Ys: Memories of Celceta was my first foray in the Ys series and it definitely left me with a strong positive reception for the whole series. I have never played any Ys game before so seeing that the PS Vita was going to get a brand new one, i decided to give it a go.
Ys: Memories of Celceta is technically the fourth game in the series, although the story is not tied to any other games in the sense that you can easily play this without playing the previous games. The story follows the adventure of the main protagonist Adol and his quest to recover and restore his memories.
The gameplay is very similar to previous Ys games and follows the traditional action RPG route, where we have multiple characters that we can take control of, and each has its own set of strength and weakness against different enemies. The combat is made more interesting through the use of skills and the ability to chain moves resulting in some neat combos and attacks. There is also a special meter that can be filled through the use of charged attacks. Each charged attack can actually fill the meter quicker than normal attacks and is best utilized in a boss fight. Once the meter if full, we can unleash an extremely powerful attack, which comes in pretty handy in boss fights. Each character has its own special attack and if you want to use a character specific special attack, just switch to them and then unleash the attack.
The skills in the game can be leveled up through continuous use. Leveling up increases the base stats of that particular skill. Since we control only 1 character at a time, the AI is usually controlling the other. There isn’t much to do here when it comes to issuing them commands. We can either make them focus on defense or offense by pinching in or out on the back touchpad of the PS Vita. If we time our guard and dodge move, we can execute a flash guard or a flash move, which slows down the movement of the enemy and lets us strike them with all our might. This can come pretty handy in boss battles.
Getting experience from fight and leveling up is not the only thing to do in the game. We can gather materials from monsters and environment and then these can be used in a variety of purpose. We can either trade the lower quality materials for higher quality ones or sell them for cash. These materials can also be refined to be used as enhancers for weapons/armors. Using these refined materials, we can enhance our weapons/armors, increasing their stats like strength or defense.
The graphics of the game might not exactly be the best on the PS Vita but they look pretty neat in motion. The still images don’t really do the game any justice. Not only the game looks beautiful in motion, especially when we are unleashing a barrage of moves and special attacks against the enemies, the frame rate is also smooth for the most part; it rarely dips down, which is pretty good for an action RPG like Ys.
Throughout the game, we will come across various “circles of light”, which are actually memory points for Adol and touching these will make him remember the memories that he forgot. They shed a whole new light on the story and are definitely a welcome addition to the traditional way of story telling. These are not the only way for recovering memories as often times, during our travel through the great forest, we can come across spirit trees. These area around these spirit trees is usually safe from monsters and hence our party can camp and rest here. Resting at each new camp also recovers memories for Adol. These memory restoration points/events also increase stats for Adol like the defense or attack.
When it comes to exploration, the game has a pretty neat and detailed map. The areas that we explore are shown on map while those that we haven’t are still invisible. This tends to encourage exploration and we will also be rewarded on our effort depend on how much percentage of the map we have actually explored. Fast travel is also included, resulting in ease of travel between the main city and also inside the great forest. The way it is done is by touching monuments scattered throughout the world. They will be then activated as warp points and we can easily warp to any of the location, that we have visited before. They also serve as restoration points, by restoring our health and stamina, along with removing any status ailments.
The inventory management is done neatly. We can either use the touch screen or go for the traditional input method to manage and organize our party. Touching is of course quick and comes in handy when we are in a hurry. Equipping armor and weapons is fairly easy. The game also sports a user friendly saving system, using which we can save anywhere we want except in some specific areas, or in the middle of a battle.
Ys: Memories of Celceta is a pretty great Action RPG for the PS Vita. It provides tons of hours of fun and intense gameplay, an engaging story and plot, well written characters and a good mix of sidequests. The game will be a treat for Ys fans but even if you are not one, you will definitely like this game as an Action RPG on its own.