Ys I & II Chronicles
Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
The last seven months have been quite interesting for publisher XSEED. Since August of 2010, they have released four games in the Ys series, with the most recent being a remake of the first two in a collection entitled Ys I & II Chronicles. For games over twenty years old, it’s nice to get to see how the series started, but it also shows that sometimes the past is better left in the annuals of gaming history.
For the unfamilar, the Ys series chronicles the various adventures of the famed red-haired hero, Adol Christin. In the first game, you awaken in a hospital bed on the Island of Esteria after the ship you were travelling on was capsized, with monsters nearly killing you in the process. Once your wounds are healed, you learn that the monsters reappeared about six months ago, bringing odd occurrences to the island and to its people. Considering Adol’s adventurous status, as him, you will travel around the land and try to uncover what is actually going on.
As for the second game, it takes places shortly after the events of the first, with Adol transported to a new land - called Ys - where he must try to figure out the problems and secrets of this new world. At the same time, he still needs to rid of the monsters that plagued Esteria in the first game. Because Ys II starts almost immediately following the Ys I, jumping the gun and playing this one before completing the first will not only confuse you, but spoil some of the events that you would have experienced initially.
In general, both stories certainly fit the style of RPGs from the pop-culture decade (i.e. the 80’s) and the way it plays out also drives home just how much RPG presentations have changed since then. For starters, the initial story isn’t really direct, often requiring you to seek out every person in a specific area, hoping to trigger the correct ones in order to initiate the next story element. For those who enjoy exploring and playing at their own pace, this works well, but if you’re unsure of what to do next, you might become frustrated having to go through each village and talking to a number of different people before the next piece of the story opens up.
Interestingly, that the instruction manual actually includes a walkthrough for the first game, which should be helpful for some players. Although, if you’re stuck playing the digital version (instead of a UMD copy) and need assistance, your only options are either shutting off the game and referring to the digital manual when you have a chance or digging up an online FAQ to help you out.
Another aspect that shows its age is the lack of any sort of ‘tutorial’ to familiarize yourself with the actions. For starters, the Ys series is rooted as an Action-RPG but unless you actually bother to read the manual or do some trail-by-error, you won’t realize that in order to attack foes, you simply have to run into them. There are no button commands, everything is done just by walking up to an object, NPC or foe and the action occurs automatically. This certainly makes combat easier as you can just run around, collide into foes and begin leveling up, but, at the same time though, it does become quite repetitive, not to mention confusing to players who are accustomed to having to initiate everything.
In Ys II, the combat stays the same, but magical spells are introduced which do improve the experience to a degree. Also, the story flows at a much more steady pace and there are very few moments where confusion can occur. While Ys I is quite short and can be completed in as little as five hours, Ys II’s campaign length is significantly longer.
This isn’t the first time that the first two games in the Ys franchise have been remade. For this edition, XSEED has re-localized the game’s dialogue and included the ability to play both the 2001 version and the most current one. The key differences between the two are in the art-styles for the character portraits and three different soundtracks.
The redone art-style when exploring the world is actually quite nice. While not as crisp or detailed as the more recent titles, they do retain their 1980’s vibe and work well for the most part. As for the new soundtrack, listening to it while traversing the various locations is definitely quite a treat. The classic tracks are also good, but most people will lean towards the newer orchestrated soundtrack instead.
It was an interesting move by XSEED to release past Ys Games for those new to the franchise; unfortunately, the games certainly show their age, don’t leave that great of an impression and aren’t as enjoyable in comparison to Ys Seven or Ys: The Oath in Felghana. There is still some enjoyment to be had with both though, but unless you absolutely have to play every game in the series, I would recommend just passing over these.
+ Combat is easy to grasp
+ Three soundtrack options
- While easy to grasp, the combat isn’t well explained
- Gameplay hasn’t aged well and is quite repetitive
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Release Date : 2011/02/22
System : PSP
Publisher : Xseed
Developer : Nihon Falcom Corp
Category : Action-RPG
ESRB : T
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