Reviewed: December 16, 2010
Released: November 2, 2010
There are many secrets in the world of RPGís and gaming and among them is the age-old mystery of how to pronounce Ys. Pronounced Eees, this Japanese RPG franchise is not one that that is widely talked about but despite that fact is one of the oldest running RPG series on the market. Their newest release, Ys: The Oath in Felghana brings an improved remake of Ys III: Wanderers of Ys on the PC to the handheld market. Letís just say my PSP got a workout after this one.|
The story chronicles the adventures of young red haired swordsman Adol Christin as he continues on his quest of never-ending adventure. His adventure takes Dogi, vividly blue-haired companion, and him to the land of Felghana on the rumors of evil amongst the kingdom. They arrive to find one of Dogiís old childhood friends under attack by monsters. After swift action the trio makes their way to Redmont, Dogiís birth home which is having its fair share of troubles such as a tough as nails Count McGuire thatís been using his powers as he sees fit. And thatís only the start of the fun youíll have on your adventure.
The gameplay is one of the main upgrades to the PSP version. For starters, the gameplay has changed from its 2D side scrolling roots to a new 3D world. The gameplay also changes the way you attack for the previous iterations. Using a similar interface as The Ark of Napishtim, Felghana features a straightforward combat and world interface. In the grand tradition of titles like Alundra, Felghana is a fast paced hack n slash adventure that requires a bit of skill on the players part.
As I mentioned before The Oath in Felghana received a 3D overhaul and that is both a blessing and a curse. For one the levels look great and it heavily reminds me of some of my favorite action RPGís but on the downside it makes for some rough depth perception, which means you have to keep an eye on your shadow and those of your enemies. A wrong step off a high ledge could very well spell your death. It also helps to take out the airborne menaces, as they are some of the worst pests in the land of Felghana.
What I like the most about The Oath in Felghana is that the developers took out the menial item and equipment management. While I still like management bits itís nice to just tear through enemies. All bonuses that armor and weapons normally give you are instead given as drops off defeated enemies. The better you do in combat the better the drops are. These can range from Defense Add effects to Herbs (for health) and even gold. The only real management to do is selecting and upgrading your weapons, elemental bracelets and armor. You can change these at will and if the items are of the same series your appearance will change which is pretty cool.
One of the things that I liked about The Oath in Felghana is that certain areas are inaccessible until you get the appropriate item to get there. It adds some extra exploration moments to find hidden objects, which are classic RPG fare. There is also the ability to conveniently move around the world of Felghana thanks to the Wing Talisman (once found) via any monument shrine you have previously interacted with. This helps a lot if youíre not a real fan of walking everywhere.
The graphics of Ys: The Oath in Felghana are quite good for a PSP title and a definite improvement from the previous title. The character models are good and distinguishable and the level design is very detailed. The one thing that I liked was the classic albeit stereotyped still hand drawn animations that you seen when you interact with any NPC or major character.
On top of good graphics, the sound department receives favorable marks on my part. The voice acting while off in some areas is quite nice and I like the narrative anytime Adol is brought into a conversation thanks to the localization by Xseed. There is also the gameís impressive soundtrack selection. There are not one but three versions of the soundtrack to listen to as you play. You can enjoy the new remixed score as well as the original Ys III PC8801 and Sharp X68000 tracks from 1989, which is both nostalgic and awesome.
Ys: The Oath in Felghana is an adventurous title that has some insanely difficult bosses well except of one really. The first boss took me more than a few deaths and a bit of timely skill to get enough attacks in to the evil blue angel of death and that was on normal. The hardest part about Felghana is the bosses though you must also be careful as once you start a new game you have to stick with the difficulty unless you start a different game. There are 6 different difficulties ranging from the very lax Very Easy mode to the hand numbing Inferno mode. There is also a Time Attack mode that you can give a whirl when you complete the game once.
All in all, Ys: The Oath in Felghana is highly enjoyable, entertaining and one of the toughest rides in recent history. Its music is engaging and the extra soundtracks are an awesome touch. The fun only gets better with the multiple difficulties and classic old school charm with a nice helping of new touches that makes it fit comfortably in todayís market. Itís a definite buy for all you RPG fans out there.