You may not realize this, but Ys: Memories of Celceta isn’t the first time this game has been made.
This is actually a remake of the Super Nintendo title that only saw a release in Japan, Ys IV. In addition, the fourth title in the series actually had three other iterations. Still this is the first time it’s seen a release in North America.
However, don’t let the age of the game stop you from checking it out. This Ys entry is a great title, and a great reason to break out your Vita.
Like previous entries, the game centers on Adol Christin who finds himself without his memories in the town of Casnan. You quickly meet partner Duren, though, who tells Adol he recently went into the Great Forest.
After saving some miners underground, you take on a quest to map the Great Forest, which will soon lead you on a bigger quest to help save the world. Sure, it’s a generic RPG storyline, but the story and characters are actually interesting to get to know and experience.
Unfortunately, one thing you’ll find early on is that the game can take a bit to get rolling. Early on you can find yourself with no quests to do except to explore and clear the map. However, give it some time and you’ll have the main quest to move forward and plenty of side quests to do.
Side quests also range quite a bit as well. Some quests have you just collecting items, while others want you to kill a certain beast in an area. Sure, they could get a bit repetitive, but they fit the action-RPG style nicely for this game.
Running the quests are great thanks to the combat system in the game. At its basic, the combat is simple to pick up and run with. You can attack with a basic attack and block most attacks as well. Timing blocks can also give a flash guard that can allow counterattacks.
As you start leveling, though, you’ll find plenty of depth as you learn new skills to learn. Skills are mapped to the face buttons and can be used by holding down the R button. Meanwhile, the L button can unleash a special ability once your gauge is charged up.
In addition, there are also three different types of weapons in the game: slash, strike and pierce. Each enemy has a severe weakness to one type. Thankfully, your party of three characters will always be nicely balanced to have one of each type of weapon. While the players you aren’t controlling will be controlled by the AI, you can switch and take control of different party members on the fly.
Outside of fighting, there are items you can collection around the world that can be used for crafting new items. Some items and components you get from monsters can also be traded to vendors for bigger, better items used to craft better weapons and accessories.
These items in the world are sometimes needed for quests as well. Thankfully, to make harvesting a bit easier there are fast travel points located throughout the world, meaning you can jump from item to item to get a quest done faster or to harvest more stuff for weapons.
Another thing that Ys takes advantage of without forcing it down your throat is the touchscreen controls. You’re never forced to use them, but controlling what the AI does can be done by using the rear touchscreen. The touchscreen can be used to navigate menus as well.
The graphics and sound have also gotten an upgrade for the better as well. The graphics look great on the handheld, with landscapes and memory cutscenes looking enjoyable from beginning to end. Meanwhile, the music is one of the best soundtracks to hit the handheld this year.
- Combat system is great in the game to pick up and go.
- The world looks and sounds great as you explore.
- Being able to save anywhere you are is great for pick-up and go gameplay.
- Story can take a bit to get started.
- Can take a bit of grinding to get some weapons or components.
- Story is a fairly standard RPG fare, but is entertaining.
Overall, Ys: Memories of Celceta was a great finish to 2013 for the Vita. The gameplay is solid and offers plenty to do. In addition, the story, while slow at the start, is definitely worth experiencing in the end. Hopefully, XSEED keeps localizing these titles, as they’ve done another solid job here.
Final Score: 4.3 out of 5