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

List of Games

* Canon to the series

Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand
Nihon Falcom
Reflections of Ys
By Jeff Nussbaum

To date, this is the only game in the series to have never received an official western release. After Ys IV returned to the series' roots, Falcom resumed development duties for the fifth outing, with the game being made exclusively for the Super Famicom (Japan's Super Nintendo). This title changes up things dramatically, by keeping the overhead view, but giving Adol the ability to swing his sword with a button press, as well as the ability to jump and hold up a shield to block attacks. He can move in eight directions, but can only attack and jump in four. There is a new magic system, which levels up with use, but most of the spells are lacking in practical function.

The aesthetic shows clear influence from Final Fantasy VI, with larger sprites, fewer primary colors, and a decidedly more orchestral style to the music. This has largely been the most divisive aspect of the game among fans, though it was also criticized for its short length (about 6-7 hours) and overly forgiving difficulty level. This last was such a common reaction that Falcom went back and rereleased the game as the much harder "Ys V Expert" a mere three months after the initial release, with virtually no other upgrades.

The storyline is a bit simplistic, with Adol arriving in the city of Xandria (uncommonly enough, showing up on an intact boat this time) to seek out the legend of the Golden City, along with its ancient tradition of alchemy. Along the way, he encounters the typical motley crew of NPCs, including a hero-worshiping kid who somehow manages to not overstay his welcome two minutes after showing up. It introduces the concept of time travel to the Ys universe, which has not been touched upon since, likely because to do so would complicate matters too much.

As the last game in the series before the eight-year hiatus leading up to Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, it lacks the clear focus that the more modern games have, and ties in fairly poorly to the rest of the series, with the exception of introducing Ladoc and Terra, who return in Ys VI. The original version is playable in English via a translation patch (made by GideonZhi of Aeon Genesis, in conjunction with yours truly), and is worth seeking out, but if you're expecting a landmark game in the series, you're apt to come away disappointed.

Editor's Note: Ys V was also remade for the PlayStation 2 (see screenshots below). Neither version was officially localized outside of Japan.

Screenshots (Super Famicom & PlayStation 2)

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