Ys Seven Review
The Ys series is one of the longest running series in gaming, but hasn’t received a lot of mainstream love, with much of its storied history coasting under the radar while big-name RPG franchises such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest steal all of the thunder. However, regardless of how widespread (or not) the game’s reception has been, the series is still very much alive and kicking, with the latest entry, Ys SEVEN, now available for the PSP.
Ys SEVEN is an old-school action-RPG that features some familiar trappings from the salad days of the Japanese RPG genre, including a light story, huge bosses, and relatively simplistic gameplay that doesn’t stir the pot much. The game has a few downfalls that won’t let it sit well with fans of more modern JRPG fare, including cheap boss fights and a healthy amount of backtracking, but overall, it is a solid entry to the Ys franchise.
Ys SEVEN finds series regulars Dogi and Adol at the Capital of Altago looking for adventure. Once there, they get a request from the king to investigate a series of earthquakes, and quickly find themselves wrapped up in a battle against the forces of evil to save the kingdom.
The main characters find themselves in a plot that leaves a lot to be desired. The game seems to hit every Japanese RPG cliché in the book, and the cast of supporting characters aren’t nearly as fleshed out as you might hope they’d be. The game’s story is light and doesn’t provide an importance to the game’s progression, which will undoubtedly be a negative issue for many RPG fans.
The gameplay isn’t terribly complicated, especially if you’re familiar with other entries in the Ys franchise. If you’re uninitiated, there will be somewhat of a learning curve when navigating the menus, creating items from procured elements throughout the world, and equipping your party with the best weapons and armor, but otherwise the combat is fairly straightforward. You’ll find yourself controlling one character while the AI picks up the other two members of your party, fighting hordes of monsters and collecting loot, with simplistic combos for every character at your disposal. Combat plays a very big part in Ys, and the game’s fast pace makes for a nice departure from other RPG games on the market.
Unfortunately, there are some problems that bog down the gameplay, and for the most part they have to do with the game’s old-school feel. There is a substantial amount of backtracking to be done, requiring you to retread a lot of places that you’ve already been over the course of the game.
The bosses are both a hit and a miss. The game has a few great, large-scale boss fights with some of these ranking among the best parts of the game. However, there are quite a few battles that feel unnecessarily cheap, and lead to a lot of repeated fights and quite a bit of frustration.
Graphically, Ys SEVEN is nothing special, but it gets the job done. The game is bright, colorful, and moves at a respectable clip, but the design is not terribly fascinating, and the game lacks much in the way of details or special effects.
Ys SEVEN’s simple nature, light (and clichéd) story elements, and uber-traditional feel makes for a title that won’t be the one to catapult the series into RPG stardom. However, if you’re already a fan of the franchise, then Ys SEVEN shouldn’t disappoint.