This game is a remake of Ys IV, and thus the story has been redone for this game. Adol Christin was an amnesiac who found himself ended up in the town named Casnan. There, he met up an old friend called Duren, and they worked together to explore the Great Forest of Celceta, as well as discovering back his lost memories.
The story itself is simple, but the plot is rather interesting as you try to discover Adol's lost memories as well as discovering on what he did previously before he lost his memories. The characters are interesting, despite minimal voice acting. However, they may fall to stereotypical character types of anime/manga series as they do not have much unique traits or personalities.
1) Exploration and Progression Section
This game's exploration is simple, as you can travel from one place to another by running. As you progress in the game, you can teleport back to Monuments that you have touched for fast ravel. You won't be able to do much fast travel early in the game as you can only teleport from same coloured and shaped Monuments, but you can fast travel to all activated Monuments as you progress later in the game.
The game progression is simple, as you travel to the objective points in the map. You may have to explore dungeons, fight bosses, and complete some puzzles to progress in the game. n many places, you need to use certain Artifacts to progress in the game, such as making your party smaller to get through small tunnels. Although the game's progression is simple, it can be repetitive and it is rather standard for many other RPG games.
You may also choose to do optional Quests, where doing them reward you money and items. Most of the Quests involve fetch and deliver items quests, as well as defeating a certain number of specific enemies. Some Quests, however, are missable as some can only be completed in certain timeframe of the game, and some of these Quests may have good rewards. You may also open any treasure chests in the game, and gather materials from Harvest Points scattered around the world.
2) Leveling, Upgrading and Customisation Section
As you defeat regular monsters and bosses, your characters will gain Experience Points, and they may level up upon getting enough Experience Points. Leveling them up will increases their stats. As you battle with different characters, the characters may learn a new Skill, which can be also leveled up to increase their effectiveness in battles.
You may use the money dropped by enemies or rewarded from doing Quests to purchase items such as healing items, weapons, and armours. Equipping the proper weapons and armours will give you better advantage as you progress in the game.
You may also choose to upgrade your existing weapons and armours. To do so, you need to spend a certain amount of money and materials to do so. Different materials may upgrade different stats of a weapon or armour, so plan ahead. Sometimes, it is much cheaper to buy newer weapons and armours, as upgrading weapons and armours may cost a lot of money. However, upgrading your weapons and armours can be beneficial in end-game or during New Game Plus mode as added status effects or stats can give you better advantage against harder enemies, such as in Nightmare difficulty. You may also craft new accessories by spending some money and materials, but you can only do so after completing a Quest related to it.
3) Combat Section
The battle system is a fast-paced real-time battle system, as you control your characters in real-time and fight enemies off. You can attack enemies with your weapon and use your Skills for higher damage on enemies. Each character will learn different Skills, such as Adol learning all sword-related skills. You may also choose to switch playable character easily real-time for both combat and exploration. Your party members will attack enemies on their own, or you can order to evade enemies attack using an order.
You have two abilities that are useful to survive. You can use Guard to reduce enemies' attacks, or use dodge to dodge enemies. Both moves have more advanced variations called Flash Guard and Flash Move, where using them allows you to negate any damage. To do so however, you need to time a Guard move or a dodge move against an enemy attack with proper timing. Executing a Flash Guard or Flash move so will allow you to inflict critical hits on enemies, albeit in a very short period of time.
Enemies have different resistances to different types of attacks, such as Slash attacks, Strike attacks, and Pierce attacks. Using the right character with the right advantage on different enemies will reward you more money, more materials dropped, as well as higher chance of rare materials drop. Some enemies, however, may not have any weaknesses. Skills consume SP, which can be obtained by striking an enemy with a charged attack, killing an enemy with a skill, and other ways. It is best to plan ahead when to use or not to use Skills during battles.
Each party member have a special skill called EXTRA Skill. This Skill can deal high damage as well as damaging large number of enemies. However, to use it, you need to fill up the EXTRA Gauge by attacking enemies or use Skills with high SP cost on enemies. It is best to save EXTRA Skill on hard enemies or bosses.
Boss fights are the highlights in the game, as they are more challenging than regular enemies. Some bosses can be stunned if you attack them repeatedly, giving you some time to unleash high damage on the enemy, or use the EXTRA Skill on the boss. Regular enemies can be challenging as well if you are not prepared, as some enemies can swarm around your party easily.
This game has solid gameplay system. It is simple, but it is rather fun to play especially the fast-paced battle system, exciting new areas to explore and challenging boss battles. However, the simpleness of some of the game's feature such as the Quests and upgrading system can be an issue for some as they do not have much depth for players to like. I do however, like this game's gameplay so much that I played the game again on Nightmare difficulty and the fun combat system makes me overlook some of the game's gameplay issues easily.
This game has moderate quality graphics, where the graphics work with the game's visual style yet no mindblowing itself. Regardless, I think the graphics look good in PS Vita's screen and the game performs rather stable for it's large scope of world to explore. Monster designs are well-done, and the character models also look good in the game.
This game has minimal voice acting, with very few voice acted dialogues during the game's cutscenes as well as voice acted battle grunts and quotes. The soundtrack, personally, is phenomenal with great rock themed pieces. Many of the game's dungeon themes are amazing, and battle themes in the game are simply exhilarating to listen.
This game has good replay value. You can play the game again in New Game Plus mode, carrying over your character levels, items, and your journal completion stats. In New Game Plus mode, you may choose to do a Time Attack mode against a particular boss, or you can do a Boss Rush playthrough fighting all bosses in one play. Levels and healing items are adjusted accordingly, but you can use your current equipment and party members. You may also choose to play the game again in Nightmare difficulty, the hardest difficulty of the game where boss fights and regular enemies can hit harder against your party members.
This is my first Ys game, and I can see why a lot of people like Ys games, particularly because the excellent combat system and the excellent music. Despite some issues, I would highly recommend everyone to get this as their first PS Vita game as it is an easy to learn and fun to play action RPG game. The combat system is one of the finest of all Action RPG games that I have ever played.
Final Score: 8.5/10.0 or 34/40
Pros and Cons
- Interesting storyline.
- Likable characters.
- Amazing combat system.
- Easy to learn controls.
- Many areas are fun to explore.
- Challenging boss fights.
- Fun to explore areas.
- Excellent music.
- Good replay value.
- Story ends a bit too abruptly.
- Game progression feels a bit too repetitive.
- Quests are too simple to complete.
- Moderate quality graphics.