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

List of Games

* Canon to the series

Ys I & II Chronicles
Nihon Falcom
Bump System
Feb 21, 2011
Reflections of Ys
By Limfinite

The moment I booted up the game on my trusted PSP, I knew I was holding on to something special. The beautiful introduction sequence provided a glimpse of the epic adventure that lay before me. It was my first Ys game, and to this day remains one of my favourite games of all time. The battle system took a minute to get used to, but I immediately got hooked. There aren't any attack buttons. Imagine a Rogue-Like where you push into your opponents to deliver damage (note: Ys is not a Rogue-Like). However, running straight on would get yourself injured. It's best to attack from an angle or from the back/side. It's very intuitive and fast-paced. Destroying monsters was incredibly satisfying when paired with the awesome music by Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage, Revenge of Shinobi), Mieko Ishikawa and Hideya Nagata. You also heal gradually when standing still, assuming you're not in a dungeon. It's worth taking the time to rest. I will admit... I died within the first 10 minutes because I rushed into the first monster I saw. Fortunately, I had saved before I left the first town. I then spoke to every townsfolk and learned that I should visit the next town and avoid monster confrontations along the way. Having played many other contemporary video games, I wasn't used to holding back and taking my time. Once I arrived at the next town and grabbed all my equipment, it clicked. This JRPG is different. I needed to play smart. The most complex part of Ys I & II is knowing what to do next. The answers aren't always obvious. The game makes you think, "I can't get past here, what did the last person say?"

Ys I & II breaks the fourth wall with its narrative and game mechanics. They go hand-in-hand. For example, the first game has a level cap of 10. Why? Isn't that low for a role-playing game? Ys I is split into two major parts. The goal of the first half of the game is for Adol to become a confident fighter. If Adol is not at level 10 by the time he begins the second half of the game, he is not ready (note: other Ys games have a much higher level cap of 50+). Another example of breaking the fourth wall is why Adol doesn't speak. The Ys series is based on journals written by Adol's hand. When people write a journal, they discuss their experiences and the people who they've met. They rarely describe their own voice. Why would they? One of my favourite Ys quotes:

"Each volume is comprised of a simple, honest assessment of events, with an emotional detachment that affords the reader a certain degree of personal interpretation" - Narrator, Felghana Archives

Chronicles is the latest canonical remake of the original Ys games, which were originally developed together in 1987. The two games provide around 20 hours of combined casual playtime and are worth every moment. The option to save at any time is incredibly useful and should be abused. You're also given the choice of two art styles, one from a previous version called Complete (2001) and the latest called Chronicles (2009). I recommend Chronicles, but that's just my personal taste. You can also switch between three music styles any time during play: PC-88 Original, Complete or Chronicles. The Chronicles version is performed by Falcom's in-house JDK rock band and is simply awesome. Furthermore, it's also worth mentioning that the games look beautiful on a Vita and PlayStation TV. I've played it on all three platforms, four if you consider the PSP 3000 and PSP GO as two. They're fantastic on each console and the fact that its cross-buy on PSN is a bonus.


Purchase on PSN

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All Ys Games, Art and Music © Nihon Falcom Corporation.