As we play offers the thought strands of the reviewer as they’re going through the game. This offers unique content for the reader so they can come to understand the conflicting feelings of the reviewer as they’re playing a game for the very first time. All feedback on this concept is welcome.
The Third Incantation
Perhaps it is the third game to be considered Ys IV, but Memories of Celceta is definitely the one that remains true to its roots. Despite two other previous Ys titles, this is the one you’ll wanna get your hands on as it’s a bonafide Nihon Falcom Corporation developed title, the very same developers who created the majority of the other (fantastic) Ys titles. If it hasn’t been a title on your radar, then where have you been? There hasn’t really been a weak entry in the Ys series, and Falcom, who have been around for a good 33 years, are quite obviously the grand factor in this outcome.
Like any of the other entries in the series, the story follows red-haired protagonist Adol Christin, who, unable to remember who he is or where he’s been, has stumbled exhausted and disorientated into a city called Casnan. Here he runs into an information dealer who goes by the name of Duren, and who claims to know him from a previous encounter. As soon as people start learning of Adol’s grand adventure into the mysterious Great Forest of Celceta, it fast becomes talk of the town, and it’s not long before he is branded a legend. For in Celceta, anyone who enters is hardly ever seen again…. but it’s not long before Adol and his companion Duren are asked to venture back into the dangerous Celceta territory once more.
It’s immediately evident that the visuals in Ys: Memories of Celceta are fairly dated. The graphics are of similar standards to a high-end PSP game, if that, but despite this fact it truly makes for a good solid game. It’s obvious some thought went into the dialogue, in the very least, as I found myself snickering at some of the witty remarks (I also found myself getting irked with Duren, but that’s another story).
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
What truly blew me away though about Ys: Memories of Celceta was just how much thought had gone into how well the game played. For starters, the game plays similar to how a typical old-school adventure would, but with elements of a contemporary RPG and the visual style of a present-day JRPG. The majority of the game focuses on the exploration of a large map, which is, for the most part, fairly open-world.
As the game opens up more, it becomes possible to unlock various warp points as they are discovered, giving you the ability to travel back and forth between a number of places. This can make backtracking a little less tiresome and repetitive, and also gives players the ability to heal up at various intervals at no extra cost. It also helps when having to retrace your path back to a previous village, which can be a requirement throughout the course of the game, depending on the journey you decide to take. Furthermore, returning to previous locations with new equipment and items that have been found throughout the forest becomes far easier as you advance. Adol’s main objective first and foremost has always been travelling from place to place, travelling to new locations and unearthing new things, and Memories of Celceta does well to capture this within. What’s also great is the visible percentage value displayed upon the World Map, which allows you to see how far you’ve come and just how much you have left to uncover. In a way, this gave me the incentive and motivation to keep going, as it just makes you further determined to uncover the whole of the map and meet the 100% goal. The whole premise of exploration in Memories of Celceta is wholly engaging, and I for one am not the world’s best explorer when it comes to JRPG’s.
Seeing as I’m a huge fan of a good solid storyline, one of the aspects that truly disappointed me was the sub-par plot. Unfortunately it comes across as slightly bland, and the pacing can be slightly unsteady in places, and this coupled with the lack of voice-acting, which kind of felt more of an afterthought than anything else, really was a bit disheartening. Fortunately, the exploration side of things manages to make up for it, and though the characters are a little on the wooden side, it doesn’t detract from what makes this game such a worthwhile purchase.
In terms of how the game controls, it’s incredibly simple to pick up and play. Anyone could probably work their way around what feels like the most accessible control system in a game in some time, and not only that, you can control more than one character by just the tap of a button. Boom. Any AI controlled characters are great in battle, but the best part is knowing that your command of each of the characters yourself will have its overall benefits. For example, each monster has its own weaknesses, which means part of that is figuring out what that weakness is, and assigning the appropriate character to kick it’s butt.
Combat takes place in real-time strategy fashion, which reminded me personally, (and I may be alone here perhaps) of something similar to the Tales series. Each characters skills are assigned to a various slot, which is executed by holding the R shoulder pad and whichever button the s. attack was assigned to. This in turn allows for some exciting combos, and pulling a special move at the same time as another character can unlock bonuses. It’s also possible to use blocking, or evasion, to enhance your skills and follow-up moves. Blocking immediately before an attack lands can for example lead to Flash Guard which in turn negates all damage, and gives a 100% critical rate bonus for all attacks.
The highlight of the game in its entirety is most definitely the almighty boss fights encountered throughout, which each have their own style, attack patterns, and various weak points. A good number of them can be knocked down fairly easily, and so long as you keep launching a series of continual attacks on them, it’s not too difficult to work around, but they still provide a good challenge respectively.
Reap the Rewards
A large part of the game are also the enjoyable quests which include either hunting a monster of some kind, collecting or buying an item or twenty, or looting for something. None of the quests made me feel as though I was grinding, which is usually one of the reasons I find myself getting easily distracted and bored in games where a huge amount of exploration is required. This in itself was a definite bonus, as I actually really took the pleasure in partaking in the various side-quests and reaping the rewards. Part of the enjoyment in Memories of Celceta is that a lot of it revolves around experimenting between different characters, and exploring new locale, and if that’s something that grabs your attention, then you won’t be disappointed.
Memories of Celceta is a highly enjoyable and entertaining adventure, that is yet another great addition to the Ys series. The combat is nicely balanced, without the need for too much grinding, and the pleasant anime style set against the fast-paced action-packed gameplay is a great combination. I’d say in all the game will set you back around 20 hours if you are someone who is a huge fan of side-quests and exploration. The story could probably be over in around 11-12 hours, dependent on various factors. Luckily, the fun doesn’t end there, as after completion of the game, a New Game+ becomes available for players to get stuck right back in, though personally I think replaying it straight away would be a little too soon, as the story could get a little stale.
Areas for Development
- Graphically, the game is a little weak and outdated.
- The characters and storyline are slightly bland and the pacing is unsteady in places.
- Lack of voice-acting and FMV’s.
- The boss fights are somewhat hit and miss.
If your Vita is lonely, Ys Memories of Celceta would make the perfect companion. Fans of JRPGs, games revolving around exploration and just role-playing games in general will love this fine slice in the Ys series. It’s definitely a game any Vita owner will want to add to their collection, and quite possibly one of the best games out for the Vita so far.
Technical Competency – 9/10
Graphical State/Sound Quality – 6/10
Network Stability – N/A
Overall – 8/10
(These grades assess our playthrough, taking into consideration how many (if any) bugs were encountered, whether there were any interruptions in gameplay and the product’s final technical state. These scores, coupled with the Final Analysis and Areas for Development, are suggestions for future patches and updates which the developers could (and in our opinion, should) explore. These scores are separate to our DLC/Expansion Reviews but link into our Patch/Firmware Reviews.)
(These scores are not designed as a grading system to determine the entertainment value of a product and should not be treated as such..)
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