Posted: November 28, 2013
I recently reviewed this game for my game review blog, Five Penny Review. If you enjoy this review, please visit my page:http://fivepennyreview.blogspot.com/2013/07/ys-origin.html
What sets this game apart?
The Ys series has been a popular action RPG franchise since 1987, but has only had limited release in the US. Ys Origin serves as a prequel to the rest of the series chronologically, but is one of the most recent releases in the series. While the combat sometimes seems more like a hack-and-slash action game than an RPG, there is a sense of strategy and patience required in some areas, especially boss fights, which maintains a more cerebral element in the game. In addition, there are some good platforming sequences and simple puzzle elements that add enough variety to keep the game from feeling monotonous by breaking up the combat sequences.
What is the difficulty factor?
This game is extremely simple to pick up and play. It features the choice of mouse and keyboard controls featuring point and click movement, or you can control your character with just the keyboard when more precision is needed. Personally, I only use the mouse when I have a slice of pizza in my left hand. When new powers are unlocked, brief tutorial screens pop-up to explain their use, and most of them feel fairly intuitive anyway. The game also does a fairly good job of offering direction, feeling fairly linear except for a few brief moments, often due to dialogue from the NPCs.
With that being said, this game is not without its challenging points. The bosses tend to be extremely powerful, at least until you master the patterns of their attacks. Even then, they require some precision movement and possibly some level grinding to survive. For those familiar with the bullet-hell genre, you may find yourselves following a familiar strategy of focusing on not getting hit, only taking attacks when you have the rare opportunity. The rest of the game is fairly tame, although if you let yourself get impatient or careless you will likely end up dying. Save often.
Does it use media effectively?
I feel a bit torn regarding the visuals of this game. The cut scenes use a great mix of 3-D and anime style graphics and are usually gorgeous to look at. The hand drawn character art used during dialogue is on par with many other games, although the character designs feel a bit stale, like you’ve seen them all used before. The sprites for the characters have an odd, compressed feel to them, looking more like dwarves than the anime style drawings used outside of gameplay. The game also uses an odd semi-locked camera at three-quarter view, but the level designs do a good job accounting for this.
The music in this game is phenomenal, playing on both the classical and rock aspects of traditional game music to keep every fight intense. One thing that struck me was the lack of voice acting in the game, which I feel could have done a lot to enhance the overall experience of the game, especially during some of the longer cut scenes that can break the momentum of the game.
Best moment in the game?
Without a doubt, the star of Ys Origin is the boss fight experience. Every boss fight seems bigger and more epic than the last, and each one requires better timing and more complex movement to follow its pattern. Off hand, I really enjoyed the giant centipede boss, Nygtilger, playing as Yunica. It wasn’t necessarily the hardest boss, but the amount of movement and explosions, coupled with the amount of time you spend climbing on it made it a really fun experience.
Who needs to play this game?
While it doesn’t have as many exploration or story elements as many other games of this genre, Ys Origin’s saving grace are its gameplay and music. Each character has a very different feeling to its playthrough, including some alteration of the level design and especially the bosses, greatly increasing the playtime on this game. With scalable difficulty and already difficult bosses, it can also prove a suitable challenge for players seeking it, or to encourage subsequent playthroughs. Personally, while I enjoyed the game, I am glad I picked it up while it was on sale. If it sounds like your cup of tea, I would wait for the next Steam sale to roll around to pick it up.