I'm a latecomer to the Ys series, but after playing, and enjoying, the original game for the first time a few months ago, I've become quite excited to play the rest. They're like much faster, much more action-packed takes on the Zelda formula, at least from what I've played and seen of the series. Ys I, II, III: The Oath in Felghana, and prequel Ys Origin finally came to Western PCs (to GOG, the Humble store and Steam) a while ago, and now publisher XSEED has announced that another is on the way.
It's Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, which originally came out on PC back in 2003, Alas, it too didn't release in the West originally, but that grievous oversight is to be fixed on April 28th. Ys VI will set you back $19.99/ 17.99/ 13.99 from the aforementioned stores, and it comes with a whole host of changes and improvements over the original game, and over the console and handheld versions that came out later.
There's a new translation, as detailed here, along with controller and widescreen support, checkpoint warping (one of the common complaints of Ys VI was that it featured too much backtracking), and a new Catastrophe mode that won't let you pack healing items for later.
Here's the typically hyperactive PC announcement trailer (thanks, Destructoid):
-Added true widescreen support. The old method is available in the configuration. -Improved controller support. -Updated movies for compatibility. -Changed some unlock methods. All difficulties except Inferno are now unlocked by default. Inferno and Time Attack unlock when any difficulty is cleared. -Slightly adjusted some system graphics. -Fixed a texture display issue on some systems. -Fixed an issue with cheats and an achievement. -Fixed an exploit with Istersiva. -Fixed some enemy collision bugs. -Fixed some minor leaderboard bugs. -Fixed a rare issue with clear data. -Fixed a text display issue.
This update fixes some issues that users have been reporting on the forums, and some extra error handling to help debug issues moving forward. The patch notes:
- Added an option to disable movie playback. - Made some minor corrections to the text. - Fixed some issues related to a couple achievements. - Fixed some bugs with control configuration. - Fixed an issue with a texture in the Zone of Lava. - Enabled generation of crash dumps to assist troubleshooting.
Currently doing rather well for itself on the Steam bestsellers chart, XSEED's milk-eyed JRPG Ys: The Oath In Felghana has been recommended to me by various corners of the internet. If you can stand to hear me harp on for a moment, I can tell you a little about it. A little? Well, I only played about 60 minutes of it, but have one hour on me.
For the first fifteen minutes, I screamed. It's all cutscene all the way, as boring cutsey pixel-people say boring things about something I couldn't give the faintest hoot about. I clicked and I hammered and I slammed and the talking just would not stop. With the game lacking an imaginative setting or an obvious hook, I was mere moments away from writing a post which may well have quite literally read SCREW YOU YS YOU'RE EVERYTHING THAT'S WRONG WITH GAMING. Then, finally, it relented. I was in.
It turned out to be a surprisingly wild time, and at odds with the increasingly negative preconceptions I'd developed during the waffly crap in the intro. An action-RPG requiring high-velocity death-dealing with a combination of sword and spell, it was exciting, it had a wonderfully silly soundtrack (Andrew WK let loose with a MIDI system, essentially) and a whole lot of things died at my hands incredibly quickly. I felt like a tiny god with a ridiculous haircut, and lo it was good.
Well, until I hit an irksome boss that required precisely-timed jumps and mastery of a finicking spell-aiming system to defeat (checking the setting that interprets analogue commands as digital is a must if you're using a gamepad, which is also a must). I was fourth time lucky in defeating it, but I knew didn't have the will to press on with something that would so casually interrupt joyful, high-speed monster-bashing. But the monster bashing that led up to that is indeed joyful and high-speed, a sort of lunatic take on Zelda or stuff like Chantelise and Fortune Summoners. I can totally see why it's garnering so much attention and it had a playfulness that's lacking in most Western action-RPGs.
It's fairly pretty too, a fusion of 3D environments and sprites and a large-ish hub city to wander around picking up new gear and, when scripting permits, quests, but while I dig the frenzy of it the tedious conversations and flow-wrecking boss fights mean it isn't ultimately something I want to persevere with. Which isn't a dismissal of the genre, just an honest admission that I get my happyfuntimes elsewhere. This certainly seems to sidestep many of JRPGs' tropes in favour of something more agreeably frenzied, so I can see the appeal and if I didn't have enough games to break a battleship's back stretching ahead of me, I suspect I'd give it more time.
Here's a trailer for you.
Alec Meer is a writer for Rock Paper Shotgun, one of the world's best sites for PC gaming news. Follow him on Twitter.
When redheaded thrill-seeker Adol Christin and his eternal blue-haired companion Dogi make an unannounced visit to Dogi's homeland of Felghana after an eight-year absence, it quickly becomes apparent that things have changed dramatically. Hordes of violent monsters roam the outskirts of town, a long-dormant volcano has suddenly sprung back to life and the new lord of the land has begun mercilessly and inexplicably extorting money from its long-suffering citizens. While Dogi seeks out his former combat master for answers, Adol tends to the townsfolk -- and finds himself embroiled in a world of political conspiracies, ancient legacies and unthinkable taboos.