom that existed 700 years ago, and some of the people that help you on your journey as well as the bad guy are descendants of the six priests that once governed the kingdom underneath the twin goddesses, back in the age when it prospered. A lot of the game plays like an adventure game, as you find items and figure out where they can be used with a lot of trial and error and random ideas.


    Ultimately Adol's journey leads him into the ominous Darm Tower, a demon-infested tower reaching up into the sky, to find the final books of Ys and face off against the evil priest Dark Fact. In the end the game ends on a cliffhanger as obtaining the final book of Ys transports Adol further up into the sky onto a floating island that actually *is* the ancient kingdom of Ys, which didn't just disappear but rather was lifted off the earth by the goddesses to keep it safe from a demon invasion all those years prior. The rest is left for Ys II, which is a direct continuation and conclusion of the story. Fortunately for us, Ys Chronicles includes the second game as well.


    Overall Ys I is a fine game. Its plot points and mechanics absolutely betray its age, but in spite of that it remains a fun game to play with some truly memorable moments. Scaling Darm Tower as the sun slowly sets in the background with Tower of the Shadow of Death playing as you go through floor after floor is just great. The game knows well not to take itself too seriously when it shouldn't as well, like when Luta Gemma somehow sleepwalks his way through the magic barrier of the tower to end up imprisoned in there, or when five seconds later the wall of the prison cell gets destroyed by a dude who just really loves punching through walls. And in spite of you not ever even seeing the big bad before the final showdown, the fight with him both does something really clever the entire game has been setting up, and beyond that is also notoriously challenging and insanely satisfying to finally beat, with the beautiful track Rest in Peace playing as you take in your earned victory.


    If everything I just described to you makes you feel nostalgic or excited, then I say go for it and play the game. But if it turns you off, hold off. Ys I may be the first game in the series, and Ys II a direct continuation of it, but all the other games are essentially standalone titles that can be played in any order. Perhaps some of the newer games will do more to whet your appetite.

    For now, let's move on to Ys II, the second half of the original duology which nicely enough is also included in the Chronicles release.


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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I mainly remember Ys as a series that popped up occasionally in issues of GamePro that I used to read. The gameplay kind of sounds reminiscent of Hydlide, but hopefully better? I think the only entry I ever played was the demo of one released on the PSP when the series started to re-emerge into mainstream. Can't even tell you which one it was.

    Good write up, and I look forward to your breakdown of the rest of the series.

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    I wanna get Ys I & II but even with the sale going on, I still donít have the money to spend. Will most likel jump on with the Seven you gave me though

  6. #6
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Ys II Chronicles

    As previously mentioned, Ys II resumes right where Ys I left us, with Adol being beamed up into the sky onto the floating island that is the old land of Ys. He wakes up outside of a small place called Lance Village without any of his equipment (how convenient) and without wasting any time gets roped into having to save the local doctor from a cave-in in a nearby monster-infested mine. At the same time the cave is intertwined with an old sanctuary where your secondary objective becomes returning all the six books of Ys from the first game to the statues of the six priests found in the different areas of said sanctuary. As you do, they encourage you to head to the Shrine of Solomon to save the kingdom from the darkness that has overcome it.


    From there on the game plays out in a way very similar to the first Ys game overall, though with a larger variety of tasks and possibilities along your path. The biggest game changer is the addition of magic, which gives you a long-range projectile as well as several other useful spells to make the adventure more fun and varied. Regarding the areas of the game themselves, some are more maze-like while others have several points of interest you need to visit. At the very least none of the dungeons are as straightforward as going down a linear path.


    Easily one of my favorite addition in this game is the Magic of Transformation which you get a few dungeons into the game that allows you to transform yourself into a Roo; an adorable little demon-like creature. In this form monsters do not attack you, and even better, you can understand their language which allows you to speak with them. And in true Falcom fashion you damn well better believe every single monster in the game has their own unique name and couple lines of dialogue. I genuinely love this. Not only does it add a lot of charm and personality to areas of the game you wouldn't normally expect, it also does wonders to break up the gameplay when it gets a bit repetitive as you can just transform for a while and take a break from fighting monsters.


    Honestly, despite being very similar to Ys I overall, I'd say Ys II has aged significantly better. The leveling curve is far more smooth with enemies mostly remaining a decent challenge throughout instead of constantly jumping between being total pushovers and being unbeatable monsters. The bump system is also more forgiving in this one, as it now allows you to approach enemies diagonally and safely take them out that way. In addition, most boss battles focus on usage of the Fire magic which turns them into more bullet hell kind of battles with a focus on dodging the enemy patterns and projectiles while getting your own hits in when possible. They remain simplistic (it's still a 30 year old game) but they make for pretty enjoyable battles. The only gripe I have is that sometimes you still do have to grind a bit or upgrade your weapon to be able to even deal damage to a boss, but this was never an issue as leveling up is really fast in this game as well.


    Much like Ys I's Darm Tower, by far the most memorable part of the game is the final dungeon: the Solomon Shrine, which ends up taking up the latter half of the game. The special thing about this one is that it's actually a dungeon and a town in one; when you use the Magic of Transformation the place is pretty much an RPG town and both playing it as a dungeon and as a town is required to make it through, as you'll need to talk with many different demons and gain key items to be able to access some areas. Less exciting is the fact that it's a gigantic maze with numerous corridors that look extremely same-y and loads of dead ends and passages that are locked until you gain the required key items. It can become pretty trying on your patience over time, though thankfully enough the overall layout of the shrine is simple enough with six sectors each dedicated to one of the six priests and there's only really one place of importance in every sector. And the music is completely amazing so that helps a lot.


    This is going to be full spoilers but I do want to talk about the story told by the duology. The actual villains of both games are very much one-dimensional mwahaha bad guys, although Dalles in this game takes a very personal hand in screwing you over several times which definitely gives him more of a commanding presence than Dark Fact or Darm. But in the end the story isn't about the villains as the actual conflict presented is about the Black Pearl, the artifact of immense magical power that is responsible both for Ys' prosperity in its golden age as well as the outbreak of the demons that later besieged it. The final battle is less about taking down a bad guy and more about sealing away the magic of Ys for good, signified beautifully by your MP bar draining entirely after you defeat the boss. In the end the two goddesses of Ys turn out to be none other than Reah and Feena from the first game and despite the affection between Adol and Feena (signified rather beautifully by Adol breaking his silent protagonist status to utter merely her name) she decides to join Reah in keeping the Black Pearl safely away from any potential future misuse as Ys, now back from the sky down on earth, has everything it needs to get a clean start.


    I very much enjoyed my time with Ys II. It's not a long game but I was surprised by the sheer amount of things they packed into it while keeping the pace brisk and feeling good and still leading to a pretty epic conclusion. It irons out a lot of the quirks of Ys I while also adding a lot of charm. I know some of the more self-referential lines were added in the Chronicles version but I looked back over the older releases on youtube and pretty much everything was already there back then. And of course the music is just as incredible as in Ys I.


    With that, the storyline of the land of Ys comes to a close. From here on out "Ys" is merely an artifact title, with Adol's adventures now taking him all over the world and Dogi from Ys I becoming his partner who shows up in pretty much every game. To properly show how the series develops I will from here on out go in release order which unfortunately has us jump forward a few numbers for now. Next up, let's take a look at Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim.


  7. #7
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    YS VI: THE ARK OF NAPISHTIM

    Ys VI first came out in 2003 and marked a sort of revival for the series after an 8 year long hiatus following Ys V. It features an entirely new engine which was also used as the basis for the next two games on our list, as well as tying older games together lore-wise a lot.


    The game begins as Adol finds himself stranded on the Canaan Islands, a group of islands surrounded by a vortex that makes it impossible to escape them. Upon this island live both the native Rehda tribe as well as a town built by sailors from outside who were sucked into the vortex and banded together. There are considerable tensions between the Rehda and the outsiders as the Rehda live strongly by tradition and in harmony with nature while the outsiders simply take whatever resources they need to make the most comfortable lives for them. Occasionally you also meet a mercenary named Geis who seems to be looking around the island and feels always one step ahead of you. Eventually the islands are invaded by the Romn army who appear to have come to take away the Rehda as slaves, but are ultimately manipulated by one of their generals, Ernst, who knows of an ancient ark, the titular Ark of Napishtim, stored away in this place, and intends on taking its power for himself, and it's up to you to stop him.



    The most notable change compared to the prior games is the gameplay system. Ys VI no longer works on the bump system but instead supplements your movement options with jumping and gives you an actual attack button. You also get different moves depending on if you attack on the ground, while ascending on a jump or while descending from a jump, giving you a moveset varied enough to shake up gameplay completely. On top of that, you have different weapons at your disposal that all play somewhat differently and each of them uses a different type of magic as a super attack.


    In this game you use three distinct weapons, a wind sword, a flame sword and a lightning sword, that all have varying speed, strength and magic super attacks. You can switch swords on the fly by the push of a button although for the most part you're fine sticking to one sword at a time, with the preferred option changing depending on the dungeon. Over the course of the game you collect a type of currency in the form of emelas which can be used to upgrade your swords. It's a simple system but works pretty damn well as you can feel each increase in power quite a bit.

    That being said, the game has some... weirdness to it. See something that happened to me quite early on while playing was I got to a boss and just did 0 damage with every attack. Turns out this game punishes you pretty heavily if you lack the strength you're supposed to have, so before a boss fight you're at times expected to either get a sword upgrade or two or grind out one more level. Once I went back to town and upgraded my sword (thankfully there's a fast travel system so this wasn't an issue) the boss started taking damage and things went okay. It's not a huge deal but something to watch out for when playing this game.


    As far as I'm concerned, this game's biggest strength lies in its worldbuilding. For one, when I say each area and NPC gets its own development I mean it. Every single NPC has a unique design and portrait, and you can check back in with them after every single story event to see how they're doing. It won't be anything world-shattering but it does wonders to make both the Rehda and outsiders feel like actual people with lives that are affected by everything going on, something that continues to be a major strength of Ys and other Falcom games to this day. In addition, Ys VI introduces a lot more lore elements tying together the earlier games. If you're wondering why I skipped over three games it's because a bunch have been the subject of remakes that bring them up to speed both in terms of gameplay and lore.


    In a nutshell, Ys VI introduces the Eldeen - people with angelic bodies that have wings - as an ancient civilization that used emelas of varying colors as materials to create miraculous magical artifacts. Reah and Feena, the goddesses of Ys, were two such Eldeen and the Black Pearl of Ys II was one such artifact made of Black Emelas, the most powerful variant of them all, and Alma, the goddess worshiped by the Rehdan tribe in this game, is also an Eldeen. Also the game introduces the faction of Darklings, humans who in their jealousy over the powers wielded by the Eldeen brought upon calamities in trying to emulate them. The Eldeen and Darklings all play a part in some form in the remakes of earlier Ys games; it's not until Ys Seven that we head further into a storyline entirely separate to them. That being said, while the game does a lot to expand the lore of the series as a whole, it doesn't really matter too much in the end. It's cool connections and all, but the games remain standalone overall and can still be enjoyed in any order just fine.


    Back to the game itself. Overall the game has a lot of charm to it and definitely pushed the series in a new direction in some very good ways. The gameplay system would return for two more games (which we will be talking about next) and the story both introduces lore as well as Geis who acts as your de facto rival in this game and ends up returning as a playable character in Ys Seven. The flipside of this is that much of what this game introduces to the series has since been done better, and while no part of the game is really 'bad', it just doesn't end up being as memorable as other games in the series. It also repeats the 'save a helpless cute girl' trope a bit too many times for my liking.

    The music remains damn awesome though. That's kind of a given. Some of the standout tracks in this game include the mystical Zemeth Sanctum theme and the theme of the final showdown with Ernst. Great stuff.


    Next let's move on to a game I'm a lot more passionate about, which takes the foundation now established by Ys VI and combines it with the story of an older game to make, in my opinion, one of the best remakes of all time.

  8. #8
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    YS: THE OATH IN FELGHANA (YS III)

    The third Ys game was known in the SNES era as "Wanderers of Ys", and was the game to introduce a lot of the western world to the series. Its reputation overall has been mixed, being a sort of "Zelda II: The Adventure of Link" of the Ys series, ditching the overhead view for a sidescrolling adventure and as already implied not really being about the land of Ys at all anymore, which made some fans sour towards it while others just loved it for what it was. But all that is in the past for now, as in 2005 the game was remade in Ys VI's engine to make "Ys: The Oath in Felghana", which we'll be talking about today. And oh boy do we have a lot to talk about.


    Felghana uses the same fundamental engine as Ys VI with some changes of its own. You no longer use three different elemental swords with magic super attacks, instead you get three different types of magic bracelets that grant you magic skills to use. These skills are not super attacks but rather recharge very fast and constantly so outside of having a cooldown they're basically just another fundamental part of your moveset. The awkward dash move of Ys VI is removed, instead you gain the abilities to run fast and double jump at certain points in the story. Finally, the magic super attacks are replaced with 'Boost Mode', a temporary self-buff during which you take half damage, don't get hitstunned, and attack faster and deal more damage all in one. And the meter charges more quickly if you're on low HP so it can allow for some cool turnarounds on boss fights. Notably however, unlike in Ys VI, you do not have any consumable healing items in this game. You can only recover HP on the overworld, or from random enemy drops, or at save points, so caution over recklessness ends up being the far preferred way to play.


    The setup is a simple and traditional one. After the events of the chronologically previous games, Adol and Dogi head back to Dogi's homeland of Felghana, more specifically the town of Redmont, only to find that the locals are having problems following a widespread increase in monster activities all over. Also, as Dogi meets up with old friends and acquaintances, he learns that one of them, Chester, is now the knight of a morally bankrupt local noble named McGuire and has been assisting him in exploiting the town. As you travel the area you end up gathering some mysterious demon statues and eventually help Dogi confront Chester to get a full view of what he's actually on about, because he knows better than anyone that he wouldn't just aid this horrible noble for no good reason.


    What makes Felghana in my opinion one of the best games in the series and, frankly, a genuine masterpiece is that it's about 10 hours of pure highlights. Not a second is wasted as you go from area to area each spouting some of the best music and overall atmosphere, capped off with a set of incredibly memorable boss fights. I'm not kidding, any single part of this game would be another game's highlight, and Felghana is just a game full of them in direct succession.


    While Ys III's gameplay was hit or miss, it always was considered to be the game with perhaps the best soundtrack in the series. And Felghana is a remake of this game and knows it. It's not satisfied with just having great music, it turns it up to 11 and really pushes every single track to be as epic as can be. Whether you're exploring a mine or traversing ancient ruins or climbing a snowy mountaintop or making your way through a horrifyingly dark cave, or even just shopping in town, the music never stops being amazing.


    Now something that absolutely needs to be said though is that Felghana is a hard game. Ys games never have been the easiest games around but Felghana is a considerable step above all others in terms of challenge. The first half hour of the game is pretty trivial, but then you get to the first boss of the game and you will probably get the achievement for dying 10 times right there and then. If you're used to Dark Souls style combat what you'll probably notice more than anything is the lack of a dodge roll or guarding option among Adol's repertoire of moves; you just have to actually physically move out of the way of enemy projectiles and at times place yourself in precise spots in order to do so. Eventually you do get the Earth bracelet which gives you a move with invincibility frames but that's not until halfway through the game, so it remains something to get used to. Bosses remain a spike in difficulty all the way through, however a couple hours in you'll find even the regular dungeons becoming quite hard. The challenge there is a different one; if you die on a boss you can just retry it instantly, but if you die in a dungeon you get sent back to the previous save point. I found myself ultimately often deciding to push forward until I got within 1-2 hits of dying and then fast travel back to the save point, saving whatever treasures and experience I'd gathered. I highly recommend doing this to make things easier on yourself. And if you really struggle, consider grinding out that last level or go back to town for a gear upgrade. It makes a highly noticeable difference.


    Given the fact that all these games have difficulty settings I think the easiest way to put it is that Felghana's "Normal" is any other game's "Hard". If you're looking to just experience the game without the difficulty factor, put it on Easy; or else get ready to face some tough challenges. But before I move on, I can't be talking about Felghana's challenge without also bringing up its final boss. Galbalan is one of the most memorable bosses in all of Ys, an insanely hard boss that is an absolute joy to battle with some of gaming's very best final boss music pumping in the background. It's a fight I've redone over and over again in Time Attack mode because it's just that damn fun. Now that's the kind of feeling you want to get from a final boss. Special mention to his English voiceover in the PSP version, which I didn't play, but apparently turns Galbalan from a mindless rogue doomsday machine into a super hammy evil demon dude which is smurfing incredible and I kinda love it.


    Again going to be diving into some spoilers here because I don't get enough chances to gush about this game. Story-wise as I said previously the game is not exactly novel, but it does execute its concept pretty much leaving nothing to be desired. I actually quite love how Chester is the actual promised hero and successor to the previous hero Genos, but Adol just crashes all that because he's a better damn hero than he could ever hope to be. The second battle against him atop the clock tower where he dual wields his own rapier and the sword of legend at you is easily the hardest in the game aside from the final boss and can be seriously maddening until you figure out when it's safe or not to attack. And then the reveal of the villains at the top. Falcom's habit of making every single NPC unique continues in Felghana and one of my favorite things it leads to is that you actually get to know a pretty interesting view of the ultimate bad guys as they are among the Redmont NPCs as well. Really for how simple of a story it is, it's just executed with such finesse I wouldn't want it to try to be any more than it already is.


    I'll leave it at that for now. Bottom line, Oath in Felghana is a smurfing amazing game, its gameplay is great, its soundtrack is nothing short of stellar, its story is done really nicely, and if you like its style, give it a try. Just, be prepared to die a lot in the process. The game is seriously hard at times. Let's now move on to the last in the trilogy of games that use the engine of Ys VI, and the only game in the series to not feature Adol as the protagonist.


  9. #9
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    YS ORIGIN

    Now for perhaps one of the best-known games in the series, Ys Origin has gained quite a bit of notoriety especially on Steam, probably mainly because its Steam trailer is super hype. Does it deserve it? Well, to put it very simply... hell yeah it does.


    As mentioned already, in Ys Origin you do not play as Adol. That's because this game is a prequel to the Ys I & II duology, taking place 700 years in the past when the kingdom of Ys was under siege by demons. Before the story begins, Solomon Shrine was lifted up in the sky to where you find it in Ys II, and the entire population of Ys with it save for the knights Saul Tovah and Toal Fact who stayed behind fighting off the monsters to ensure the spell would complete successfully. Now, some time later, the goddesses of Ys, Reah and Feena, have suddenly disappeared, and a search squad of holy knights and sorcerers is dispatched back down to the surface by teleportation. But just as they're about to arrive, a magic spell interferes with the teleportation spell and scatters the squad. The squad soon reassembles at the foot of Darm Tower, having received a pointer from a friendly tree that the goddesses did indeed go inside of it. And so the search party begins their climb of the tower. Very soon they realize that a group of bad guys, the Darklings, is also roaming the tower and searching for the goddesses, and things get more tense as it becomes a race to see who can secure the two of them first.


    In this game you take control of one of three distinct protagonists: Yunica Tovah, Hugo Fact, or finally, Toal Fact, who is not available initially needs to be unlocked by finishing either of the other protagonist routes. While the fundamental gameplay system is almost entirely the same as Oath in Felghana, the three protagonists each play very differently and don't have the same moveset Adol had, giving this game a very unique feel. Each of the protagonists goes through the same levels of Darm Tower in the same order, however, you will see different parts of the story and events will play out somewhat differently, which among other things also leads to different boss battles. And while Yunica and Hugo possess strong narratives of their own, Toal's route is the one that actually sets up the future events of Ys I and II and is therefore the canon route of the game, and as far as I'm concerned it's also certainly the strongest route narratively.


    Yunica is an earnest girl and a holy knight in training, and also the daughter of Saul Tovah, the previous commander of the order who is now presumed dead after staying behind on the surface when Ys was lifted up. She doesn't have any magic capabilities, but she is very physically strong and good friends with the goddesses, so she intends on following her father's footsteps. In terms of gameplay she plays relatively similarly to Adol in Oath in Felghana, as her wind skill is a spin attack, her earth skill a short range multi-hit with invincibility frames and her fire skill a projectile. Her regular attacks are somewhat heavier though, especially if you equip the fire skill as doing so actually changes her weapon into a stronger and slower one, giving her two interestingly distinct modes of attack. Her story is a pretty standard one as she's just a good-natured girl facing off against the antagonistic Darklings one after another and facing her own weaknesses along the way. Nothing spectacular, but it just works as a simple standalone story.


    Hugo is the heir to the Fact house, the most powerful of the six priest houses, and is considered a magic prodigy. He was sent to Darm Tower not only in pursuit of the goddesses but also with the special mission to take down the 'traitor to Ys', whom he has to face is his own brother, Toal Fact, who now works with the Darklings. He's highly confident in his own abilities, sometimes to his own detriment as he rejects help from his allies who he feels would only get in his way, but in reality he's being crushed underneath the weight of the expectations placed on him as the successor as well. He plays very, very differently from Adol and Yunica as his regular attacks are all projectiles and he can place a shield on himself as well as drop mines. He's honestly pretty overpowered if you play cautiously, but thankfully that hardly means his route is devoid of challenge. His story actually leads to the leader of the Darklings, Dalles, tempting him into becoming a demon himself to gain the power to face and surpass those expectations, and puts him on a road to discovering his own path, as well as facing that maybe his brother isn't as bad and traitorous as he might appear.


    Toal, finally, is Hugo's older brother and was the intended heir to the Fact house until he decided to say screw that and enlisted in the order of holy knights instead, becoming personal guard to the two goddesses and developing a quite close bond with them. After staying behind on the surface he has a demonic element implanted into him and cooperates with the Darklings both to survive and grow more powerful. Despite being supposedly on the other side he still conveniently fights the same random mooks and bosses, and overall plays like a more speedy and aggressive Adol, gaining a seriously useful quick dodge but having no ranged options whatsoever, making some of the boss fights play out very differently from the other two characters. The ingame reason as to why he's fighting the same enemies as the other two protagonists despite being on the opposing side is because as a demon he grows stronger as he feeds on other demons, and he doesn't give a damn about the others and gets free reign by the leader of the Darklings to do as he pleases so long as he aids them in their plans. He faces some of the allies from the other routes as bosses as well though, and while Yunica and Hugo routes end with a climactic showdown with Dalles, Toal is the only one to face off against the true final boss of the game, Darm. It's an epic tale and it both gives a lot of character to the goddesses while tying things together in a pretty impressive way, I must say.


    You may have already gleamed this much, but this game is full of fanservice. Insanely so. And I love it to bits. The entire setting of the game is the final dungeon of Ys I, Darm Tower, and while Falcom took obvious creative liberties to make it a unique experience, it still has all the same memorable setpieces from the original - the teleport trap, the Devil's Corridor, Rado's Annex, the mirror maze, and others - and the group of Darklings in this game are partly made up of the antagonists of Ys II, notably Dalles as well as Zava who was a late boss in that game. On top of that, the demon bosses you face in this game are all reimaginations of Ys I and II bosses, with their patterns being entirely unique to this game but containing loads of fun references to their original counterparts. Several of the plot points in this game also mirror events from those games, such as Dalles' petrification spell, or using the Mask of Eyes to find hidden passages.


    That's not at all to say this game is lacking in originality of course. It uses an entirely separate gameplay engine for one and thus plays entirely differently, and it also separates Darm Tower into six segments with distinct themeings to break up the monotony. A lot of the music contains leitmotifs that are callbacks to Ys I and II which are amazing, but the game has plenty of great original tracks as well, especially the game's main theme Beyond the Beginning which is pure hype. I will admit to be the highlight of both the OST and story was the true final boss in Toal route, beautifully calling back to the final bosses of both Ys I and II with rearranges of The Last Moment of the Dark and Termination, the Ys Origin version of which is easily the most haunting of all final boss themes which perfectly suits the fight itself.


    The gameplay I have to admit is the best iteration of the Ys VI engine yet. Fighting enemies in this game is just so damn fun. As with the previous games you may find yourself wanting to grind out a level or two before a boss and doing so is genuinely just fun. And while playing through the game essentially three times may sound like a grind, the different characters' playstyles plus being able to try out higher difficulties once you think you have things figured out keeps things varied enough to remain interesting all the way through. Still, even if you decide not to replay the game with the other characters once you've completed it once, it remains a fun and awesome game, and I still highly recommend it regardless. And hey, if you're more on the opposing spectrum and want to continue playing more of it after you've done it all, the game provides a number of bonus modes to let you play more of this game, unlocking EX versions of all characters that ever so slightly change how they play, and even allowing you to unlock Adol with his movesets from the previous two games for the bonus modes if you play them for long enough.


    Whichever way you play it, Ys Origin is a great game and I highly recommend it for newcomers and veterans alike. Even if you don't get the story references, you will instead get them if you move on to Ys I and II after this game, which is perfectly fine as well. And as a standalone game it remains seriously fun and epic to play. With this however we've concluded the era of Ys games using this engine and even general gameplay style, as the next game on the list changes things up heavily and in doing so marks another one of the series' greatest entries.


  10. #10
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    YS SEVEN

    Heading into the final era of Ys games and in the series' timeline the chronologically last of the localized games so far we have Ys Seven. Released for the PSP in late 2009 and ported to the PC years later, this game marks a heavy departure from earlier titles in the series in terms of graphics, gameplay and storytelling alike. The shift was met with mixed reception, but given all that came out of it, I couldn't be happier. And this game is absolutely one of the reasons why.


    So what is this great shift I'm speaking of? Well the game may reinstate Adol as the main character after Origin prequel'd him out, but it no longer has you play as Adol alone; instead it introduces a party system, allowing you to fight with up to three characters on the field at once and letting you freely switch between who you control directly and who is instead controlled by the AI. Your first alternate party member being Adol's longstanding partner Dogi, who is playable in this game for the first and sadly last time (so far). Along with that, the control scheme is change, removing the jump button but adding a quick dodge roll (finally!) and replacing magic from the previous titles with a skill system which I'll elaborate on more in a bit. Each party member also has their own attack type - Slash, Strike or Pierce - which is each effective or ineffective against different types of enemies, encouraging and at times forcing you to cycle through your party on occasion.


    Ys Seven takes Adol and Dogi to the land of Altago, arriving by boat in Altago City, a bustling capital full of merchants ruled by the king Kiemarl. The game wastes no time setting up its themes as your exploration of the city inevitably takes you to Old Altago, the drab slums right next to the bright and colorful city. Two minutes later you bear witness to one of the commanders of the city guard and son of the prime minister harassing a local flower girl named Tia, and because you step in like the protagonist you are, you get promptly put in prison with a bulltrout excuse. Thankfully another far more reasonable commander comes in and frees you quickly enough, in the process of which you learn that he's from the slums himself and worked damn hard and fought heroically in order to be granted his current title... and yet even so he's still looked down on by the merchant class and prime minister's son for being a "piece of trash from the slums". Lovely.


    Either way, since Adol's got himself quite a bit of reputation by now you're brought before the king who explains to you that ominous happenings have been plaguing Altago of late, including the rise of a strange incurable disease dubbed "Iskan Fever", and requests that you check out a nearby old shrine that was recently re-uncovered. There Adol is imbued with the dragon power by one of the Great Dragons of Altago, setting you on a path to travel all over Altago and get in contact with the different tribes to be granted blessings of each of the dragons to hopefully gain a clearer view of what's going on, and hopefully, put a stop to the rather worrying recent developments. As you do so you get to know and recruit members and elders of the different tribes and even run into Geis from Ys VI again who also happens to be on Altago at the moment and at first seems pretty exasperated to see Adol being a big damn hero again, but still joins you eventually anyways.


    The plot has some twists and turns to it but remains overall a pretty traditional "visit the elemental shrines and gain powers" setup. But it all works really damn well in unison with the gameplay loop. See Ys Seven adds a crafting system to the Ys formula whereby you gather flora and fauna materials from all over Altago and can use these materials along with some common gold to craft weapons. This also means that long with the natural powerups you'll get from the shrine each new area also holds new materials to discover, and excitedly seeing what weapon you can craft next from all the new materials you find is not a feeling I'd expected to ever feel again.


    A definitely notable part of what makes weapons in Ys Seven feel so exciting is because of the game's skill system. Ys Seven takes a page from Final Fantasy IX and has every new weapon you find allow you to learn a new skill and if you use it enough times you learn it and keep it even after switching to another weapon. Now the skill system introduced in Ys Seven sets the standard for the series going forward. Basically you can assign each character four skills, which you can activate by holding a shoulder button and any of the four face buttons (X, O, Square, Triangle). Using a skill is generally more powerful than spamming regular attacks, but requires skill points in order to do so. And if this all sounds bogstandard and unremarkable, it really becomes a fundament of the game's - and its successors' - combat in the simple fact that you replenish skill points crazy fast and will quickly find yourself maxed out, especially since charging your regular attack unleashes a strike that recovers a big chunk of your skill meter right away. So for efficiency you're encouraged to use your skills constantly and use charged regular attacks where you can.


    It's the details where this really starts to come together though. See when you land a hit it doesn't recover your skill meter instantly, but rather there is a very deliberate and slight delay to it which encourages the rather specific maneuver of doing a charged attack and then immediately unleashing a skill to have the recovery from the charged attack max out your skill gauge again (or get close to it) right away. In addition to this of course you have four different skills on your character at once which you can remap at will and different skills are useful in different scenarios which all plays together to create a surprisingly deep and fun system from just a few variables. Worth noting that the following games basically copy this skill system precisely only changing up the way skills are acquired and expanding your dodging and guarding options. Even so there's a certain magic to how well it works in Ys Seven, and that may in no small part be due to its challenge.


    I would not call Ys Seven a hard game, certainly not near the level of Felghana, but it is still a challenging game. It demands that you pay attention to it. The bosses in this game are seriously powerful and even regular enemies can become quite overwhelming if you play your cards wrong. The primary cause of this being that like with earlier games, avoiding attacks is still essentially all up to you. You have a dodge roll now but unless you place yourself in positions to actually avoid the enemy's moves you're still getting hit. The game does also give you a guarding option which is very powerful when mastered, but it can be quite rough to get used to, especially since if you mistime it you actually take forced critical damage. Also another major reason for this is that the game actually caps your healing items; while the rest of your inventory is unlimited you can only carry a pretty limited number of potions and revivals with you. So as you run through a dungeon or fight a boss it becomes a game of really figuring out how to avoid taking unnecessary damage lest you like watching your supply of healing items dwindle and deplete like crazy. And this gives the game's combat a serious edge that I enjoyed a lot.


    By the way this should be no surprise by now, but the game's OST is phenomenal. Certainly one of the more memorable scores in the series. First stepping out of the bustling city and hearing Mother Earth Altago begin to play inspires a sense of going on a fun adventure that's hard to even describe. And then you get to the first boss and hear a damn hype boss theme on a fight that's both unexpected and harder than you'd imagine it being, to show right away that this game knows how to play you. There's a lot more memorable tracks but some of them have rather spoilery titles and for a change there's certainly aspects of this game I'd rather not spoil for you.


    In conclusion, Ys Seven is easily one of my favorite games in the series. It introduces a whole new style of combat and exploration for the series and does it with remarkable skill while sticking to an overall traditional fantasy adventure plot but with Falcom's expected level of finesse and attention to detail, creating just an overall amazing game. The characters, boss fights and areas are all really memorable, giving a feeling similar to Felghana of being a game with very little padding, and that's in spite of the fact that you more or less travel the world twice. It's a wonderful entry in the Ys series and one I can wholeheartedly recommend to newcomers and veterans alike.


    Next we move on to another remake and the semifinal game on our list. Stay tuned!


  11. #11
    Radical Dreamer Fynn's Avatar
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    Iíve actually just started playing this. Itís pretty neat so far! The story seems a bit by the books right now, but itís very fun to play, very fast-paced. And yeah, the bosses are much more challenging than Iíd expect from the monsters in regular encounters

  12. #12
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    YS: MEMORIES OF CELCETA (YS IV)

    Time for a quick history lesson! Ys IV's history is a strange one indeed. Back around its initial release there were actually two games that were Ys IV, there was "Ys IV: Dawn of Ys" by Hudson Soft on the PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) CD-ROM, and then there was "Ys IV: Mask of the Sun" by Tonkin House on the SNES. How did that happen? Well Falcom were in a bit of a situation at that point and so came up with a draft for what Ys IV would be like and then outsourced its development to other studios. They approached Hudson about it, but then because why the heck not or something they also had Tonkin House do their own take on it. The result is two very different games both with the claim to being Ys IV. Both working off the same base concept but introducing different new characters and still overall playing out differently.


    Thankfully for us we live in the future of that whole mess, and the only game we need to worry about nowadays as being Ys IV is "Ys: Memories of Celceta", a Falcom-produced new game that incorporates elements from both prior Ys IV games to form one cohesive whole. It runs off the same fundamental gameplay system as Ys Seven while still introducing a number of elements of its own to the mix, such as expanded options for dodging and blocking attacks and no longer requiring you to hold the attack button to do charge attacks (thank smurf). The initial setup actually is that Adol has lost his memories due to circumstances unknown, but muscle memory allows him to still wield his sword and save the day right away. From then on it revolves around exploration in a very direct way as you're hired to map out the uncharted vast forest of Celceta, in which you occasionally come across memory orbs that gradually restore the memories Adol lost which more and more reveal that he's actually pretty intricately tied to the larger plot of the game already, and exploring the forest also naturally leads you to finding villages and settlements in its depths and uncovering more and more of its secrets. Each of these settlements feels heavily distinct from the last and they all have their own set of sidequests to interact more with their cultures, beliefs and traditions in a way that feels like a natural evolution from Ys Seven.


    It's at this point that I also want to get out of the way that Ys: Memories of Celceta is my least favorite of all the games on this list, and I've been struggling to put into words exactly why. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad game by any stretch, but "not bad" is perhaps the best way to summarize my position on the game as a whole; it doesn't do much wrong, but it lacks things to make it truly memorable the same way Ys Seven and Felghana and even the original land of Ys arc were. A lot of its playable cast is pretty one-note, its areas struggle to be anything noteworthy and its soundtrack is sadly the least memorable score of the bunch. And while Ys Seven was a challenging game, Celceta so is not. The game left me feeling like it's "just another one" a lot more than any other entry in the series ever did. And no amount of technical improvements can make up for that. Still, as far as being a product of its kind of game, it's undeniably a well-crafted one, and if that's exactly what you want, Celceta is absolutely a high recommendation.


    In a way perhaps the best comparison I can draw is that to me, the relationship between Ys Seven and Celceta is much like I view the relationship between Persona 3 and 4; the latter is doubtlessly a technical improvement in a variety of ways and introduces many fun ideas, themes and characters of its own, but in spite of it all it just doesn't form as great of a cohesive greater whole as the former, and at times leaves you feeling like it's ultimately an industry product crafted to give a particular kind of gaming experience, to be consumed rather than leaving you thinking about it for years to come.


    But enough about that because Memories of Celceta remains a good game overall and certainly has its own strengths and standout moments. This is definitely the game where sidequests started to come into their own far more, they feel a lot like the sidequests in Trails of Cold Steel in how they really absorb you into the life of an NPC and make you care about what you're doing because whether it's a mundane task or an epic quest it feels incredibly human in the way it's presented. I did all the sidequests and gladly so. The metroidvania aspect of the forest of Celceta also works pretty well as you find adventuring gear in later parts of the story that can be used to reach areas locked off in much earlier sections of the forest, and even early on you will find areas with enemies that are just way above your current level. All this helps the forest retain the feeling of not being a brick road for you to follow with each area leveled precisely to your needs, but instead have a sense of mystery and scale to it that goes beyond "you".


    The story of the game revolves in large part around a remnant Eldeen as well as the Darklings. Celceta picks up where Ys VI left off in tying together the lore, giving the Darklings a proper fleshed out background and once again showcasing the conflicting sentiments in its bloodline. Eldeel himself is a pretty memorable character, being both a precious dude you want to see do well and also being damn scary when the situation calls for it. And I must say, the element of delving into Adol's background was endearing. See the memory orbs you find scattered don't merely show Adol's memories of Celceta, but also of his younger life and how he was inspired into being the adventurous free spirit he is in the Ys series. I love how child Adol actually talks because he wasn't a silent protagonist yet back then and it's overlayed by this really nostalgic sounding tune that's perhaps the most memorable of the whole game for me due to how adorable these scenes can be and how well the music supports that feeling.


    Well I've more or less said my piece on this game. Don't take my word as gospel here, there are many people including people on this very forum who consider this game one of if not THE best game in the series. I'm really more the outlier here myself, but even then I need to reiterate that being the low point of the Ys series is a pretty weak criticism as that still leaves it being one of the best games of its kind. And hey, if you are interested in it yourself, Ys: Memories of Celceta is set to be rereleased on the PS4 very soon, which will most likely be localized as well, so be on the lookout for that.


    At last, it's time we take a look at the last Ys game released in the west so far, the game that got me into the series as a whole, and frankly, one of the best games ever made...

  13. #13
    The Alpha and the Omega WarZidane's Avatar
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    Celceta's actually my second favorite, after 8. It didn't change the series up like Seven did, but it did polish everything Seven introduced to the series, making it a smoother experience.

  14. #14
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    YS VIII: LACRIMOSA OF DANA

    If it's not clear by now, I adore the Ys series. I love how purely fun these games are, I love the simple sense of adventure, and the sense of genuine mystique from uncovering the lore of ancient places of legend. I love the way Falcom humanizes their characters and really makes them feel 'real' in a way other studios' JRPGs struggle to match. And whatever I may have said about Celceta it still is a game that has a lot of that. It has its place among this series of great games. But now what happens if you take that and just take it all to the next level? Simply put, you get a modern masterpiece.


    Ys VIII starts you off with Adol and Dogi hitching a ride on the Lombardia, a cruise ship, as hired sailors. Since the ship's passengers include a lot of different kinds of people, from noble to commoner, undercover investigator to secret gladiator, the captain hires you to do patrols. But just as the ship sails somewhat in the vicinity of the feared island of Seiren, of which no one has ever returned alive, it's attacked by giant tentacles, and while Adol quickly moves to fight it off, the ship ends up capsizing, all the passengers falling into the sea. You find yourself stranded on the coast of that cursed island, with all your gear from the chronologically previous Ys games at the bottom of the ocean, leaving you to use only a rusted sword you find nearby and neither Dogi nor anyone else from the sea anywhere in sight. Well damn.

    And then right away this track starts playing.


    Holy smurf. Yes. This game knows exactly what you're here for, and this track perfectly sets the mood. This isn't a tragic tale of horrified ship passengers being wrecked by dangers on a cursed island, you're playing an adventurer who just got shipwrecked on a legendary island full of mysteries and wonders, how smurfing exciting is that!?

    Soon after you start meeting up with some other castaways from the Lombardia, including Laxia, your second party member, as well as the ship's captain and Dogi who quickly begin work on setting up a base of operations in a suitable area. Adol's main task ends up being exploring the island, both in order to find and bring back stray castaways as well as to get to know the area to find out more about the island as well as how to potentially deal with that mysterious giant squid monster that sunk the ship in the first place.


    The setup of gathering up the castaways in the base ends up wonderfully marrying gameplay/exploration with narrative. Each castaway you find adds to your base a bit more, in a setup not unlike Suikoden. The fisherman teaches you how to do fishing and make a meal out of it, the tailor makes you accessories, the doctor brews medicine and special stat-raising elixirs. You start growing vegetables in your base which are tended to by a rather bratty spoiled kid trying to make himself useful. A stay at home mom can then make vegetable juice out of them that give you extra refreshment after meals. In addition, occasionally while exploring the island you'll come across natural roadblocks such as a badly placed giant boulder, or huge logs, or a broken bridge that needs to be repaired; at these points once you've gathered a certain number of castaways you'll be able to call on them all at once to make a path. And on other occasions the settlement itself is attacked, prompting a defense minigame where each castaway also contributes in their own unique ways.


    In doing all of this, Castaway Village becomes one of the best examples of story and gameplay synergy I've ever seen in a game. Because the cast all contribute meaningfully to the narrative as well as being useful and meaningful directly to you, the player of the game, it creates a sense of attachment to this group that just wouldn't be possible in a comparable way outside of a video game. This also translates to the game's sidequests, which come in the form of tasks the castaways post on a bulletin board, and there's an incredible charm in how simple and practical these are. Early on for instance a task involves finding the necessary materials to make some curtains for the sleeping area to allow the girls to get a more peaceful sleep. There's no pointless token quests in this game; they are ways you, the adventurer, can make yourself practically useful to the castaways around you. And of course oftentimes the result of them comes with direct gameplay benefits for you in return, which is always wonderful.


    Of course the meat of the whole experience is the gameplay loop, which feels better than ever. The skill and slash/strike/pierce system from the previous games returns once again but now the game is in third person view and you actually have a jump button again. Defensive options are streamlined as if you press either of the shoulder buttons just as an enemy attack is about to land you'll do either a Flash Move or Flash Guard, granting temporary invincibility as well as either superspeed or critical hits for a short period of time; while Flash Move and Guard were already in Celceta it's in this game where they really feel like a fundamental part of advanced combat as chaining them and figuring out the right timing to dodge boss moves is key both to avoid taking damage and deal huge counter damage in return. On the actual exploring itself, the different areas and sceneries of Seiren Island are striking and memorable and the OSTs accompanying all the different places is godlike. Seriously, I can't take an easy list of samples here, just put on the OST for a while in the background, it's magical. Like in earlier Ys games you find all sorts of adventuring gear that expands your options on how to interact with the world, and in a nice quality of life addition you can actually equip multiple at a time.


    The game throws in a number of spins on the usual formula as well to keep things from going stale. As previously mentioned, you occasionally have to defend Castaway Village from monster raids, having you defend base in a quick gauntlet battle. There's also the total opposite, expeditions, where it's on you to take down enemy bases when monster activity spikes in areas you've already been to. Some sidequests have you explore an area at night which completely flips its atmosphere on its head. And of course there's fishing and material gathering and gear crafting like before. I will admit that I don't think the crafting is quite as good as in Ys Seven, nor are the bosses quite as genuinely challenging and memorable, but the game more than makes up for it by making the actual combat and exploration more fun than ever and also having by far the best roster of normal enemies in the series.


    Now if this all sounds great already, this is only the beginning. The story of the castaways and pursuing the eventual goal of escaping the island by building a boat is one side, but as you explore Seiren Island, Adol also begins periodically having dreams of a girl named Dana. At first these dreams are vague and show you early excerpts from Dana's life. How she's an Eternian capable of using a power called Essence, and from a young age began making predictions that helped avert disasters. How she ends up being made the Maiden of the Great Tree. Over the course of the game these dreams start taking shape more and more and turn from slideshows into full playable segments where Adol and co. are left aside and you can play as Dana herself for a time. It starts to become apparent that it's not only Adol who dreams of Dana, but Dana also dreams of Adol in return, learning about the things he's experiencing and facing on the island himself. Over time the pair become aware of ways they can help each other out, and hopefully, at some point, cross paths.


    I won't spoil what happens, but safe to say Dana is the real star and well deserves her name being in the title of the game. As she comes more and more to the forefront Adol ends up being more of an observer of her story. That's not to say Adol or the castaway side becomes irrelevant either though, not at all. Dana's story has very real and direct consequences on the main cast as well and the two halves of the story continue to work together very well. In a way it's once more capitalizing on what Ys already did best previously; if the castaway side captures the magic of exploring a strange and wonderous unknown island, the Dana side captures the magic of learning about a mystical tribe that revere ancient tree gods and make use of powers long lost in modern times. And I have to say, I just love how the Gendarme, the giant mountain in the center of the island, acts as the perfect midgame literal tipping point where you scale the highest point of the island and get a taste of a view of what awaits you on the other half, and is ultimately where the game becomes more about finding out and understanding what took place on this island so long ago and less just about finding a way to get off it. All the while, the game remains an absolute joy to play both as Adol & co, and as Dana.


    I do have to touch on this game's availability a bit. You'll find this game on the PS4, the Switch, the Vita and the PC. Notably however, the Vita version was the first release of the game and is lacking a number of features and content that the console/PC releases later got, including this game's very own "Labyrinth of Amala" during the Dana segments and even a true ending with an additional final boss battle. As for the PC port, unfortunately it's been plagued by performance and crash issues since its first launch and while things seem to have gotten much better since, there remain some reports of crash problems to this day. So I must recommend, if you can get this game on the PS4 or Switch, get it there.


    Ys VIII is a culmination of everything great about Ys - and in a way JRPGs in general - and is a wonderful reminder that new games do not have to stand in the shadow of old classics, that they can take everything that was and still is great about classic games and take it to the next level to make a modern masterpiece. Playing this game not only got me into Ys, it also got me interested in finding out how Suikoden does the whole "gathering a large number of people that all contribute to your base" thing that so obviously inspired that part of this game, and when I eventually played Chrono Trigger later on I felt a large reminiscence of the same kind of progression in how at first the wonder of time travel and exploring a new era drives you before it turns more and more into figuring out the nature of an existential threat to the world itself. In a nutshell, the game borrows from the rich history of JRPGs as a whole and I love it to bits. If you can get your hands on it, I wholeheartedly recommend it regardless if you're a veteran or new to the series. The game's story is entirely standalone and requires no prior knowledge of the series whatsoever, not even making any reference to the Eldeen or Darklings that were a commonality of some of the earlier game's stories. So no need to hesitate. Get it and have a great time!


    This concludes our modern run through the Ys series of games. Ys IX has been released in Japan not too long ago so hopefully that will come to the west soon enough. You'll have probably noticed a lack of Ys V on this list, well, it hasn't gotten a remake and none of its old versions ever made it overseas, but given Celceta wasn't too long ago itself chances are looking good that Ys V will be Falcom's next Ys remake. For the time being, I hope this rundown has been helpful in some way, and I hope you enjoyed these writeups.

  15. #15
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    These have been really good write ups. I'll say my interest has been piqued. Good job!

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