In recent years, the JRPG genre seems to have been re-evaluated by the general public, thanks to the high quality of products arrived from Japan that have had excellent feedback from critics and audiences such as Ni No Kuni, Tales of Xillia or Bravely Default, so much so as to push the software house to invest and bring less famous but equally valid series to the West. Among these we find the Ys saga, a real outsider of the genre that debuts on PSVita with a new exclusive chapter.
I remembered you different
To the announcement of Ys Memories of Celceta a certain confusion has been created regarding the placement of this episode within the saga born in the distant '87. In essence, Memories of Celceta is proposed as a re-imaginig of the fourth chapter of the series, which at the time was divided into two different titles developed by as many software houses: theYs IV: Mask of the Sun by Tonkin Houses e Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys by Hudson Soft, becoming its official chapter at the same time.
As per tradition we will find ourselves impersonating Adol Christin, the historical protagonist of the series, who in this new adventure will find himself deprived of his memory after a journey lasting weeks inside the Great Forest of Celceta. With clouded memories and so much confusion, his past will be helped by Duren, a friend of the young Adol who will do his best to shed light on his recent amnesia. Obviously these will be the first minutes of the game that we will live in Memories of Celceta, and we will not have to wait long for the course of events to take a turn such as to push our hero to embark on an epic that will see Adol involved in a mystery that roots its origins in the past. During his journey Adol will make the acquaintance of numerous and eccentric characters as well as the places he will visit will reserve a lot of surprises, as well as awakening in him the memories that are now lost, reconstructing his past as an adventurer step by step.
We are a cheerful and lively trio
Ys: Memories of Celceta is proposed as an action-RPG in the most classic form of the term. During the numerous battles that we will face, we will have the control of one of the three party members, with the ability to switch from one to the other with the simple press of the Circle button. The attack instead will be entrusted to the Square key, which will allow you to perform quick combos in succession. Triangle and the Cross will instead be used for the defensive part, that is the parry and the dodge. These two actions, if performed with the right timing, will allow you to activate the Flash Guard and Flash Move, which respectively will cancel any damage received or slow down time during the escape allowing you to counterattack in freedom for a few seconds. Each character will be able to rely on a skill tree that will evolve based on the use of skills in battle, the greater the use of these moves during the clashes, the greater the possibility of enhancing their effectiveness and unlocking new ones. To limit the abuse of these arts it will be necessary to wait for the filling of a special bar, obtainable thanks to normal attacks. It will also be possible to rely on a powerful finishing move that will allow you to easily eliminate the biggest enemies and it will also become available as soon as the appropriate energy bar is filled.
Party members who do not participate in battles will also earn experience points, which are essential for character growth. It is interesting to note, however, to avoid fossilizing only on the use of three characters, how the diversification of the fighting style is useful during the clashes. In fact, many of the enemies to be killed will require the use of a certain character and that will make the fight simpler and shorter, forcing the player to change the team members very frequently.
Each match will take place in real time without gaps between one fight and another. The control of the remaining party members is instead entrusted to the game's AI, which takes care of managing the actions of our companions in the most optimal way possible. The only direct control that we will be able to give, in addition to the management of the equipment, will be to choose between two types of battle structure, one that will push the party to attack while another will force it in defense by blocking every action and it will be can be activated or not by performing a slide-in / out via the rear Touch Pad of Ps Vita.
A world to discover
Great emphasis will be placed on exploring the Great Forest of Celceta, the scene of all the game's events and which will host cities and dungeons to explore. The game map will not be freely explorable right away but will be revealed slowly, then leaving the player full freedom of action and exploration, discovering new arias accessible only if in possession of the right enhancement capable of opening new passages. Everything is regulated by the unique abilities of the characters who will accompany us on our adventure, and which will allow us to activate switches, destroy certain obstacles or open obstructed passages. This is also joined by the discovery of some talismans that can be activated in the menu of objects that give the parties momentary powers, such as the ability to shrink or breathe underwater, so as to further expand the exploratory possibilities of the group. Given the vastness of the game map, albeit divided into macro zones, the presence of some teleporters that allow, at least in the early stages of the game, to move quickly in the areas already explored, appears of primary utility.
As for the part relating to objects and equipment, it will be essential not to lose a battle and focus on the crafting of raw materials to be used for the creation of new objects by collecting in the appropriate points scattered everywhere on the map and to be used then in shops and armories as a bargaining chip or to upgrade your equipment, making it more effective and resistant to various elements.
Ys Memories of Celceta offers several hours of gameplay, reaching the threshold of 40 in case you choose to dedicate yourself to the exploration of the game map and the secrets that are hidden inside the Great Forest of Celceta. There are also numerous sub quests that can be activated in the inns of the various cities that we will visit and that will allow us to increase our finances or obtain extra equipment. Once Adol's adventure has been completed, it will be possible to restart the adventure using the two additional difficulty levels that will become available in the New Game +, which does not offer big news compared to the previous game if it does not allow you to obtain some otherwise inaccessible equipment, the possibility for trophy enthusiasts to be able to "platinum" the game and the Boss Rush mode, in which to face all the bosses of the game trying to beat them in the shortest possible time.
If Ys: Memories of Celceta proves to be an excellent chapter under the playful aspect and in the offer of contents, with a simple but at the same time fun gameplay, a story capable of thrilling and entertaining despite the mature traits of certain aspects of the plot, where the flaw is in the technical implementation. Not that the Falcom title is bad to see, on the contrary, it only appears dated compared to the technical potential of PS Vita, almost looking like a title born on PSP to then be translated to the new Sony portable console at the time of its announcement. Not even the polygonal models, always well animated, the numerous illustrations at the service of the narration or the vast and evocative settings are able to distract the player from this technical poverty that is accentuated by a chromatic pallete that fails to enhance the possibilities of the OLED screen of the console. . In addition to a subdued graphic sector as regards the realization, we also find some problems related to the fluidity of the game, which suffers during the most chaotic phases and during the huge bosses at the end of the level, which seem to put a strain on the computing potential of the console and a fixed camera that sometimes throws a tantrum, denying the player an optimal view of the action.
Ys: Memories of Celceta arrives in Europe thanks to the efforts of NIS America which once again proves attentive to the needs of the Western public, enriching its games catalog with an excellent exponent of the action-RPG genre. Given the niche nature of the Falcom title, the adaptation of the game, however, is present only in the English language, an element that for some could be a barrier although the quality of the dialogues is easily assimilated even for those with basic knowledge of the language. On the other hand, the dubbing is absent or almost, which limits itself to filling the long dialogues that intertwine the tens of hours of fighting, only in short crucial passages, leaving the player at the mercy of the text and the splendid music created once again internal theme that has been involved in creating the sounds of the series for years.
✓ One of the best chapters in the Ys series
✓ Great music selection x Graphically we could have given more
x Not too demanding
x Loss of fluidity and camera to be reviewed