The Vita has been stepping up recently with a slew of new games being brought over to the handheld. One of these new games is Ys: Memories of Celceta, a game that so enjoyable and well made that you don’t want to put it down.
Let’s get the worst part over with first, the story. The story in Ys is one of the most by-the-numbers and predictable RPG stories in recent years. The player takes control of Adol, an amnesiac who wakes up to find that he carries a great impotence to the fate of the world and must travel the land gathering a group of warriors to fight the coming evil. It’s pretty basic JRPG stuff, and the game never really does anything new or different with its storytelling that breaks away from this typical story. It’s not anything bad, but I wish that it took a risk or two when developing its story and characters.
Luckily the story is the only bad thing in Ys. The game’s aim is to deliver a fast paced action adventure that harkens back to JRPG’s of old, while also adding in new features to the Ys series that make the gameplay better. The game is an open world metroid-vania game that lets you travel anywhere you want, providing you have the items to get there. There are dungeons and towns scattered across the map that you can travel to, but the nice little twist here is that you are the one cultivating the map, meaning that you start the game with a blank sheet and have to find everything in the world. This makes every discovery feel special, because when you find a secret underground city, you found it on your own, there was no map and no guide telling you how to find it, you did it on your own. This just adds to the sense of adventure that Ys manages to capture perfectly that.
Combat in Ys involves hammering the Square button to attack, Triangle to block, X to roll and Circle to swap between party characters. As the game goes on, you discover new super moves for the characters and meet new people who can be added to the party, making the convoy of fighters even stronger. The combat is all about timing and dodging. Blocking or dodging an attack at just the right time will award the player with either a speed boost or an attack boost, and while it’s hard to get used to at first, it soon becomes second nature, and it feels oh so satisfying to dodge a bosses hyper attack and swiftly go in for the kill.
Speaking of bosses, they are the only enemies who really give you a serious challenge. These guys are like Dark Souls hard. Every boss will bombard you with an onslaught of attacks that can easily kill a character in a matter of seconds, and it is these bosses that truly test you dodging and blocking skills the most. The idea is to use special attacks to stagger the bosses to be able to unload a bunch of critical attacks on them. The bosses are great fun to fight, and some of them even reward the player with artifacts that give them new abilities. The only real issue I had with the bosses is that for the first half of the game they were incredibly challenging, but in the second half they seemed to get progressively easier. This may be due to you having so many healing items later on in the game, but it does feel like the bosses in the beginning were made to give more of a challenge than the latter bosses. This isn’t anything bad, and the bosses are still super fun to fight, but they just seem to become more frequent and easier as the story progresses.
Ys Memories of Celceta is one of the most enjoyable and addictive games on the Vita, up there with Persona 4 and Muramasa Rebirth. It’s doesn’t tell an original story, and it looks like a late PS2 game, but I can’t deny how much fun I’m having running around in this world. I would keep talking about why I love this game, but I’m sorry, I just want to get back to playing.
Thanks to NIS America for sending me a review code