RPG Review #96: Ys

NuMetalManiak Yeah, what kind of name for a game is Ys? Even I'm not sure, but regardless, Ys apparently is a series of action RPGs that spans multiple platforms and somehow still around for some reason. Developed by Nihon Falcom. The first Ys is known as Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished, and has been released for 10 ports. I played the Famicom version, translated of course, although it was the version on the Master System that actually is the English-translated version. Regardless, our countdown is now to number 5 as we get closer to 100.

Gameplay: This has all the roots of an action RPG, the standard enemies on field, level and gold rising with each kill, a set number of levels needed to reach the next, along with some grinding that needs to be done, plus fetch quests for items. Overall field, town, and dungeon design is standard, shops only have a limited amount, and you've gotta remember to equip your weapons, armor, ring, and shield. Why is that? Because this game has a very simplistic combat mechanic. You have to run into the enemies to do damage, which is problematic because the player takes damage too. The best way to do it is to run at them from an angle, or the backside, while avoiding getting hit from that angle too. Due to the random monster movement, this is tough. The enemies are powerful, especially for underleveled heroes, and the endgame has enemies that are STILL powerful even with the best of equipment. If really unprepared, you'd just die in one hit. The game also makes boss battles difficult, although predictable. You can't even access the menu during battles. And combine that with some fetch quests, you can tell I have a hard time with this game. Grade: C-

Characters: The one character you control is named Adol Christin, a typical sword-and-shield silent protagonist. He meets several characters throughout, like Sara the fortune teller, Jeza, her aunt and the mother of some thief, and Feena, some amnesiac girl who gets rescued. Also the evil in this game is known as Dark Fact. Yes, that's his name. DARK FACT. Although there are two forms to him. Grade: C-

Plot: There's not much in plot. Adol reaches the town of Minea where he gets situated and hears from Sara about the books of Ys, giving Adol a crystal to reach a shrine. Adol then journeys to the next town to find Jeza, later entering a nearby shrine to free Feena. From then on, we get to know about the six books of Ys, which actually are acquired after beating specific bosses. After going around mines and doing fetch quests, we eventually reach Darm Tower, where after freeing a certain couple of bards (and getting freed as well from another thief), Adol finally reaches Dark Fact and battles him. Then he battles Fact, who reveals that Dark Fact is a double, earning the last book of Ys, the chapter known as Fact. Talking to Jeza at the end and having her read that chapter ends the game. Yeah, not much to it, typical fantasy RPG story although the artifacts are books this time around. Grade: C

Music: This may surprise you, but the music here is excellent. At least on the Famicom version that is, but this music was quite wonderful and drove me to go through these dungeons further. If it wasn't for this wonderful music, I really would've hated this game. Grade: A

Overall Grade: C

Yeah, this was rather lame, with a battle mechanic similar to Hydlide but done only a tad better, with a simple story and incredibly difficult gameplay. It's no wonder this is one of the higher-rated games on the difficulty list. But I still look forward to playing the others in the Ys series.