Ys Series - Digital Emelas: A Fansite Spreading Awareness of Ys

List of Games

* Canon to the series

Ys Origin
Nihon Falcom
Napishtim Engine
May 31, 2012
Reflections of Ys
By Johnathan "ABF" Sawyer

Editor's Note: Ys Origin was developed to be a companion piece to the original Ys games. It is highly recommended that you complete Ys I & II before playing Ys Origin.

By the time Ys Origin was released in English, I was still on a high from the masterpiece of Ys: The Oath in Felghana, and was more than ready for more adventure. It is a prequel that takes place 700 years before the events of Ys I & II. What was intriguing about Origin was that it did not revolve around Adol - instead, you would play as either an axe-wielding warrior named Yunica or a staff-wielding mage named Hugo. Hugo's play through would be considered "easy", as you could fire multiple spells from a distance and obliterate everything in your path like a shoot-em-up. Yunica's would be considered "normal", as her style with her axe closely mimics Adol's sword when it comes to combat - and she even winds up using two different weapons: her axe and a large sword, giving her play through even more variety.

The game takes place in the very same tower that Adol visits in Ys I... but in a much more, uh, "pristine" condition 700 years prior. Using the engine from The Ark of Napishtim for the third and final time, Falcom put together another grand platforming adventure. As with both Napishtim and Felghana, there are several different types of terrain to visit, ranging from your normal stone-type dungeon, to a desert, and even to an underwater area. Each area of the tower has several floors of the same style before graduating on to the next, working your way to the top. It may not feel as grandiose compared to the places you've been to as Adol, but it has its own unique charm.

What I believe to be part of the genius of Ys Origin is also what could be its biggest downfall - you can play as a secret third character known as... let's call him The Claw to avoid spoilers. To do this, a player must complete the game at least once with either Yunica or Hugo. While an unlocked character may not seem like a big deal, it's MUCH bigger than you can imagine. Why?
The Claw's storyline is canon.
Not only is his play through ENTIRELY different than the other two characters, the entire story and bosses are unique. Not just from a different perspective like Yunica's or Hugo's play through either; the true campaign is completely different. But because of the requirement of completing the game once to basically unlock the canonical campaign, many players may have missed out on this wonderful opportunity. As a single Yunica or Hugo play through, I'd say Ys Origin could be maybe a 7 or 8 out of 10; a great game, but nothing hugely impressive that Napishtim and Felghana haven't already done. But with the inclusion of The Claw's play through, it's easily a perfect score that rival's all others as the best game in the series.


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