I’ve been a fan of the RPG genre of gaming since my first experience with Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda (the first one, not the crappy second one) on the NES back in the olden days when telephones were attached to the walls and the handsets were connected with stretchy coiled wire. We didn’t record a movie on TV, we taped it. We didn’t have cell phones, and we liked it that way. The point is, I love playing all sorts of RPGs and I have to say that after my experiences with Ys Origin, I apparently missed out on a lot.
I’m going to start out by stating that the music is absolutely wonderful. Beautifully orchestrated sounds that fit the mood of the areas you’re exploring. It really was exactly what you want while you’re traversing the tower and taking on enemies. You want that perfect accompaniment that enhances everything you do wherever you go. You start to really look forward to new areas so you get to experience a new melody.
Since this is a lovely looking game, the whole package of giving you everything you could ask for visually and audibly is a rare treat these days. I can’t speak to the history of the series as I am coming at this new and fresh, but if the rest of the games are anything like this one, sign me up, because it’d be a wonderful ride. The bosses were huge and give you quite a bit to chew on. I died the most at the bosses, and if my memory serves me correctly, the only areas where I really lost any lives at all.
I really liked the character development of not only the main protagonist, but also the others you encounter along the way. You have your typical array of helpers and hurters. The arrogant, the supportive, and pretty much every other type of personality you would come across in the real world whether you go to school or work. The bad guys are made so annoying that defeating them brings you that nice little shot of dopamine we are all craving these days.
Ys Origin is an Action RPG with playing elements more along the lines of Zelda or any other sword-swinging game. There are tons of puzzles to solve — from stepping on a plate to raise or lower bridges to cross gaps, to getting sucked into a hole, and tripping this and that in order to not get sucked into the hole the second time. I did get sucked into the hole the second time because I don’t pay attention to details like I should. I do so hate admitting when it dawns on me how stupid I’ve been for the past ten minutes looking for the thing with the thing to trip the thing to let me through the thing… but I guess that’s the game’s way of telling me that it’s not a simple walking simulator.
If I were to have a complaint, it would be that exploring the tower gets repetitive. I’d say it probably started wearing on me around the 5 hour mark. Since this is a story based experience, as most role playing games are, I don’t like to give any spoilers or tell you anything that may detract from your personal enjoyment of the game. But I do want to note that I felt this way and you may begin to feel that way as well. I also had some issues regarding the clunky way of putting on a mask that helps you see hidden entrances and then taking it off. It was a five step process of menu perusing to activate it, then the same to take it off. This is fine for something that you’re going to wear for a while, but this particular item showed you the hidden areas, but hid the enemies around you. It would have been nice to be able to equip it more quickly. If there is a quicker way to change something like that out, then the game is still at fault for not giving me that little Easter Egg of information.
Enough of the sad things that make me cry and back to the happy things that make this game shine. The speed of your character as you scurry through the landscape is absolutely wonderful. I remember hating an RPG, way back when the phones were yada yada yada, where your character or group of characters walked so slow that I’m pretty sure, had I kept playing it, I still wouldn’t have gotten to my destination to this very day. I believe this is considered the pacing of the game. You move very fast and you have excellent control so that you have no problem getting through rather boring areas very quickly. One caveat is that parkour can get a little rough around the edges because there are times where you have to rely on some spinning sword move to extend your jump and I didn’t always have the easiest time getting that whirly bird move to work right. This led to lots of falls to the floor below. This didn’t hurt your little Yunica or Hugo, whoever you choose to play in the beginning, but your pride may take a hit and you have to work your way back to where you were which can just get annoying.
Overall, I would recommend this one to anyone who likes a good action RPG and enjoys music and puzzle solving. While it is a little repetitive with the environment, there are plenty of things to keep it feeling like a challenge. Couple that to good character development and really wanting to see how the story shapes up left me with a pleasant experience and most likely looking forward to the next installment of Ys.
Ys Origin Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 9/109/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Challenging from the start, two characters to choose from, and music that brings the entire package together into an excellent RPG experience. Ys Origin does have its share of little annoyances, like equipping items and repetitive backdrops, but the positives outweigh the negatives enough to call this a solid and enjoyable foray into the world of Ys.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.