I used to read about this series sometimes, and the idea that the main character just sails around the world having exciting Adventures always piqued my interest. So, I finally shut up and decided to start playing them about a month ago.
So far, I’ve finished:
Ys I&II (whatever the versions on Steam are, cos there’s like a million versions I guess)
Oath in Felghana (also Steam version; I refuse to play Wanderers From Ys cos it traumatized me when I was little)
Ys IV Mask of the Sun
…And, I’ve been working on Ys IV: Dawn of Ys. I’d really like to just cut the crap and play Memories of Celceta, which replaces both Ys IVs as canon, but alas, I have no PS Vita. I’m debating whether or not I wanna finish Dawn of Ys (which everyone SAYS is better than Mask of the Sun, but I’m seriously not-enjoying it at all), or just cut my losses and move on to Ys VI. Also, if that sounds like a lot of games to go through in a month…you should know the Ys games are all short. Oath in Felghana was maybe 9-10 hours, but I’ve completed all the rest within about 5-6.
I have reviews of most of these games coming (and Bravely Default, on an off-topic note), but it’s been so long since I wrote a review that I am editing them slowly. Anyone have experience with Ys? Literally none of my friends that play video games have apparently even heard of it, so I thought this might be a fun place to spark up some conversation about it.
To be fair, this is probably a wise decision given how badly Wanderers plays (like all the other lousy RPG/Platformer hybrids of that era; save for Zelda 2).
Anyways, I’d definitely say that Ys Seven is the longest and most standard RPGish out of all of them since you’ve got seven playable characters, the need to collect farmable materials to acquire new weapons and armor for all of them, skills that level through use and are learned from said equipment, and your usual elemental dungeons first half/revisiting said regions for other dungeons second half. That said, the game engine is roughly similar to Oath in Felghana, the boss fights are generally top notch, and the soundtrack is as rocking as usual. Its definitely one of the games that made getting a PSP worth it (as long as its a 2000 model or better since the last thing you need is a ghosty piece of shit screen for a high speed action RPG).
Ys Origin is sorta the in between for Oath and Seven since it moves away from Adol in favor of delving into the backstory of Ys. You end up having three different characters to play through the game as and its a little less adventurey and more sudo-dungeon crawler since the entire game takes place in the Tower from the end of the first game. That said, its basically Oath if Oath wasn’t a remake of another game and allowed to do more of its own thing. Its also really tough on the higher difficulty levels. Its also Steam only right now so getting a plug and play controller will help a lot.
The only other games that I’ve played are Oath on the PSP (which is an excellent game), and Ys 1 & 2 for the TurboGrafx-CD(emulator on the Wii’s VC).
I also have Memories of Celceta, but I don’t have a Vita yet so I can’t exactly play it. I’ll probably post about it in the “What games are you playing?” thread once I get a Vita.
I played 1, 2, 3 (SNES and the far superior remake), I skipped 4-5 because MOON RUNES, played 6, 7 is on my to-do, adored Origins (some shit FINALLY made sense to me after) even if it had no Adol, as the playstyle of the characters was pretty different and fun (Fuuuuuuuuuuck the ‘Don’t Start What You Can’t Finish’ battle tho), it was well worth the buy. But it did make me buy an Xbox controller to plug into my PC because that game was gonna make me break my keyboard otherwise.
I’ve thought about getting Origin, but the main detractor for me is that I’m not really interested in Ys for the overarching story; I’m interested in the adventures of Adol Christin, specifically. A lot of the games’ charm also comes from the silly ideas I have about Adol as a person (I mean, he fucking runs into enemies until they die…and in Oath In Felghana, he does billion-hit combos, canceled into magic combos, canceled into more sword combos, etc. until the enemies are eviscerated. He might be a good guy, but he is fucking batshit insane!). I intend to finish the series, and then maaaaybe I’ll try Ys Origin.
All those games - Both different versions of Ys IV besides the Vita version, as well as Ys V - are in English, now.
Ys IV’s two versions have the same basic setting and characters, but they play out much, much differently. There’s Mask of the Sun, the SNES version, and Dawn of Ys, the Turbo CD version. As an aside, Dawn of Ys even has an English fan dub to supplement the translation, which is pretty cool.
Most people appear to like Dawn of Ys better, probably because the production values are superior…but, I think the game is boring, wildly inconsistent (yeah, there’s anime cutscenes and CD audio, but the in-game graphics are disgusting, and the NON-CD audio/sound effects are NES-caliber noise), the story flows poorly, and just feels too much like an apology for Ys 3. But, very much in the minority for that opinion, so who knows? I played both, because I intend to play Memories of Celceta soon enough, and it takes queues from both of the different narratives.
Mask of the Sun, on the other hand, is much clunkier, and some things, namely the magic system, are kind of obtuse for no reason. But, MotS makes Celceta a much more unique, exciting location to visit than Dawn of Ys, and the whole game is much faster, both in gamespeed and length (6 hours versus Dawn of Ys’s 8 hours), keeping it from getting boring/annoying.
Ys V has a cool story, but the gameplay is lame as fuck; it is like a really bad Illusion of Gaia knockoff, and doesn’t play anything like an Ys game. It was probably their attempt to get with the times, since Ys IV STILL used the “run into guys until they die” combat, but it just didn’t go so well. At the very least, the setting is interesting, and it’s very short (also 6 hours).
Anywho, I started Ys 6 this morning. It’s very…grindey. Also, it makes me appreciate Oath in Felghana a lot more. I now realize why people say Oath was “based” on Ys 6’s engine. So many changes, all for the better! But, the combat is still fun, and I’m sure I’ll be enjoying myself more once I’m grinding less. …Unless, in fact, the entire game consists of “get to new place, grind about nine levels, finish new place, repeat”.
Ys3 was an interesting Zelda clone with some fantastic tracks. Its action however doesn’t compare to Ys 7 and Ys 4 for PSP/PSVITA. Ys 7 is spectacular. I really liked IV but some aspects didn’t feel as polished as 7. Still I really enjoyed it.
Ys 1 and 2 are interesting idiosyncracies with interesting music but weird mechanics.
I really can’t wait to play Seven/Memories of Celceta. Partly cos I’m interested to see how the series evolves, and partly cos I just wanna see how the story plays out in Celceta (Before the Vita version, there was never a version of Ys IV actually developed by Nihon Falcom, so I’m curious to see what their take on the story is).
From what I’ve heard, Celceta is basically Adol Begins, preceding both his trip to Ys Country and to Felgana as evident by his sudden lapse in fashion sense (whereas Dawn at least takes place immediately afterwards).
That would be interesting, yeah…especially seeing as MotS and Dawn of Ys take place two years after the events of the first two games. The story is sort of a tie-in, and it makes 1, 2, and 4 a trilogy of sorts.
Easily, Oath in Felghana. Which might be nice for you - it’s a “do-over” of Ys3, so you’ll be familiar with the story. It just replaces the “Zelda 2” type combat with “Zelda with batshit insane combos” combat.
I did enjoy most of them, to be honest. I just can enjoy games under weird pretenses, sometimes. Like, the first two Ys games are archaic and not especially amazing; but, they are super fast, and it’s really funny to just run into enemies until they die. It’s funny to be overleveled and kill a boss in three hits. On the flipside, it’s funny to get to a boss that _just_plain_kills_you, usually after breezing through everything before that. It’s fun in a ridiculous sort of way.
But, realistically, I would have a hard time recommending the old Ys games to anyone, aside from Oath in Felghana and Ark of Napishtim, unless I knew they had the stomach for that sort of stuff.
7’s the best by far, its a bit of a toss up between 4 (VITA) and Oath in Felghana for 2nd place. I love the music from both. The combat is very fun for both but both are a bit more button mashey than 7. I totally agree 1-2 are ridiculous but entertaining. I haven’t played Origins yet.
Yeah, to be fair, I haven’t played 7 or Memories of Celceta yet, but I’ve seen them in action and they do look a like more “with the times” than all the previous installments. The other versions of Ys 4 play absolutely nothing like Memories of Celceta…but you could have probably guessed that.
Right now, I’m kinda tossing up between Oath and Origins (since they’re roughly the same mechanically speaking). Probably Oath, since while I feel that Origins gave Oath’s mechanics that extra bit of polish as well as three different modes of play, there’s fewer instances of “go back to the previous room and clear out these newly spawned glowy enemies to advance” in Oath. Plus I generally like the ascetic of running around the countryside for the odd plot coupon more than constantly dungeon crawling up a tower (and now we’ve hit the Lava Land section of the tower, now the Shifting Sands Land part, and so on…).
Well, I’ve more-or-less finished the Ys series. I played Ys Origin (I didn’t like it, but I admit that I was predisposed to not-liking it), and I just finished Ys Seven today (it wasn’t terrible…but, I didn’t like it). Now all that’s left is for me to play Memories of Celceta (although I’ve played both the original versions of Ys IV, so I’m pretty familiar with the story already). I have to admit, playing a game with the same engine as Ys Seven’s combat is not an exciting proposition to me. But, at least I know that the story won’t be bogged down in a bunch of metaphysical hot-garbage, so it has that going for it, at least.
There’s quite a bit of difference between the games depending on which version of what you’re playing. 1-2 are a little quirky but fun, Origins and 3/Felghana are one type of action and Ys7/4VITA have their own battle system. My GF and I really enjoyed 7/4VITA and 3’s a good game, I haven’t played Origins. 1-2 are worth the ride on a discount. Overall they all have excellent music and the combat’s pretty fast paced.
You know, I’m just going to throw a +rep at the Blazer Trilogy as well since those play more or less like Ys games (at least in spirit) sans any reference to red-headed swordsmen, wall crushers, or Cleria.
Plus, if I recall my video game history correctly, I believe that many of the people at Quintet (the devs of the Blazer Trilogy among other things) were staff on the Ys games prior to braking off from Falcom right around Wanderers release to make Actraiser.
That actually makes a lot of sense if you look at the old school games. I had grown to look at Ys as more like the original zelda / LTTP, not the boring evolution into OOT and its sequels or God of War without the gratuitous violence, sex and puzzles.