Ys: Memories of Celceta is the first of the many Ys IV action-role playing games in the Ys series, and is developed by Nihon Falcom, Even though this Ys is only a reboot of a remake of two older Ys games, only the basic premise is shared as both the game play and some of the plot points have been changed. Due to this being Falcom’s first attempt at Ys IV, this is the most significant of the Ys IV titles and is already considered canon.
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America (EU)
Release Date: 21st February, 2014 (EU)
Genre: Role-Playing Game//Action, Fantasy
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Rating: 12+ (PEGI)
The game begins with the player assuming the role of the protagonist, Adol Christin, who begins the game with amnesia, wondering through the city of Cascan located the middle of the forest of Celceta.
Like any action RPG or any RPG in general, the game’s story telling and plot is superb, from the characters and their personalities to the story line and plot twists, all of it is captivating and alluring, drawing the player in to the land of Celceta.
The game’s main plot is very well told and very engaging, though at times the player may feel a little stumped on where to go next to progress; although, with a little exploration the player will most likely realise what they missed and be back on track.
The whole aim of Memories of Celceta is for Adol to find out both who he is, and how he got there. This involves a lot of great map exploration along the way, helping Adol regain his memories to piece together the story. The memories don’t just relate to Adol directly; the player finds memories of fallen enemies and other adventurers, which helps the player see the world from more than just one perspective.
Every playable character in the title is vastly unique both in terms of weapon variety, type of attack damage, appearance/origin and most importantly, in personality. From the likes of Duren who when you first meet, gives of the clear impression he only wants to be an adventurer for the money and complains whenever Adol agrees to do something for someone to characters like Ozma, who is the leader of a fishing village, despite his age who puts everyone’s needs before his own and you get a real sense of leadership from him and maturity.
Each town, like the characters, are very unique with lots of fun things to do in each one. Each time the player finds a new town, Adol discovers that he has been there before. This usually results in the town blaming him for something that has happened, restricting the player to familiarising themselves with the new town and initiating a new story arc. Once the player has helped the town out and they have realised Adol isn’t the one who caused the bad events, the town opens up to the player and permits access to a few little, new things. The most notable unlock, is the town’s quest board, which allows the player to begin undertaking quests for villagers in the town for rewards or unique weapons.
Also, in every town, the player will find stores where they may acquire new weapons and armour for the party, while also being able to buy items to help in battle.
A nice added bonus is how the player can practically upgrade all of their gear, with things they find on your journey, adding new effects to the weapons that allow for a higher damage output, increased critical strike chance, and much more.
Being an Action RPG, the game’s pace is fast and the action is frequent. The real time combat is smooth, sleek and fits perfectly. The player controls one of three players at a time, but the player can easily swap between members of their party. Whether it’s the Rock, Paper, Scissors style of damage in which enemies are weak to certain types of damage, to unique actions like “Flash Moves” that require the player to time a dodge or block perfectly, resulting in slow motion and rewarding the player with a few seconds of extra attacks, the combat flows brilliantly and tactically. With the addition of skills and special moves, the title offers deep gameplay in which the player’s own play style may vary the gameplay experience.
Boss battles also follow the title’s pace perfectly, and the game throws the player right in to a boss fight pretty much at the very start of the game. When Adol regains consciousness and the town miners are trapped, Adol and Duran (begrudgingly) go off to help, allowing the player to very quickly find out how well the games combat system works, even on enemies a lot bigger in size compared to the player’s party.
Furthermore, the title’s soundtrack fits perfectly. It really builds the atmosphere, whether it’s from just exploring the forest to the boss fights and the beautiful animated cinematics.
Whether this is the first Ys game the player is experiencing, or long term fans of series picking up the latest release, most players will enjoy Ys and all it has to offer. The games battle system is fast and engaging, the games plot is gripping, the controls are clean and well designed for the Vita’s layout.
The only real issue that the player will most likely notice is the fact the game won’t be winning any awards any time soon for its graphical quality, which may be a result of the title being the developer’s first PlayStation Vita release.
Another element that may niggle the player is that at times, the AI can appear a little unintelligent. Often, in the middle of combat, the player’s party will run and attack a mining node rather than the next enemy, or if the player doesn’t attack the boss for a moment due to dodging attacks, the AI will also decide to stop attacking the boss and refuse to hit it again until the player does so–even if the boss attacks that character.
These minor issues will not stop the player from fully enjoying this solid ARPG, as there is a ton of charm, action, story and hours upon hours of gameplay with little down time. Especially in the latter half of the game.