|Pub: XSEED Games|
|Release: November 02, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Though the Ys series has been around for decades, I'll be the first to admit that this great RPG series has flown under my radar. That was, until I played Ys Seven last year and was completely blown away by how well this RPG series brought refreshing depth to the handheld platform. Though the PSP (and the DS, for that matter) are bogged down with plenty of RPGs of questionable quality, Ys Seven proved that there was still room for innovation in this sub-genre.
Unfortunately, it seems that another chapter in the Ys saga is quite a ways off. But like any series that has increased in popularity with subsequent versions, the first few entries in the Ys saga have received the remake treatment. Though Ys: The Oath in Felghana is technically a re-release of the third Ys title (with a few re-worked plot elements), this title feels fresh, and even if you've never played a Ys title before, RPG fans will definitely find something to love in Ys: The Oath in Felghana.
The game's story starts simply, with heroes Adol and Dogi returning home from their latest adventure to what they think will be some nice down time. Predictably, all is not well is their hometown, and the appearance of monsters has our heroes worried. And unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the problems that have befallen the poor citizens of Felghana. An evil government scheme has left many of Felghana's citizens penniless, and the good mayor of the town has been put in jail in a remote cave. While the story in Ys: The Oath in Felghana starts off predictably, there are plenty of twists and turns, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the game's overall narrative.
Gameplay is Ys: The Oath in Felghana isn't good. It's excellent! Although I enjoyed the story presented in the first hour of the game, it was the action RPG gameplay that really got me hooked. Ys: The Oath in Felghana has an active battle system that allows you to use your equipped sword and slash through enemies with ease. As you mow down your foes, you'll rack up experience points, and if you can manage to squeeze in some consecutive hits you'll be able to rack up multiplayer bonuses, which make grinding and leveling-up a breezy and stress-free process. In addition to your standard physical attacks, you can also use magic attacks that you can power-up and improve upon at various pre-determined points in the game. I wasn't as impressed with the magic component, simply because I enjoyed leveling up my physical stats quickly, and I sometimes felt the magic component was underpowered during early parts of the game.
Still, even with this small complaint, I still found the game's battle system to be quite engaging, and though it can be tempting to hammer on the attack button, the game does an excellent job of throwing enemies and bosses that challenge you to think strategically about your attacks your way. You must choose the intelligent rather than hasty move. And thanks to a wealth of both drop and purchasable items, the combat in Ys never gets boring; there is always something new to check out. The game nails the action RPG format and is the best example of gameplay I have seen yet from the series.