Ys: The Ark of NapishtimAmong the known RPG titles in America, only a few titles like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Paper Mario rise to the top. With hidden treasures like Monster Hunter and the "Tales of Series," American fans begin to beg for more. YS is one of these titles, but will it rise to the top? Or is it already too late?
You begin the game as Adol, your rescued by Olha and Isha of the Rehda Tribe. Once your able to get back up on your feet, you begin to try to find a way off the island, and in the process, you unknowingly repay your debt to your saviors. Keep in mind that this game is actualy sixth in it's series, and that how you got to the island is explained in the fifth game. It does tell you how and why he ended up there in the first place. But to understand the whole story, you must play more than one game from the series. The storyline is very good, and is very complex.BUT it left me some questions, and now I'm forced to find the other 5 YS games which aren't out for the PSP.
Non-like other RPG's, your given full control over all of Adol's actions. No bar that requires you to wait for it to fill up. No list of attacks you choose from, but you control everything Adol do. This works very well since you can dodge enemy attacks yourself, and counter attack whenever you desire and see fit. This also adds to the strategy required in the game! When fighting most bosses, you can't just run into them and spam the attack button. This makes the battle system very addictive.
To me, customization in RPG's are one of the most important aspects. But in this game, your limited to the armor you find, and you only find six set of armour, three weapon, and six shields. You think you have control over the customization of your character since you can choose which armour you can wear, but unless you want to live, of course your going to wear the strongest set. You mainly only have control over what accessories you can wear (when it comes to your equipments). Some accessories allow you to absorb health after a kill, gain more gold, increase strength and defense, there is a lot to choose from. But in the end, your probably going to pick the same few I did when going in for the final battle.
As you bash and hack hundreds of enemies, you acquire experience points (exp) automaticaly upon victory. Different monsters give different exp depending on how difficult they were, and their own level! In YS, leveling barely makes a difference upon your damage. What it does effect is your accuracy. To fight a strong monster, not only you need a strong sword, but good enough accuracy to get some hits. This forces you to constantly go upgrade your sword and level yourself up.
Since your limited to three weapons through out the game, won't it get boring? Nope! As you battle monsters, they drop "emels." Emels are materials used by the Rehda tribe to craft powerful weapons and armours. If you gather enough of these, you'll be able to forge it into your sword. From this, your sword's strength will increase (sometimes leveling your sword shows a bigger difference than leveling) and new abilities will be acquired (New flashy chain attacks with your sword will be available). There is a total of 10 levels for your swords, the amount of emel required will range from 5 (level 1 to 2) to 10,000 (level 9-10). As the dungeons get harder, the more the enemies will drop emels so don't worry!
Through out the game, you tend to "unknowingly" help many people. As you search through dungeons, you may acquire "event items," if you look hard enough. Afterwards, if you go and talk to the right people, you can exchange it for another event item (which you continue to trade with others) or valuables such as accessories, or equipments you can use for your character. "Unknowingly" help them? Well, they never asked you to go get what ever it was for them. Actualy, you never have the chance to agree or disagree with the "[Yes]" or "[No]." Once obtaining the item, talking to certain people will trigger their eyes and they'll notice you have the important item!
The Graphics in this game is good enough so that your eyes don't get sore. Non-like most other games which incorporate anime drawings whenever a person speaks, this game brings it to the next level. Other games, you only see the picture for the few important characters, and it does a damn fine job spoiling. But in this game, everyone you speak to have their own little picture, and most of them have more than one for special times when their emotion changes. When wearing different armour, it doesn't change.. or at least I didn't notice it. Only your weapon change on you, which is most important if the game revolves mainly around your swords...
The controls are excellent, it's not what I'm normaly used to, but after a few minutes, I'm used it it. "" is to attack, "X" is to Jump, "O" is for special attacks. "â–²" is to use your quick item that you selected. It can only be certain items such as potions. Both the C-pad and the Analog sticks are for moving. The "L" and "R" buttons are for switching swords.
Simple? It is VERY, that's why there's no 5 minute tutorial in the beginning of the game! These buttons work wonders, and in a boss fight, I can't blame the control locations if I loss.
The music is great, escpecially the boss fights! It really get you pumped up and ready to beat some serious @$$! All the music, from the towns, to the dungeons fit perfectly into the settings. There is nothing I can complain about. There's also some special moments where you hear very nice tunes!
Well what about "Repetition" or "Glitches?" Well, I gotta say this game is pretty short, it took me about 20 hours to beat. But if I only focused on the storyline, and tried to get through as fast as I could, I would've only gotten 8~12 hours of GOOD gameplay. Once it started getting boring... I was already at the final boss (how convienant?!?). As for glitches, I had a few glitches once. Jumping off a ledge and then finding myself reapearing on it is the most common. But the most serious was when I was attacking a monster and somehow I got stuck in mid-air. It only happened once.. so don't worry too much about it!
This is definately, what I call, an Underdog. Have so much potential, but because of sooo many other games out there, it's hidden below them. I've already recommended this game to all of my friends, and so far, the ones that have it, loves it.