Hey folks, Valkor here. As far as latest incarnations the Ys series go, I'll give credit where credit is due and say XSEED has done an amazing job of porting over and updating the original series, giving them brand spanking new looks and play mechanics that far surpass the original. Ys Seven was phenomenal and Oath in Felghana, while a step backwards, was a total blast to play. And then we come to Ys 1 & 2 Chronicles…
Ys I and II Chronicles take us back to the beginnings of Adol's adventures. In the first chapter, your quest begins in the land of Esteria where Adol sets out to find the six books of Ys. Afterwards your tossed right into Ys II; you actually travel to a placed called Ys, learn of its secrets and fight to save both Ys and Esteria from the evil that plagues them. Sounds pretty simple? Well it is, you'll be surprised at how quickly you'll traverse the lands, gain info from the town's people (most, if not all, you should speak to more than once since they'll have more to say), level up, acquire weapons and items, seriously this is the fastest action RPG that I've ever played!
But the land won't give up the ghost that easy. You'll have to fight your way through an endless army of mindless creatures, plus huge bosses that look to stand in your way. But Ys I and II features a unique play mechanic unlike anything ever seen in an RPG – you kill enemies by ramming into them. That's right, equip your best sword, shield, and armor and prepare to ram your way to the top. But there are also additional items that assist you, some you'll find in chest, others that will be given, and others you need to buy.
Seriously, there isn't all that much to this game. Not unlike Felghana and Seven, which have so much more going for it, Ys is a straightforward RPG. Anything, we'll discuss in the TOV Breakdown!
First off for a game that's about 20 years old, Falcom/XSEED have done an amazing of upping the graphics to take advantage of the PSP's capabilities. Everything is superbly sharp and crystal clear. Colors will pop out at you from everywhere. And the music is so amazing, and I'm talking about the re-orchestrated track. Yes you do have the option to listen to the original tunes, but why would you want to? Nostalgia? Come on, this is Falcom! These guys rock when it comes to game music and the tunes in this game is on par with the previous releases. Finally the game requires some series skill to get through it. Ram an enemy straightforward and you'll take some damage. But come at them from behind or an angle and you'll take em out without scarring. And the enemies are tough, especially in dungeons. And before you get that item that'll heal you while inside, those monsters will be tearing you a new one. That is until you level up and gain better equipment. Also you only get one heal item, so you have to use it sparingly because the shopkeeper won't sell you anymore and you can't hold anymore – just the one. So it all comes down to skill. And as arcade as it sounds, I enjoyed it!
The pacing of the storytelling is slow; way to slow for a game whose main character is all over the place. What kills it, is that you have to talk to most of the townspeople just to find out what exactly it is you have to do. Or some townspeople will speak so cryptically that it doesn't make much sense until you happen across what it is their talking about (I'm talkin to you, guy who wants the Rhoda tree seed!). Here's another example; in Ys 1, there's a young girl whose harmonica was stolen. Of course she wants it back so she can play beautiful music that the townspeople so enjoy. So of course you wanna find it… but where exactly do you start? Exactly! No clue. So you'll play through different dungeons and voila! It's in an abandoned mine that you visit long after you've talked to the poor girl. Gameplay wise, I would have preferred Falcom work off the Oath of Felghana engine, giving the player an attack and jump button rather than ramming into enemies. Seriously, I love Oath that much that as soon as I was done with I and II, I tossed it aside and picked up Felghana again; yea all that monster ramming? That got old, really quick! What's also sad is that you can use that one heal item during boss battles. Mind you, you're only allowed the one, so why not allow me to use it? Felghana had no heal items, but you had a boost option that gave you a quick burst of health. Now I'm all for skill, and yea you need it when playing chronicles, but this is ridiculous as some boss characters are extremely hard to beat. A little health goes a long way. And my biggest gripe with this game is the so called "autosave", which the game states it has right at the beginning. So I created my slot, commenced to play and when I died, I went right back to the title screen – no retry! Also I hadn't manually saved so guess what? I had to start all over again! No retry and no autosave??? Valkor is not pleased! So another tip to you guys out there – save and save often!
When you ram into an enemy, they'll burst into bloody chunks all over the place. It's gross and funny all at the same time.
I'm not completely disappointed with Ys I and II Chronicles, because the game does have its moments of fun. It's the little things that add up that makes wanting to go back in for another retread such a chore. Like do I really wanna go through that again? Or would I like to play a "good" game? I'm gonna go with the good and give Ys I and II, 2 stars out of 5. Pick this one up only if you've played the original and wanna check out the new PSP polish.