Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ys Memories of Celceta - An Amazing Journey in the Great Forest! - Review

Ys Memories of Celceta - An Amazing Journey in the Great Forest!
Originally Published and Copyrighted by Blast Away the Game Review on 10/21/2013
Review by Dustin Murphy

  • Beautifully detailed landscapes, characters, side stories, quests, and even atmosphere!
  • Partially voiced characters at their first introduction is amazingly beautiful and detailed, very well done.
  • Very basic controls that are very quickly and easily learned.
  • Graphics and score make this game amazing, emotional, and largely engaging over its entirety.
  • Gripping side-stories come full circle before the end, allowing no open ended questions, no need for asking what went wrong, and of course a glimpse into Adol's back adventures.

  • Intermittent frame rate drops can be frustrating, but do not occur outside of cities, which is fortunate.
  • Weapon upgrades are very roughly explained, which leads to frustrating, and if not bad trade offs when actually upgrading.
  • Some instances of treasure hunting require the game to be replayed or revisited at certain points.
  • No notification of side-quests in other cities while progressing through the campaign. Players must revisit cities at their own free-will.

Final Verdict: 8.75 out of 10

Final Thoughts: When having played this game, it was like revisiting the series I grew up with starting back on TurboGFX-CD when visiting friends, and of course later on other consoles as the series progressed. However, until the PSP was released I really didn't get as heavy into Ys as I could now, with that being said - the game is a very well rounded story that involves our main character Adol, Doren, Ozma, and friends that players will meet over the span of the story. Thankfully with much of the game, players do not need to visit past titles to understand Adol's life in this game, instead the game focuses on events going on around the Great Forest of Celceta. This is truly a masterpiece that shines with the age of the series, now spanning 25 years, and now makes its way to the PS Vita on the anniversary of the series.

 Ys Memories of Celceta like any Ys game is a masterpiece in its own. The game like any of the predecessors features our main character Adol Christin who has inspired to be a great explorer, and before he does, would like to have explored the entire world. This adventure carries on that goal by taking players into the amazingly crafted lands of Celceta where Adol partakes in an adventure to explore the Great Forest of Celceta, and meet any inhabitants along the way. However, in this adventure, a misfortune occurs, and our hero is left with amnesia because of it. No longer remembering who he is, his past, or what he was doing; Adol takes on a mission granted to him by the Romn Empire. Shortly after starting the games, players will meet up with their adventuring partner, and a bit of a lousy one at that, Duren, who is your go to when you want slow-hard-hitting damage. Duren will remain that guy through the entirety of the story, which is a re-imagining of Ys IV that was released back in 1993. 

  After doing the introduction, players are able to partake on side-quests that will allow them to gain bonus experience points, items, and of course learn more of the back story to the area around them. This also allows for exploration of new zones, equipment unlocks, and of course more completion for the mapping of the Great Forest of Celceta. What does that earn? Money and items of course as well as trophies for those who love to trophy hunt! After a while, players will also be able to unlock teleportation stones so they can make their way easier through the forests without having to run completely forward and backwards to get where they need to go later in the game. The only downfall? For around half the time, players will be stuck going to teleportation stones of similar colors through each of these dungeons, which is unfortunate as players pick up side quests as they progress in the main story, and of course half to wait over half way through before they can teleport anywhere they wish due to an event that will happen later on in the story.

 After a while of adventuring players will find themselves at times rushing through dialogue, cut-scenes and of course, the one thing I found the most annoying, but overall it's not because of their dialogue; instead it was how often they are more than not. The game, while good is flooded with a lot of reading, animated cut-scenes that use the in-game engine, and of course at times beyond annoying characters. However, all that is quickly relieved by the games humor, which more often than not outshines the rest. Especially when the combat that takes place is shortly after. The game itself heavily relies on the story, quick action, and of course the after a short period, easy to pick up on occurrences that will lead Adol and friends to investigating occurrences in each area, and unassumingly so, lead players into dungeon crawling to find the cause. It is here where the game begins to shine, thanks to a very easy to use combat system as well as party system that lets players switch between each party member simply by pressing the circle button on their PS Vita. 

 In combat, each character has their own special combat play style, weapons set up, and of course unlockable skills that makes them fun more-often than not. From the close quarters and fast damaging Adol and his slashing damage to Duren and his brutal melee that allows him to break powerful enemy armor, but nothing like the piercing damage of Ozma who can easily take large crowds and put them at bay. This is simply just a sample of what these characters are like and the powers they keep with them. Truly fun to say the last for those who want a diverse play style and cast to accompany it. Each member will also level up their abilities whether the player is using them or of the A.I. is controlling them, this is something Falcom must have though through very well, and executed amazingly. In the fighting however, players will have moments where they've dodged perfectly or blocked perfectly, what does this do you might ask - it allows for a short span of constant critical damage, giving players a boost, and especially when they need it the most. Players will also get items to exchange, upgrade, and move to higher quality items so that they can empower their weapons and armor into more powerful items till upgrades can be found.

 As players explore while playing, they will come across instances where their screen will look as if it is messing up, it'll get lighter, foggier, and almost have a messed up image, but worry not; you've discovered a memory. These memories allow players to learn Adols past so that they can uncover the mystery of his adventure, why he forget what he did, and of course allow for an interesting take on the re-imagining of Adol's adventures through the world.

 Overall, Ys Memories of Celceta is an adventure that adds greatly to the PS Vita's already growing library of JRPG's, adventure games, and support for games coming out of Japan and shows there is home for such titles outside of Japan's fan base. This only makes us wonder, will we see future titles such as this one come forth in the coming years, and or are they done with the series? Regardless, this amazing story is truly fun, inspiring, and will leave players wanting to come back for more.

Graphics: Very beautifully crafted from the characters to the world and the way the designers left the game feeling rather retro in its entirety. 

Sound: As expected, the game carries a sense of high definition, well committed design choice, and provides an experience that will leave players wondering if they are watching a Japanese Anime.

Controls: Thankfully Falcom has made this something rather friendly to people who do not prefer advanced games, the game is beyond easy to control, and is explained thoroughly through tutorials created when they designed it.

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