Ys Memories of Celceta (PC) Review – Adol Time
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS Vita
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: XSEED Games
Release: 25th July 2018 (PC)
Ys is a great series and publisher XSEED is always looking for titles to bring to PC, for the first time in the west or just as a simple port. So, who would be surprised that the 2012 released beloved Ys Memories of Celceta would be the next one in the row. A game I never got to experience on my Vita, a perfect opportunity to give it a long deserved chance.
Once again, we´re playing as cliché adventurer Adol and this time he´s involved in an even more cliché plot! Returning from his journey into the forests of Celceta, he seemingly survived it, yet, lost all memories. Not knowing what he experienced, the previously nice villagers began to despise him as well, for actions he can´t even remember anymore. And so the journey into the deep forests, hoping to regains his memories begins, while an almighty evil prepares for its attack.
Honestly, Ys Memories of Celceta doesn´t feature the most innovative plotline ever, it´s a typical adventure story for your typical Adol. Even though pretty much everything plays out like one would expect, it´s still a very fun experience, especially due to the likeable, diverse characters and well-written dialogues. There are your typical stereotypes any JRPG cast would need, packed into entertaining discussions in an ever-blooming world. Honestly, the way pretty much every person has an own story to tell, as insignificant as they may be. Simply exploring the town, discovering what the inhabitants have to tell and becoming an adventurer on your own is the thing that always seemed more interesting than anything the main plot had to tell.
Speaking of exploring, Ys Memories of Celceta´s true appeal lies completely in its world. Similar to Adol´s personality, the whole experience pretty much revolves around “adventuring” into the unknown, discovering new places, items and weapons. As a result, the forest is designed to reward this in any way possible, while staying true to the legend of being huge and complicated to manoeuvre. However, the fact it´s easy to frequently lose the way, there´s always something worthwhile at the end in exchange. Instead of side paths that lead nowhere, Adol is destined to find great stuff or even new dungeons when he takes the time to explore this mysterious forest. So, getting lost is actually the beginning of little adventures besides the beaten path.
Considering how standartized the whole mission structure is in following the “run there” or “collect this” template, anyone who isn´t ready to actually search for an adventure will quickly find himself in quests, designed for a mobile experience rather than hour-long play sessions. In every way, Ys Memories of Celceta is a pretty classic JRPG in its structure, with its hub city working and constructed in an unsurprising way to the actually quite boring main quests.
Where it excels though is, of course, the combat, once again delivering a satisfying real-time action gameplay with the strategic depth to be expected from a Ys game. There´s your normal range of normal attacks, jumps, dodges, blocks, the basic stuff. Where the real depth happens though is in the mixture of special skills and different attack-types. Every character has an assigned weapon and with it damage type, which works in a rock paper scissor manner and have to be combined, in order to effectively finish off those enemies. However, skills can contribute different types as well, besides the fact they too work on your typical elemental system from time to time. It´s basically a turn-based system, turned into a way more fun, faster action one, making the surprisingly few grinding passages even more bearable.
Unfortunately, Ys Memories of Celceta isn´t a treat for the eyes in many ways. Originally released in 2012 on the Vita, the game looks like it in every way. From mushy character models with blocky, 2D faces to the flat environments and unimpressive textures. While XSEED did a great job with the port, giving you the option to upscale pretty much everything (doing wonders for the shadows in particular), the whole thing still isn´t an impressive feat graphically even for JRPG standards. Luckily I really dig the soundtrack and the Ys style, preserved over the stylized style and great use of shadows to create some amazing setpieces in the forest, despite the clumsy presentation.
Ys Memories of Celceta isn´t something everyone needed but neat nonetheless, since we have yet another Ys on PC! While the more open approach to its world design is an interesting twist on providing the paths to let the player create their own adventure, there really isn´t anything too extraordinary here. It´s very good Ys game, complete with the great combat and writing/translation we all came to love about it.
[A Review Code was provided by XSEED Games]