Legacy of Ys: Books I & II Review
Legacy of Ys: Books I & II box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Nihon Falcom 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Atlus 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 24, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

In fact, the second book suffers in a few ways that the first did not. For example, losing all your accrued powers upon starting the second part feels like a real kick to the cod-strap. Waking up on ancient Ys in a daze as a weakling is disappointing and frustrating. Also, Book II seems to have some spatial detection issues whilst inside dungeons. I often found Adol getting hung up on phantom bits of cavern walls, resulting in my untimely death. Finally, Book II is full of mini-pauses for loading that tend to curtail adventuring. Players will immediately notice that the town and overworld maps are broken up inconveniently by them, even though there isn't any more detail to the environments. If it weren't for the hook that was set by the first title, I may not have wanted to see the end of the second. I expect this may be the case for a lot of gamers.

Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot

Also, presentation, in both parts, is very dated. The graphics are devoid of detail except when presented with the colorful storyboards and sporadic cutscenes. Still, the storyboards do a nice job of capturing the look of previous versions of the game. So, as far as fan-service goes, the team succeeded at updating the game without losing its original charm and character. However, when compared with sparkling remakes such as the latest Star Ocean titles for PSP - Ys fans may feel they've been given short shrift. The music has been recomposed and remixed for the game. It fills the title with catchy melodies that are only somewhat bothersome. In fact, the music is actually quite pleasing - it is varied and changes often to match new environments and situations. All in all, I enjoyed the aural experience - which is a good thing because a copy of the themes is included with the purchase of the cart - yet the simple midi tracks are best left for the DS and not for your MP3 player.

As previously mentioned, controls are as simple as can be via the D-pad and face-buttons. However, a stylus-based method was also included. I found this setup to be awkward, so I didn't use it. That being said, it harkens back to the days of old when Ys players simply had to run into their foes to do damage. In fact, the devs still allow players to get a tactical advantage on monsters by attacking from the sides and rear. Unfortunately, it rarely works out to be much of an advantage for very long. Still, I enjoyed the fact that the touch-screen controls were reminiscent of the classic games even though they employed the modern tactile interface.

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After beating Book I, players will unlock a Time Attack mode as well as multiplayer functionality. Time Attack brings together all the bosses from the game, and it times the player's ability to hack through them. This mode is fairly superfluous, but some will enjoy perfecting their skills. The multiplayer functionality allows four players to hook up in cooperative play. This seems like a novel idea, but all four players have to have a copy of the cart. As such, I doubt more than two will ever get together to play through the game. Again, this is another nice idea that doesn't bring a whole lot to the gaming table.

Looking back upon my experience with Legacy of Ys: Books I & II, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised - many of these import releases aren't exactly my bag. Still, I found the games to be quite enjoyable despite their shortcomings. If you think you can deal with dated mechanics and lackluster graphics, the world of Ys will provide you with a lot of fun and an engaging story. If you simply can't stomach even genre-defining efforts from yesteryear, don't bother plunking down the cash.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.3
Graphics
Despite the extensive upgrades, the game still looks quite dated.
3.6
Control
The controls are very functional. The addition of optional touch-screen controls makes the game feel more similar to the original editions. However, the utter simplicity could be a turn off.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The classic and varied musical score punctuates the title. The fidelity of the midi-like tracks keeps the old-school feel but, at times, it just seems old.
3.4

Play Value
The inclusion of both Ys I & II along with multiplayer functionality gives players a good bit to wade through. Although, the simplistic action-RPG mechanics aren't compelling enough for a second playthrough, even though multiple difficulty levels are offered.

3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Containing two chapters of the heralded action RPG franchise, Legacy of Ys: Books I & II delivers the first two epic tomes of the famed saga on one cartridge.
  • Presented with a series of never-before-seen enhancements.
  • Playable in 3D for the first time on Nintendo DS, Legacy of Ys offers remastered graphics, a remixed music score, optional touch screen control, and local wireless multiplayer for up to four people.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge Legacy of Ys: Books I & II screenshot - click to enlarge

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