Ys Seven Review

Title: Ys Seven
Developer: XSEED, Falcom
Game Type: PlayStation Portable
Download: 434 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download, Direct Download
EU Availability: Digital Download, Direct Download

This review site has been around for nearly four months now, and we’ve come so far since the beginning.  Having just finished our first giveaway and with nearly 400 followers on Twitter, we have hit an important point in our site. It’s time for things to come full-circle with the site, and we’ve got a review ready for you that is perfect for that to truly come first circle.  Although this review will not be on a PlayStation Vita title, it will be directly related to the first game we reviewed here, back on December 8th.

When we had first established this web site, we had a review ready to be posted.  That review was for the then-new PlayStation Vita game, Ys: Memories of Celceta.  The Ys series has had an interesting relationship with Sony handhelds.  The PlayStation Portable had gotten three title in this series, one of them being a compilation of two games.  The biggest title on that platform was an original and new title in the series, and that is what we will have a review for today.  To come full circle, here is our official review of the PlayStation Portable title, Ys Seven.

Story

Ys Story

The story of the Ys series is connected to one another, but the uniqueness is that you don’t really need to play any of the other games to understand Ys Seven.  While it is continued from past games, it works very well as a standalone title.  All of the information you may need for other characters that have appeared before is explained within the game, itself.  So, there’s no need to play Memories of Celceta, Oath in Felghana, or any of the other games before you play this title.

Ys Seven showcases Adol Christin and his companion, Dogi, as they travel around the world, trying to adventure.  As adventurers, exploring other lands of the world is an exciting, well, adventure for them.  As the game kicks off, they are arriving at the kingdom of Altago.  As they dock and start to explore the kingdom’s Capitol, they see two girls being mistreated and step in to help them, which gets them thrown into prison by the Dragon Knights, whom were harassing the girls to begin with.

Soon after, upon finding out who they are, they are released and the King of Altago sends them on a mission to investigate freak earthquakes happening all over the kingdom.  As they travel, they run into giant monsters called Titanos and unweave a tale of ancient Dragons of the area awakening and lending Adol their power to save the world from an unseen evil force.

The story for the game isn’t incredibly deep and there isn’t a huge amount of character development.  There are some backstories for each of the 8 playable characters, but the focus of the game will be on the gameplay, and the character whom becomes the ultimate antagonist will remain the focus of the story.

Gameplay

Ys Game

Ys Seven is an action-RPG, much like the other titles in the series, but most like Ys: Memories of Celceta.  The fast-paced gameplay that the game features is something the entire series has had, but there are a lot of things in this game that were not there in past games, that only it and the PlayStation Vita title share with one another, most notably the Party system.

When you go through the game, you will be controlling a party of characters, ranging from one member to three members throughout the Kingdom of Altago.  While you are doing this, you will be fighting enemies, harvestings plants and materials, and exploring towns and dungeons to help progress through the story.  There is a lot to do, both with the main quest and a load of Side-Quests that are available to do as you play through the game and become stronger.

The first thing you will notice is that all party members are on-screen at the same time and follow you as you run around the maps.  Whoever is in your party is there with you and will follow you around, much like all party members are shown running around at the same time in games like Final Fantasy VIII.  You can swap control between these characters, whether you are in battle or in a town or village.  This doesn’t affect much in a town, but it makes a lot of difference when you’re in the middle of a fight, which will be discussed later in this section.

When you’re visiting a town, there are a few things to do.  There are some shops, where you will be buying items, armor, and weapons.  Buying weapons is pretty important, as they can either be bought or synthesized.  Synthesized Weapons are weapons made by combining materials you’ve collected from battles and in the field.  Weapons are also important because of the Skills they teach you.  The special skills that you can learn and use in battle are taught from weapons.  You must equip a weapon to learn its skill and you will need to buy and synthesize a lot to be able to learn everything for every character.

Other than buying new items, there are a lot of people to talk to in each town.  It’s important that you talk to everyone every time you revisit a town, because side-quests become available as you play through the game and the people holding them don’t tell you they’re available.  It’s up to you to find these people and start these quests.  Otherwise, you will miss them.  You get much-needed rewards for completing these quests, so it’s important that you always talk to everyone you see.

When you’re out in the field, you will encounter enemies.  This doesn’t just happen in dungeons.  When you’re traveling through the world, you will find enemies in dungeons, but also all across the map.  Pretty much anywhere that is not a town or a village has monsters pretty much everywhere.  This will definitely be nice for those that want to fight a lot to collect materials, but can also be a bit stressful if you encounter enemies that are too strong for you and you want to get away.

Combat happens in a unique way.  Like in Memories of Celceta, each enemy has a weakness and each character’s attack is a certain type.  There are three different attack types and most enemies are weak against only one of the three.  As you fight, you will find yourself constantly switching between your characters when you have different kinds of enemies in an area.  This will help you develop each of your individual characters as you play through the game, and you should.  For spoiler reasons, this is a game where you want to be able to fight well with all playable characters by the time the game’s ending comes around.

Fighting comes in two varieties, physical attacks and Skills.  We explained earlier that you learn Skills from weapons that you buy and equip.  You can equip four Skills at a time and those skills are learned by leveling them up.  Once you reach Level 1 for a skill, which is done by using the skill, you can keep it.  The interesting and unique part about this is that you don’t have to hit an enemy with a skill for its experience to go up.  You can fire off a skill a few dozen times at a wall or at thin air and you will still be able to level it up, which will increase the damage it does.

Skills are used using what is called Dragon Energy.  You can collect and use Dragon Energy by attacking enemies.  You have a gauge that fills up as you fight.  When you have collected a certain amount of energy, which normally takes little more than a few seconds at a time, you can start using Skills until the energy has been used up.  You can also increase Dragon Energy by a lot if you use a charged attack on an enemy, whether they’re weak against the attack or not.

There is also an attack you can use known as an EXTRA attack.  This is used after filling up a gauge that fills as you fight and damage enemies.  This is basically an Ultimate Attack, like a Limit Break or Overdrive.  Most of the time, you would use this on a Boss or if you need to clear a line through enemies that have surrounded you.  It does the most damage of anything, and each character has a unique EXTRA Skill.

Controls

The controls of Ys Seven is pretty simple, for the most part.  While it’s not nearly as simple as turn-based RPGs, it’s something that you can remember and get used to pretty quickly.  However, there are some things that would need to be addressed, especially if you have already played through Ys: Memories of Celceta before playing Ys Seven.

Movement is handled with the Left Analog Stick.  The Right Analog stick can be set for various things, but since the camera is in a fixed position and cannot be moved, there’s not much use you will get out of it.  Start opens up the customization menu, and the L button will initiate the EXTRA Skill when you have the gauge built up there.

The X Button is used for physical attacks, while the skills are used with any Face Button while R is held down.  The Square Button is used for dodging in Ys Seven, which is the biggest thing that will be weird if you’ve recently played through Memories of Celceta.  In that game, these two buttons were swapped.  The Triangle Button is used for bringing up the Items Menu, for equipping items and using special items.  Circle is used for switching the currently-controlled character.

All in all, it’s a pretty easy control scheme, to get used to.  The X and Square swap will be a little weird, for those of you that have recently played Ys: Memories of Celceta.

Presentation

The presentation of PlayStation Portable games on the PlayStation Vita is both good and bad.  The good thing is with 2D games.  The bad is with the non-high-quality 3D games.  Ys Seven is definitely not the most visually appealing game on the PSP, and that is more than apparent when it’s stretched and played on the PlayStation Vita’s screen.  When you look at the game, pretty much everything is full of jagged edges pretty much everywhere.  The game doesn’t look terrible, but it most certainly doesn’t look anywhere near as polished as Memories of Celceta.

If you can get past this, the game plays very well.  Load times are pretty short, for the most part, and the flow of the game is really smooth.  I have never encountered any lag while playing through the game and each area is loaded pretty quickly.  All in all, the game plays well.

Overall

If you’re a fan of Action RPGs, then Ys Seven is a nice choice for a bit of fun.  Although the presentation is definitely on the poor side, when stretched on the PS Vita’s screen, it offers a fun experience that fans of Memories of Celceta will definitely feel at home with.  It’s one of the best RPGs that PSP library has to offer.  If you’re a JRPG fan, you won’t want to miss out on this.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network rated Ys Seven a 7/10

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