|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Falcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Xseed Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 17, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
It may be difficult to believe, but the Ys (pronounced YEEZ) series has been around since 1987. Though I never got the chance to play the original Ys in its non-remade form, the original game's simplistic approach to the RPG genre made it an instant classic, and its basic formula has endured more than twenty years later. While the original Ys games have been enjoying several remake versions for the handheld market, fans around the world have been clamoring for some new content. Fortunately, Ys Seven continues the story of adventurers of Adol (the red-headed adventurer) and his companion Dogi in a cohesive way that is both friendly to those who have never played as well as longtime fans.
Like most Ys titles, Ys Seven starts out with Adol and Dogi arriving in a new country, Altago. The world of Ys is a fantastical place where adventurers are in no short supply, but this new country is not the most welcoming to Adol and Dogi, and before they've even battled their first monster, they are arrested! Fortunately, after a brief audience with the king, Adol and Dogi are found innocent and implored to investigate strange happenings around the country. As fate would have it, some ancient evil is stirring, and it will be up to your heroes to dispatch the evil and save the world!
The story in Ys is clichéd, and if you are thinking about picking this game up for a moving or unique story, then you may want to reconsider as it follows the straightforward template of a JRPG game. While the dialogue can be funny in places, even the banter between characters feels like something we've heard many times before. This is disappointing, as you would hope a series that has been around as long as Ys would manage to avoid re-treading so much ground.
Still, if you can put up with the clichéd story and occasionally boring dialogue, there is a lot to love about the gameplay in Ys Seven. True to its roots, Ys Seven has a simplistic battle system. However, it is important not to mistake its simplicity for blandness. The game starts you off with a single-attack-and-skill system that allows you to get familiar with the game's active battle system. Running up to enemies and hammering on the X button feels great, but the real challenge comes from being able to use your party members' strengths to go after enemies of various difficulties. The enemies in Ys are not classified into an elemental taxonomy, but are instead grouped by attack level and speed. So, if you have a slow but heavily-armored enemy, you will need to use Dogi, as his burly attacks will put more of a dent in the enemy's HP than Adol's regular sword.
In addition to using an enemy's type to your advantage, you can also develop special skills that will keep you competitive in battle. Although you can only use one character in battle at a time, you can equip and level up all the skills for your entire party and switch between party members on the fly. This is particularly useful if you are in a tough situation, as you can try out different skills and maximize your SP between your party members. Up to four skills can be equipped at a time, and activating these skills is as simple as pressing the right shoulder button and the corresponding face button.