Hey folks, Valkor here. The folks over XSeed really do love, not just the folks that love RPGs, but the ones that love the classic Ys series. A few months back, they released Ys 7 on the PSP, which yours truly has garnered it with much praise. Now we take things a step back as Ys 3 and Falcom have put out an updated version of Ys 3: The Oath in Felghana, which is a remake of the original "Ys III: Wanderers", exclusive to the Sony PSP. And it's a great mix of old and new; like peanutbutter and chocolate, baby.
Oath in Felghana follows the exploits of Adol, who on this particular adventure goes it alone. Sure Dogi is with him, but he's more or less sidelined as the main adventure is all Adol. The duo returns to Felghana, which is Dogi's homeland, to find that the place is ravaged with monsters. All clues leads to the local mine, where a statue has been unearth and now all sorts of creatures roam the land. Adol must use clues that he finds in the mines as well as what he finds across the land to locate the remaining three statues and piece together behind it all, which if not solved could not only lead to the destruction of Felghana, but the world.
Like all other Ys games, Oath in Felghana is an action RPG set in the world of... well Felghana. The land you traverse isn't much. However Adol's quest is lengthy as you'll visit the six key locales that includes one town, constantly. Since the map itself is quite small, you'll find that you're able to walk to most areas with ease, but you will gain an item that will help you transport from save point to save point further in. There are also three key items that you'll use to break walls, give you limited flight, or be able to burn things.
Adol himself is limited in weapons, armor and items. For weapons and armor, you can find or purchase 5 pieces each, meaning there are only 5 swords, 5 shields, and 5 pieces of armor in the entire game. However each piece can be upgraded with the ravel ore you find throughout the land, up to three levels. There are no curative items or remedies, and I mean absolutely no curative items at all. That means when you face off against a boss character, it's just you and your wits. That's not to say you can't heal; there is a healing cape later in the game, plus your extra bar will go up a level, when it hits full red you can access that power to gain some needed health, but not much. Oh and once you start a boss battle, you cannot access the special items you have or change equipment so be sure to be prepped and ready before you go in. The game is a bit forgiving that if the boss is too difficult, you can try again at a lower difficulty level. However, here's a good tip: If you've saved just before the boss, restart at that point and grind a level or two. Trust me the higher the level you are, the easier to take down the boss.
There's also some mini-quest that will either drop on your lap or the people of the town will ask you to do. You can opt out, but much like in Ys 7, but if you do, you'll miss some important items. And this holds especially true for Oath in Felghana as the towns people will give you ravel ore that you'll need to upgrade your equipment, which is really hard to come by early in the game.
The game has been given a major graphic and sound overhaul; now you get beautiful 3D rendered graphics, with a remixed soundtrack that you can change back to classic if you so choose (and I choose not to as the new soundtrack is amazing). Plus this title has voice-overs and some animated sequences to really flesh the game out.
What's NOT good about this game? If you were a fan of the classic, or you've become a fan after playing Ys 7, then Oath in Felghana is a definite pick up. What was once old is now new and this game shines of newness all over. Right from the door, the games amazing soundtrack, plus opening voice-overs will drag you right in. Graphics are sharp, crystal clear albeit everything is a bit small. After coming off of Ys 7, it took some getting used to, but it didn't take long. The controls are balls-on accurate, though some areas which require trick jumping take some getting used to. The game makes great use of the PSP's capabilities and it shows. However you'll never become too frustrated. I was actually gonna place the "no heal/remedy" items in the bad section, but after figuring out the grinding bit, then it just became all skill. You really don't need a healing item, if you know how to balance the boost energy. This game will push your limits, but you can prevail and that's what's important. The voice-overs were awesome... awesome in that campy, cheesy sorta way. And the ending is satisfying and will pull on your heartstrings a little. So in the end you get great graphics, great sound, just an overall great game.
There's only one town in the whole game, which means you get only one item and weapon shop. And each time you buy a certain item, the price goes up. So let's say you're able to purchase that revival necklace, make sure you use it wisely or else buying it again will be a pain in the ass. Also I find the boss monsters to be really cheap. But this is more of nitpicking than anything else.
Trying to fight those undead creatures; the first time you find them, they will kick your ass and then some. And once you're finally able to take em down... they get back up! Luckily there is a necklace that will make sure they stay down permanently.
XSeed and Falcom, you've done it once again and RPG lovers can rejoice that such companies have got your back. Not only is Oath in Felghana a classic with a new finish, but it's one hell of a great game. This holiday season pick up a copy to treat a friend, or better yet, treat yourself to a copy. Out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving Ys: The Oath in Felghana, 4.5 and it's been Valkor tested and TOV Approved.