When games are good, but fall short in very obvious ways, it's always a little disappointing. The game is fun! But it takes too long to get started. There's somewhere around 10-15 minutes from pressing New Game to being let out into the world. Around 4-6 hours into the game, you can get an item that lets you regenerate health if you stand still. This is a needed mechanic, since you're going to have to beat up on a lot of enemies to level up for the boss fights, but standing still is not fun. The game has a 'Boost mode', in which you deal extra damage and take less damage for a limited time, after you fill up a gauge that fills up as you take and deal damage. Why not tie the regenerating health to damage done in boost mode? That would set up a dillema for the player: Do I keep fighting since boost mode is almost full, or do I not take the risk and teleport back to town to heal? Instead, if I find myself in danger after clearing a room, I just stand still for 30 seconds. Somewhere in Falcom, a ball lays on the ground, dropped.
JRPGs get a lot of flack for grinding, and there'll be plenty in this game, but it's really not that bad, since only monsters that pose a threat give good experience and gold. I died several times while grinding, since I thought I could go just a little more before having to heal. It's a lot more tense and exciting than beating up Rattata outside Pewter City's gym. The story is cliched and filled to the brim with classic JRPG tropes, which I can sort of forgive for a game released in 2005, but I wouldn't hate the Ys series if it took a less serious tone in it's story department, maybe something like Half Minute Hero.
Four out of five Lennys
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