Friday, July 20, 2012

[Review] Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PSP)

The Ys series of action RPG games are supposedly a cult favorite amongst RPG fans.  Many have praised its soundtrack and fast placed hack-n-slash action platforming gameplay and after playing this remastered third entry in the Ys series, I would agree.

The story begins with series protagonist Adol Christin and his companion Dogi arriving on the remote island of Felghana to find their childhood friend Elena attacked by wild monsters.  As the prologue unfolds, our heroes learn that the monsters appearance is unnatural and it will be be up to them to figure out where they are coming from and put a stop to it.

The graphics in Ys: The Oath in Felghana features a 3D environment with 2D animated sprites for all the characters.  The game features a multitude of environments from forests, mines, ruins, volcanic underground caves, and a snow covered mountain to name a few.  Most of the monsters are rendered with sprites but all the bosses are large 3D models and they look really impressive.  During conversations, character portraits are displayed and most of the dialogue is voiced, a new addition for this PSP remake.  Almost all the visual effects in the game are presented with a glowing orb, which essentially are just hit-boxes for your attacks or an enemy.

The voice-over in this game is great, as it includes some of my favorite voice actors I recognize from many other JRPGS and anime.  But the music in the game is exceptional.  The game features a remixed soundtrack from the original release, which includes two sets of the old soundtrack.  Most of the best tracks in the game come from the later dungeons and the boss battle themes.  They're all fast paced rock tunes that get you really pumped.

The gameplay mechanics are all relatively simple.  The game is presented with a birds eye view on Adol and combat is simple button mashing with the X button with the occasional magic spell from the square button.  There's also a burst meter that when built up from combat is unleashed with a press from the triangle button which will grant Adol a significant buff and will heal a bit of health.  Weapons and armor can be upgraded once obtained, and their are consumable items which aid you in combat.  Surprisingly the game does not feature health recovery items, and you can only heal at save points, a full burst meter, or health pickups from defeated foes.  With no healing items means that the gameplay is difficult and you have to avoid getting hit, especially in boss fights where you can't even use any items.  The game features a wide range of difficulty modes from very easy to a almost impossible nightmare mode.

This game was very fun and one very classic RPG from the Ys series.  This entry is one of the best in series according to hardcore fans and I'd recommend this game to anyone who loves a fast paced action RPG or anyone interested in the Ys series.  This game also gas a Steam version and it is really cheap right now during the Summer Sale.

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