Ys Origin was originally released in 2006 in Japan, and finally made its way over to the West in 2012 on PC. It’s now available on PS4, which is the version this review is based on. It will also be available from May 30th on PS Vita. Ys Origin, true to its name, is an origin story; it takes place over 700 years before any of the other Ys games. This story is based on the typical fantasy theme of going on an epic quest. The two Goddesses, Reah and Feena, have gone missing, and you are part of a group sent to find them and bring them back. Ys Origin is basically a dungeon crawl game, as more or less the entire game is set in the Devil’s Tower, which you battle through to find the Goddesses.
You can play as one of two protagonists: Yunica Tovah or Hugo Fact. Yunica uses melee attacks, whereas Hugo uses long ranged attacks, so you can choose the character according to your preferred playstyle. However, you might want to consider trying both, as each character actually has their own individual storyline that sheds light on the overarching story shared by them. After finishing the game, you will also unlock a third playable character.
Don’t be alarmed when the game starts off with French narration. Your language settings aren’t wrong. The rest of the game does not have any voice-overs – it is text only. Ys is actually a mythical French city, which is presumably why they chose to have the opening narration be in French, which was even the case in the original Japanese version.
If you’ve played any Ys games before, you might be surprised that you won’t be in the familiar company of Adol Christin in Ys Origins. However, there will still be plenty you’ll recognise in this game, from the Roda Trees to the music and jingles, such as when you obtain a new item.
As there is no voice acting in Ys Origin, music is the main auditory stimulation you will receive. Luckily, the music, typically of Ys games is very good. It fits with the retro style of the game, without being as blocky as 8-but music could be.
Graphically, the game isn’t the best looking. It’s based on a game over a decade old, and it didn’t have cutting edge graphics when it first came out. The game is decidedly retro, with pixel art being the chosen style. It is very reminiscent of early RPGs in this sense. If you want the newest, shiniest graphics, this isn’t the game for you, but if you like retro style pixel art, or you find it nostalgic, then you may love Ys Origin. The graphics are good for the style of game, with crisp character art and cleverly rendered scenery that makes the 2D environments feel 3D. There are some slight issues with the graphics occasionally, such as the “cutscenes” loading blockily at the edges in some locations. However, these issues are rare, so don’t especially distract from the overall experience.
As with other Ys games, it is an action RPG, and this keeps the game fast-paced all the way through. There’s no random battles while navigating – all enemies appear on-screen; there’s no turn-based battles or long lists of actions to take. Fighting is faced-paced, consistent and fun.
Of course, as with any good RPG, there are boss battles. Where standard enemies are easily defeating in droves, some bosses may take a number of attempts before being felled. Different difficulties are available as well, so if you feel like the game was too easy the first time around, you can give yourself a bit more of a challenge. These days, most games autosave constantly, but for Ys Origin you’ll want to remember to save often!
Compared to most RPGs, Ys Origin isn’t very long. One playthrough will be somewhere around seven or eight hours. This is good, as games which are too long don’t tend to encourage multiple playthroughs, and it’s well worth playing through the game with each of the 3 possible protagonists.
Overall Ys Origin is a fun throwback to a mid-2000’s game which has aged surprisingly well. It may not be the most exciting game you will ever play, but it’s an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. Players of other Ys games may find it interesting to see the history of the land of Ys, and those who haven’t played any Ys games before will be able to enjoy it as a solid retro RPG.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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