Review – Ys Seven
The Scoop: XSEED Games and Falcon put the story telling and character development elements of the traditional RPG on the back burner as an amazing combat system leads the way in Ys Seven – the latest installment to the Ys series.
The Setup: Adol Christin, a.ka. Adol the Red, a.k.a. the same red-haired protagonist in previous Ys games, and his longtime buddy Dogi, embark upon the land of Altago in search of new a adventure – and a new adventure is what they get.
Shortly after their arrival, the adventuring duo have an audience with the King of Altago and are tasked with the duty to rid the land of an evil force (of course). To do so, Adol and Dogi must travel the land of Altago in search of fellow warriors to aid them in their duty, and must acquire the power of the Five Dragons that protect Altago.
Ok, so the story might not be the most compelling or most unique that we’ve seen, but that’s not what makes Ys Seven a spectacular game. Ys Seven is all about the loot, crazy bosses, weapons creation, and hack-and-slash goodness.
What’s Hot: The combat takes the spotlight in this action-RPG, and the good thing is, the combat is done very well. Enemy encounters happen in real time and take the form of a washed-down button masher, as a single button performs your attack, and a combination of two buttons executes specials moves or skills. No turn-based battle system here folks.
The action is fast paced and there’s always an enemy around the corner to pummel. And what makes the battles even more interesting is the ability to switch between your party members (which is comprised of up to 3 members). Utilizing each of your party members plays an important role in your overall strategy as monsters may be invulnerable to certain types of attacks. So one moment you might have defeated an enemy using slashing attacks, the next enemy you encounter may only be vulnerable to piercing attacks. Yes, you’ll be switching between your characters a lot, and yes, it’s a lot of fun.
Since you can only control one team member at a time, it’s up to the AI to handle the rest of your crew. And unlike the AI in other RPG’s (you know, the AI that likes to kamikaze your entire squad and smiles as you cry), the AI in Ys Seven seems to actually work and does a good job at attacking, dodging, and keeping your squad alive.
The boss battles are also very challenging and require every bit of attention as the battles are face paced and intense. Players must pay attention to the different patterns and attacks for each boss as they are pretty varied and can be a bit complex at times – careful planning and timing is of the utmost importance. Some of the boss battles can get a little frustrating, but it really adds to the overall quality of the game as you can’t just hack and slash your way through each boss.
Not only is the combat impressive, but so are the visuals and soundtrack. The graphics aren’t anything breathtaking or groundbreaking, but attention to detail was made and the colors in the game are vivid and lively. The rocking soundtrack also adds another layer of quality to Ys Seven, taking into account the different moods that are set given each situation.
What’s Not: The story and character development are pretty bland and shallow. As you progress through Ys Seven you can’t help get the “been there done that feeling”, which is a shame since the amazing combat system was a great opportunity to introduce unique characters and plots. If you’re an RPG gamer looking for an epic story that grips you along the entire adventure, you’ll be disappointed.
There’s also some backtracking that needs to be done in the game, which does get tedious at times. Just when you think you’ve finished with an area, think again, as you’ll be required to go back to that same area to do more exploring. Most RPG gamers should be used to doing some backtracking, so this isn’t a real deal breaker.
Final Verdict: While Ys Seven may lack in the story and character development departments, the shining gems of this game are the face-paced real-time action and superb gameplay. And since the story in Ys Seven is self contained, any newcomer to the series can jump on board just as easily as series veterans. The 20-30 hour story seems to be the right fit for this game, especially since it’s on a portable device. If you’re a PSP gamer and need a solid, on-the-go, RPG fix, than Ys Seven may be just what you’re looking for.Review - Ys Seven,