Review: Ys 1 & 2 Chronicles (PSP)

Review: Ys 1 & 2 Chronicles (PSP)

Lately, in the world of RPGs, a particular name keeps coming up, Ys.  Is it “Yeez” or “Whys” or “Yeece”?, I hadn’t even heard of Ys (the last one is correct) until Ys: The Ark of Napishtim, and I hated that game.  Well, hate can be a strong word, but, let’s just say I had the PSP version.  The game was plagued by long load times and plenty of other issues that just destroyed the otherwise AWESOME game.  I always meant to go back and play it on the PS2, but with countless other games I have yet to play, I just never got around to it.  Then, quite recently, I read about Ys: 1 & 2 Chronicles (Ys 12c) from XSeed.  I am totally a sucker for classic-style RPGs, and I can’t ever find enough titles that fit that “top down, action RPG” format, so I decided to check it out. (on another note, Kyle recently reviewed Ys Seven)

Ys 12C, is a repackaging of Ys 1 & 2 Complete, that was released for PC in Japan only.  This same release was repackaged about two years ago for the NDS, and called Legacy of Ys: Books I & II. The NDS version was actually the fourth time the game was released to North America, the first being on the TurboGrafx 16, and the most recent being on the Virtual Console.  When I looked for more background information, I found that there was quite a following for the series.  Seven or eight games, two OVA anime series, even an MMORPG.  With all this content, I was kind of surprised that I hadn’t heard of this series sooner.  When you consider how little of the series has been offered to the North American audience, most of it on systems that didn’t have much of a following (I mean really, who had a TurboGrafx 16), it’s easy to see why it was overlooked.

—————————————————————————————–

—————————————————————————————–

The game focuses on Adol Christin, our crimson headed hero, who finds himself washed ashore when the ship he was sailing got caught in a mysterious Storm Wall.  Of course, he is tended to by the local medic, and once nursed to good health, he meanders his way to a fortune teller who enlists his aide on a quest of dire importance.  He assumes the role of the hero, taking on the monsters and villains that terrorize this accursed land!  If it sounds cliche, that’s because it is.  But who cares, every story has to start somewhere.

————————————————————————————————-

 

Hero = Playa

————————————————————————————————-

There are so many ups and downs about this game, I don’t really know where to start.

Graphically, I love the old school feel to this RPG, I’ve always preferred sprite based games to polygonal flare.  Some things will always be better hand drawn.  Even though I love the quality of the sprites, and the little details in everything, the game seemed to have a motion blur issue.  The images seem to bleed together when I am running around.  I don’t know if this is related to me using a PSP 1001, but I will try it out on my Slim when I fix the screen this weekend. (UPDATE— The PSP 2000 had less of a blur but I still found it noticable)

————————————————————————————————-

 

And it came to pass that young Adol learned the hard way, not to play with fire.

————————————————————————————————-

 Along with the motion blur, the viewpoint perspective is a little off in my opinion, buildings are rather large when you are outside, and from the top down angle, it can make it easy to get disoriented and lost.  This, along with a lack of a map, causes many frustrating moments.  Yes, I said NO MAP! The game has no map – at all – and this includes dungeons. Oh, and there is no mission or quest log, either.  So, not only can you get lost, which you will all the time, but when you find event items, good luck remembering where it goes.  These kinds of things are common place in RPGs, even early NES games had maps!  The best you get are road signs that tell you distance in some kind of in-game measurement.

Speaking of things they don’t give you, a little direction would be nice.  This is where the quest log would come in handy.  Even a small, main quest reminder would be better than nothing!  Clues as to your mission are highlighted in blue text, so pay attention to what you are reading, or you won’t have a clue what to do.

————————————————————————————————-

 

Run Adol, Ruuuuuuuuunnn!

————————————————————————————————-

When it came to the gameplay and controls, I had mixed feelings there, too.  I was frustrated right away with the Square to menu button assignment, I am so used to RPGs using the top button, in this case Triangle, to access my inventory, why stray from the norm, and then not let me assign buttons myself?  Along with the lack of button reassignment, there is no “push to talk/action” button.  Simply walking into something, or bumping into it, will cause you to interact with it.  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I play RPGs, the NPCs can be almost retarded about their wandering, and often I have to push past them or bump into them.  This happens in many games, but here it causes a ton of unintended interruptions, which is really stupid.

In battles, however, I do actually like this feature, since it allows me to play almost completely one-handed (I do have plenty of times where kid/PSP multi-tasking comes in handy).  Though, even with it being handy at times, the battle system is somewhat flawed.  Enemies aren’t very smart and randomly change direction, often front-facing Adol when he tries to attack.  Circling enemies is the only way to land hits without taking damage, but often times I just plow through ’em, and rest to recharge my HP.

————————————————————————————————-

 

Joustfest 2011

————————————————————————————————-

I like being able to rest and recharge, but it would be nice if the action could be a little more involved.  Running circles around and ramming through enemies is kind of repetitive and leads me to not really fear most minor enemies in the game.  One good thing about it is that the gameplay feels almost arcade in nature.  Battles are fast paced and once you get a few levels in you, you can walk around zapping bad guys into a bunch of gibs!  I kept being reminded of games like Half Minute Hero, and Chronicle of the Radia War, where the fighting is just as rapid.

—————————————————————————————–

—————————————————————————————–

The music in the game is great, as are the sound effects.  And the game offers you an option to swap amongst the soundtracks of the various releases, even the original  NEC PC-8801.  Along with three greatly varied soundtracks, you can choose between two different sets of character art.  I liked being able to choose HOW retro I wanted to go, and the all new score is really good.  As if that wasn’t enough extras, there are now multiple levels of difficulty if you need more of a challenge, and a Time Attack mode for all you speed run freaks!

I would have liked to have seen some other content, like unlockable artwork, or maybe a video library, but the Time Attack mode and difficulty selection can add more replay, and an extra bit of challenge once you have completed the game. For me, extra tidbits are somewhat of a novelty; if they are there, I like to look over Special Features, if they aren’t, well then obviously I am not going to be looking at anything! 😛

————————————————————————————————-

 

Pew Pew Pew

————————————————————————————————-

Now, it may seem like I am just slamming this game and calling it bad, but I assure you these games are still quite addictive.  The pace of battles and the arcade feel to the game coupled with the old school quality and drawn graphical presentation, leaves you feeling nostalgic.  I know that most of the things wrong with this game are likely issues that existed in the originals as well, so it is nice to know that my frustrations have been replicated across the board.  Even though several aspects are indeed quite aggravating, I can’t stop playing.  For every bad thing in this game, there is something good in it as well.  If these issues didn’t exist, I would call this a perfect game.  As is, I would call it a “better than average” port and still recommend that you buy it.  I don’t mind the $25 price tag, since there are actually two full games to play through.  When you think of it that way, Ys 1 & 2 Chronicles looks like a gem in the bargain bin price range!

————————————————————————————————-

Something about his head placement bothers me.... (it's a priest for $%# SAKE!!)

————————————————————————————————-

<Even a Ginger can be a Mac Daddy>

 

  • I love ‘top down’ styled RPGs – Sadly, I don’t own a PSP, so I’ll have to pass this one up. -.-

    • Austin

      If you are interested, check out the other releases, many of them are on outdated and so called”safe” systems. These are systems old enough that their content can be downloaded and emulated without worry. There are plenty of translation patches, as well as ROMs already patched.

    • This series is also now available on Steam with many enhancements.

  • I love ‘top down’ styled RPGs – Sadly, I don’t own a PSP, so I’ll have to pass this one up. -.-

    • Augustine Alan Gatto

      If you are interested, check out the other releases, many of them are on outdated and so called”safe” systems. These are systems old enough that their content can be downloaded and emulated without worry. There are plenty of translation patches, as well as ROMs already patched.

    • Augustine Alan Gatto

      This series is also now available on Steam with many enhancements.

Lost Password

Sign Up