[Review] Ys Origin – A Gem returns?
Review Key was provided by DotEmu
Ys Origin, a game originally released in 2006 gets re-released or remastered(?) on PS4 and Vita (got delayed to March) but is it still a good game? Was it worth the port or is it just an old and clunky mess? Well, let´s find out!
Ys Origin is a prequel to Ys 1 and 2 and tells the story of either Yunica or Hugo, depending of who you choose, and how they try to find their disappeared goddesses in the tower of the demons and rescue them.
While this might sound like a big clichée the story rapidly develops into a big mysteria, why are other people in this tower and why are they hunting your allies? Why did the goddesses went into the tower by themselves? These and more questions will come up during the first hour of Yunica´s campaign (didn´t play Hugo yet), developing into an interesting story full of mysteries. Even tho a lot characters stay rather bland and just serve as item venders.
As hinted before, that´s not the only thing Ys Origin has to offer when it comes to Story, you will also experience a slightly different story depending on the character you choose. Ys Origin isn´t a game that just changes the picture and model of your hero, no, every character experiences his own custom story, even tho the both are pretty similar. The biggest surprise however was the fact that you get a 3rd character, when you completed the story for the first time and man, that´s something amazing.
This 3rd character isn´t just a gimmick, it´s actually a whole new story that will catch you completly off guard. I love things like that and I wouldn´t want to miss it, even tho I´m only half way in this campaign yet, I´m enjoying the story nearly as much as I played it for the first time.
So, I can´t really critizise much, except thet fact that some characters just stay very bland.
Ys Origin´s base Gameplay isn´t really challenging, you fight your way through the demon´s tower. To help you slay those damn beasts you have some basic combos and things like jumping attacks mixed with 3 different special moves you will unlock during the game. While this isn´t a real innovation and nothing new, especially in our time, it feels responsive, fast and very precise. A solid execution of a basic concept.
Additionally everyone of your 3 different characters has it´s own playstyle, Yunica for example has an axe and smybolizes the “classic” warrior, with medium range and rather fast attacks. Hugo on the other hand is a magician, who fights with spells, which makes him more powerfull and enables him to attack on long range but in exchange he´s rather slow. Not only offers every character his own story but his own moveset and difficulties too, drastically increasing the replayability!
The main appeal of Ys Origin´s Combat system however are the “buffs”, your enemies will drop when you kill them. For every killed monster you will gain either a bonus on your attack damage, defense or skill power for a limited time. So, the faster you kill the demons the more powerfull you get giving this yet basic combat a very good flow and speed, which I wouldn´t have expected at first glance.
As you fight your way through the giant tower you will encounter different enemies in different territories, like the flooded cellars etc. making the game´s visuals not as repetitive as they might seem. And after some time, there will be a boss you need to fight in order to progress and here lays the biggest strength of Ys Origin´s combat. Every boss has a unique mechanic, attack pattern and needs a different tactic to be defeated. Combined with their high damage they mix up to a very thrilling experience every few levels, perfectly underlined by the amazing Soundtrack of this game. Every boss encounter is something unique and great.
The only downside I have witht he game´s mechanic´s are the key items, you will find during the game. Items in Ys Origin are rare and often only serve one purpose like unlocking a door or finding a specific hidden passage to progress in the story. The game just doesn´t give you enough freedom to experiment with the items, in my opinion, it rather guides you through its story. This might not be a big deal for most people but I just wanted to mention it, since I´m a huge fan of freedom in games.
Ys Origin isn´t the most complex action-rpg but it gets its mechanics on point, mixed with the high variation of enemies and amazing bosses I have no choice than to love it!
Last but not least, let´s talk about the most important thing, the port.
I´m honest, Ys Origin doesn´t look good nowadays, the textures are pretty low resolution, the character and enemy models lack detail and polygons etc. The whole game didn´t look good when it came out and it doesn´t look good now. This isn´t a game you should play if you care about graphics or presentation, except the occasional but beautiful anime cutscenes the game´s presentation isn´t even close to current JRPGs. The soundtrack however is pure gold!
Nontheless the PS4-port is pretty good, I never experienced any bugs, crashes or frame dips, the whole time it run absolutely smooth. Also Ys Origin works perfectly on widescreen FullHD displays, the whole game, except a few ingame cutscenes that couldn´t be changed I guess, are perfectly stretched out and look very crisp. The only downside of this port is it´s lack of versatility, since it only functions perfectly on FullHD. Once you play it on a 4k display little black bars (~1-2cm) will be added on each side, most likely to keep the aspect ratio.
Even tho it isn´t a good looking game the PS4 port will deliver a very solid base to perfectly enjoy it, without any bugs.
Ys Origin offers an excellent story and surprisingly well working combat with a ton of variation and replay value due to it´s different characters, making it a very fun and cool experience. It´s main problem however are the graphics and it´s general presentation, you need to be a J-nerd like me to enjoy it to its fullest, even tho it´s a very good game.
To conclude, I´m happy this gem made it on the PS4 and soon Vita, considering that this series never got much love here. It´s certainly not for everyone but if you can enjoy a good old japanese action-rpg, definetly pick this up if you haven´t!
Let´s hope that the other games of this series get released on PS4 too!
Whats your opinion about Ys Origin? Did you play it? Leave a Comment below!
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