They don’t make old school classic JRPG action games like the Ys titles anymore……is what you could have said around 5 years ago. Nowadays we seem to be getting a new Ys or Cold Steel title every year and that is most definately a good thing for the genre. How does this latest port of a Vita title hold up and is it worth it’s place in history?
Ys memories of Celceta tells the story of Adol. After Adol ventured into the great forest of Celceta he finds himself lost in the city of Casnan town. Adol finds himself lost without any memory of how he got there. In fact, he doesn’t remember anything about his life. Luckily for Adol he meets his old friend Duren, who tells him he saw him heading into the great forest of Celceta. After helping the town denizens from a mysterious attack by a monster in the nearby mine they meet the governor of Celceta, who is tasking people for mapping out the dangerous forest of Celceta. Of course, there is a reward of 30 million gold which is music in the ears of Duren. Adol on the other hand can’t refuse an adventure because he has the knack for arriving at the right time at the right place. It’s standard Ys affair and let’s face it, who would have any it any other way?
Ys Memories of Celceta is a beautiful game despite being obvious where it is initially from. The visuals are rich with vibrant colours. Ys Memories of Celceta offers stunning environments like lush green forest or a mining village or one of the many dungeon areas. The character models are a little stiff in the animation department but this is to be expected, even so the scenery and world around Adol and co is more than enough to not sweat the small stuff!
The voice acting in Ys Memories of Celceta is alright, nothing truly ground breaking but neither is any of the dialogue here. While Ys is a legendary series and justifiably so, this is usually down to the gameplay and the adventure, these aren’t know being the deepest in terms of character and plot development and this is really what sets the series apart from others. It’s not the tale it’s the adventure. The music is awesome, cannot say any fairer than that, Ys has that unique blend of fantasy and metal which has you battling and exploring alot longer than you will initally intend to.
Ys Memories of Celceta is in a word FAST. You don’t have to waste precious time with overly tedious tutorials and excessively long narrative instead the game pushes you right into action. You gear up with the best equipment you can buy and you depart from the city of Canan to the great forest of Celceta. One thing that has always been prevalent in Ys games is the grind, fortunately, with combat as fast and buttery smooth as on offer here, it’s hard not to want to fight anything and everything. It’s a real-time action affair and will have you dodging and blocking with pixel perfect accuracy to get the most of the experience
You will get rewarded if you finish your enemy with a special attack or by dodging/defending yourself at the right time. This takes practice but defeating your enemies this way is so much more rewarding than button bashing your way through. You can button bash your way through the weaker enemies but you don’t get as rewarded as with special attacks or dodging/defending. Furthermore, every enemy has a weakness. Some enemies are weak to slash attacks while others can only be defeated by force. This mechanic forces you to change from character and helps the game to stay fresh.
The map has a Metroidvania aspect in its exploration. mainly the want, nay need to explore each and every section of it. Like I mentioned earlier in the review, you won’t be exploring to hit the next narrative beat, that’s the bonus, the key here is exploring because you want to, because it’s fun and full of mystery that you want to uncover. Ys nails this.
The changeable characters also add to this, each character has a special ability be it picking locks & others have different ways to interact with the enviroment. As your party grows the ability to explore further into the Forest grows.
Boss fights are often a very test of your skills, you better have your dodge and block nailed down by the time you reach the big bads of the game. The music is raging the attacks are raining down and you’ll be zipping around firing off attacks where you can hope to slay whatever giant beast stands in your way. Most bosses are usually pattern affairs and it oozes old school greatness.
The game looks and sounds great, the performance here is brilliant bar being in the initial town where it seems to chug along much like it did in the Vita original. Bizarre that it’s still the case here but this and the odd stray lighting effect are the only issues I could find with this port, in my opinion, it outshines the original in every way.
Ys Memories of Celceta may seem a little stripped back compared to the previous Ys VIII release and that is genuinely because it came out before it on Vita. Don’t let that put you off though, Memories of Celceta is one of the best Ys titles in this lengthy series and it’s been almost criminal that it’s taken this long to come to consoles. If you haven’t played an Ys title or haven’t in a long long time (maybe you’ve just played through Ys 1 and 2 on Steam or the Turbo Grafx Mini) Memories is a much more manageable Ys title than that of VIII which went on a little too long in places and had much more focus on the narrative.