Ys Chronicles+ is a decent two-for-one package, though mostly only for the second of the two games provided.Ys IYs I
was originally developed in the 80's as one of Falcom's first games, and its age clearly shows. Normal enemies are all incapable of anything but walking in the four cardinal directions and attempting to ram your character for damage, with the only difference between enemies being the damage they deal, the amount of hits it takes to kill them, and the speed at which they move. It ends up making for pretty dull, repetitive combat once you get the handle of the bump combat system. This is slightly broken up by the boss fights, but sadly boss design typically only falls into one of two categories: Ridiculously easy, or obnoxiously random/luck based.
Money and exp distribution in Ys I
is somewhat unbalanced as well. You'll most likely reach the low level cap well before even starting the final dungeon (which makes up about half the game). You'll also get tons of money drops in the final dungeon, all of which is completely useless since you can't backtrack out of the last dungeon to buy more items. There is a positive side to this, however, as it does mean you can bypass late-game enemies without worrying about missing out on anything (unless you're an achievement completionist).Ys I
does have a few redeeming traits, though. There's a wide selection of difficulty levels to accomodate any player. The combat system is extremely simple and easy to pick up, and as a whole, the game is short enough for the combat to avoid getting too
tedious and repetitive. The story is decent with a fairly wide variety of characters. The updated visuals look nice, and the rearranged rock soundtrack is absolutely kickass.
Overall, Ys I
is not that
bad of a game, but its age clearly shows. I would only recommend Ys I
to players who are already fans of the Ys franchise. For those just looking to get into the Ys universe, I'd instead recommend starting with this game's prequel, Ys Origin
. Overall: 6/10Ys II
Now this is a massive step up from before. Ys II
pretty much addresses everything that was wrong with Ys I
Combat is much
more engaging. Basic enemies can now move in more than the basic four directions, and have varying traits beyond boasting different strength, HP, and speed values. Some enemies are immune to certain types of damage, some have projectile attacks, and some have much more erratic movement patterns than others. Boss design is much stronger in this game as well. Successfully taking one down feels like a good accomplishment, rather than being a free victory or a matter of getting a good dice roll.
Another big change is the introduction of a magic system. This allows for alternative combat options to the old bump system. You can use fire magic to attack at a range, time magic to freeze enemies and make them easier to kill, or alter magic to turn yourself into a demon and avoid enemies altogether. The amount of detail put into the alter magic is impressive; every single enemy spawn in the game has unique dialogue that you can trigger while in demon form.
The level system is now broken up from a short 10 level system to a more game-length-appropriate 55 level system. This allows for more consistent growth throughout the game with level-ups occurring at a fairly frequent pace. There is also a significantly higher amount of items for purchase throughout the game, ensuring that gold keeps its value throughout the duration of the game without abruptly becoming totally useless halfway through.
The strong traits from Ys I
are also present here: Good variety of difficulty levels, strong storyline and cast of characters, nice visuals, and a robust modernized rock soundtrack. The game is somewhat longer than Ys I
, but thanks to all the fixes to the problems mentioned above, that instead simply amounts to there being more of a good thing.
Overall, Ys II
manages to take the same formula from Ys I
and turn it into something pretty impressive, especially considering its age. It still stands up remarkably well today, and it's a game I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone who is interested in a more old-school action RPG.Overall: 8.5/10