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Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Nihon Falcom
Napishtim Engine
November 2, 2010
Reflections of Ys
By Johnathan "ABF" Sawyer

When I was younger, some of my most fond gaming memories were with a game on the Super Nintendo called Ys III: Wanderers from Ys. I hadn't played many games at all up until that point, but there was something about the cover art at the video store that piqued my 6 year old interest. Over the years I lost track of how many times I adventured with Adol through those lands, but little did I know that almost 20 years later, I would stumble across Felghana. A company called XSEED Games had released a new game for that same series by Nihon Falcom - Ys: The Oath in Felghana, for the PSP. The name didn't ring a bell, but the second I saw the artwork... I choked. On the art was Adol, of course... but also included were a blonde woman... a blonde man... and a clock tower with gears and chains. I immediately recognized what I had stumbled upon. Not many people get the opportunity to have one of their all-time favorite games completely remade, but here it was - sitting in front of me. I couldn't buy it fast enough.

Ys: The Oath in Felghana is the current canon of Ys III in the saga, while still holding mostly true to the original story. Everything about it was redone from the ground up using the engine from Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (which I somehow never managed to play between Wanderers and Felghana), and released first on the PSP -- and later on PC -- by XSEED. They are mostly the same game, with a couple of minor differences and one major difference. Obviously the PC version is going to have higher resolutions, but it also has Achievements, which the PSP version did not support. The trump card that made the PSP version the preferred choice of most is the voice acting. In either case, you WILL want to experience the game with the terrific voice acting, if only just to see one incredible scene.

I played through the PSP version 5 consecutive times upon release, but seeing as how there are 5 difficulties, that's not bad! The 3D platforming was a welcome change from the side scrolling (as experienced in Wanderers from Ys), with the artwork and environments fitting wonderfully while staying true to the original. The battle system was much, much more enjoyable - relying on skill more so than luck, with the difficulties balanced so that you're not always playing on what feels like Hard or Nightmare. The story was not only coherent, but was vastly improved and expanded upon to the point of actually developing bonds with the characters, which is something that was not easily done in games during the late 80's. And the music? Oh, the music... Sound Team JDK took what was already considered a fantastic soundtrack and literally perfected it to the point of it being (arguably) the greatest soundtrack for a Falcom game. For others like me with strong nostalgic ties, it's easily one of the best video game soundtracks - period. There are numerous times where you will just sit idly by and listen to it... and others where you seem invincible as it plays while you take on dozens of creatures at once. I could rave for 30 pages about this game... that alone should tell you how impressive the game truly is.


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