Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PSP)
Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
It was only a few months ago when Falcom and XSEED released the latest entry in the Ys series. Ys Seven was a fun game that allowed newcomers to take a stab at it without needing to know anything about the backstory of its two key protagonists, Adol Christin and Dogi. Now in an interesting move, the first three games in the franchise are being ported to the PSP with Ys: the Oath in Felghana - a remake of Ys III - the first up to bat. This one plays out very differently than the aforementioned Y’s Seven, having a few design issues but is still a game most RPG fans will enjoy.
The Oath in Felghana sees our heroes, Adol and Dogi, make there way to the latter’s home for the first time in nearly a decade. His return is welcomed by all but changes are afoot. For starters, Dogi’s childhood friend has disappeared and monsters have begun to ravage the land. Dogi goes out on his own to inquire about what has happened while Adol is asked to help a group of people, including the Mayor, who are trapped in a nearby mine. This begins the uncovering of an evil plot from many years ago and hopefully the prevention of more harm being brought upon the land. This may theoretically be the third game in the series, but like Ys Seven, this is another self-containing story. For those worried about not understanding the characters or the events, breathe easy as it won’t be necessary.
This edition of Ys is a completely different experience from what we had in Seven simply because even though it is a new game, it’s still a pot of a game that was made long before Y’s Seven. For starters, the aspect of switching characters is gone as you will only control Adol and he will always fight solo. On top of that, Adol will obtain three magical bracelets which enable him to do various attacks and are required to progress through the story.
While the magic is necessary to progress, a weird design choice is the heavy use platform jumping to progress from area to area. When originally released, the use of platforms and jumping made sense with its 2D design, but in this 3D version, it does pose a few problems. There are a lot of sections where an enemy’s attack or a mistimed jump will see Adol easily plummet to the ground below. One section in particular during the final third of the game will definitely reveal these problems. This section contains a lot of moving gears and more than a few times the 3D level design led to Adol unnecessarily missing ledges and levers.
It wouldn’t be so bad having to repeat certain sections again, but it does point out some of the other minor issues in the game. These include the inability to store health items, the few and far between save points and the punishing difficulty.
Rather than being able to store or even purchase health potions, enemies will randomly drop them once fallen. While this works in principal, even on normal difficulty, enemies dish out a lot of damage and some are quite relentless, especially later in the game. Even with level grinding, you will still face situations where you will quickly lose health and creep up on Death’s door.
While Save points are a great way of replenishing your health, they are very few of them to be found and there is often a huge gap between them. The only saving grace to this is that when Adol perishes - and he will - he restarts in the last section entered.
Even with its punishing difficulty, the boss battles are some of the most interesting situations in the story. Each one is a challenge but as with Ys Seven, the right strategy will always lead to success. The battles often rely upon using the correct type of magic along with proper timing. If you do happen to fall in battle, the developers have you covered. If you happen to repeatedly perish after attempting a boss a few times, there is the option of lowering the difficulty during the fight to help you out. The decrease doesn’t ruin the experience but it definitely helps out those who may get frustrated to see Adol lose health at such an alarming rate.
As this is an update to an older game, there are quite a few visual and audio enhancements over it’s original form. In terms of visuals, characters retain a 16-bit look that includes over-sized heads and other minor touches that give the game a throwback feel. The environments are also well designed with a lot of variety. There are some locations you’ll visit more than a few times but thanks to the bracelets you obtain, each successive visit has you opening new sections to discover. The only downside with the environments is the lack of dungeon maps. There are a few areas where you can easily get lost in and it would have been nice to have an aide in those situations.
In a surprise move, most of the game is voiced. Theses aren’t incredibly memorable, but they certainly don’t feel tacked on either. Adol is still the silent protagonist but his actions are described by a Narrator and Dogi’s voice-actor does a fine job. The score is fantastic with great cues kicking in at the right moments that add to each area’s atmosphere.
The few sidequests available can only really be found if you look for them or accidentally talking to the right person. Because of that, expect to spend a good 12 to 15 hours in Felghana. The length is perfect as there are very few lull moments; you will be constantly craving more action and seeing how the story unfolds.
The self-contained story works perfectly and even if you didn’t have the opportunity to play any other entry in the franchise, you can jump into this and still manage to have a fun and challenging adventure. Issues aside, Ys: The Oath in Felghana is an enjoyable experience and one that both fans of the series and PSP RPG lovers will enjoy.
+ Challenging Boss Battles
+ Nice story
+ Good voice work
+ Fantastic score
- Platform sections are rather annoying
- Not enough Save Points
- Dungeon Maps would have been helpful
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Release Date : 2010/11/03
System : PSP
Publisher : Xseed
Developer : Nihon Falcom Corp
Category : Role Playing Game
ESRB : T
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