A breath of classic fresh air
The long-running Ys RPG series can be a bit confusing to newcomers, particularly those new to Ys: Memories of Celceta. In the Ys universe, it’s actually the third game out of three to be considered Ys IV. This vision of Ys IV, developed by Nihon Falcom, takes precedence over the others. It was originally released in 2013 for the PS Vita.
Now, it’s made its way to PC, and as one of more than 25 excellent games seen throughout the series, it’s another fantastic throwback to a simpler time, with familiar RPG mechanics, an enjoyable narrative, and a meaty adventure that’ll be instantly palatable to anyone who grew up playing classics like Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger.
This game, effectively a reboot, takes on Ys IV: Dawn of Ys and Ys IV: Mask of the Sun. It stars series mainstay Adol Christin once more as he takes on yet another role as the franchise’s main character. Only this time, he’s got amnesia, which means this particular Ys entry is perfect for anyone just starting off with the games, since it’ll put you and Adol on similar ground.
Adol is barely able to stumble into the village of Casnan at the beginning of the game before he collapses in a heap. Something’s happened to him, though we aren’t quite sure what. Neither is he, obviously. Thankfully, that’s where the game starts to pick up, and you start getting to know this very famous character. Don’t worry, as there are hints at his past adventures along the way.
As he becomes acclimated to the new land, he quickly makes friends and is eventually hired by the people of Casnan for a monumental task: exploring and mapping out the mysterious forest of the titular Celceta. Of course, there’s more to the story than that—but the real show-stealers here are the battle and exploration mechanics, both of which you’ll be checking out a lot.
The enormous forest is where you’ll spend most of your time. It’s a living, breathing place teeming with nooks and crannies to explore, dungeons to conquer, items to pilfer, and of course plenty of enemies. From there, it’s just the same as any other RPG you may have played in the past in terms of navigation and its action-packed battle systems.
This game features some of the most intense battles you’ll find in the genre, and it’s made all the more interesting because of it. Each character you recruit, including Adol, has a specific weapon-based affinity that can help you turn the tide of battle back in your favor should you run into complications. With each party member given specific attack types, you’ll find that it’s pertinent in some situations to use Slash or Strike, when some enemies may necessitate a Piercing blow.
Some enemies are simply weak to one type of attack, but you’ll find that they don’t take much damage when you employ another. You can unleash powerful EXTRA moves when you fill the correct meter, and evade attacks and parry them in turn as well. There’s a lot going on in the heat of each battle, making it an exciting waltz that you’ll want to dance to over and over again.
Beyond combat and simple narrative exploration, Ys: Memories of Celceta feels like a fantastic adventure. It’s clear a lot of love went into its localization, its soundtrack, and its voice acting. While the Ys series hasn’t exactly caught on in the West like the indomitable Final Fantasy, there’s still very much a place for its unique twist on the RPG genre. If this is your first brush with the traditional series, you’re sure to want to come back for more after completing this journey.
publisher: XSEED Games
developer: Nihon Falcom