After almost eight years, Ys: Memories of Celceta moves from the PlayStation Vita to modern consoles. Is this handheld adventure ready for the big screen, or should it have stayed on the portable? Check out our review and find out.
Ys: Memories of Celceta Review
Ys: Memories of Celceta starts with the protagonist Adol Christin returning from a forest in a haze. He lost his memories and stumbled into the town of Casnan. Luckily for Adol, a man in the village named Duren knows him and helps him out. As Duren helps you regain some memories, the mine in town is attacked by monsters and you both check it out. When you arrive at the mine, there is a mysterious blue light. After interacting with the light, Adol regains some memories and helps clear the monsters out of the mine.
After defeating the monsters, Adol and Duren are hired to map out The Great Forest that Adol stumbled out of. The governor of Casnan agrees to pay you for doing this, and Adol figures hem might get some more memories back by doing it. Mapping the forest plays second fiddle to getting your memories back and meeting the various inhabitants of The Great Forest. While there is a broad overarching story, there are also quite a few smaller stories in each area you discover. Completing the main story will run you roughly 25 hours, with an additional 10-15 hours of exploration, side quests, and dungeon crawling to be had.
Ys is an action RPG, and the combat is in real-time. You can quickly switch between members and use their skills to compliment your own. Adol uses a sword, Duren uses gauntlets, Karna uses throwing knives, Ozma uses spears, and so on. Monsters will often be weak to a specific type, so being able to switch quickly is essential. While there are skills, and some are great, combat with regular enemies can feel like you are just spamming the Square button a lot. Later in the game, you can juggle enemies and smash them with skills, but it takes a while for things to get cooking. Just be ready for a grind early on.
While you are exploring The Forest, you can pick up side quests from the various villages and quest boards. Some are basic: kill X enemies, find X item, and others challenge you to find items scattered on specific maps. Some of the quests are also marked “urgent,” and if not completed quickly, you will lose them forever. The downside to that is you might miss one simply because you didn’t look at the quest board. With the price of weapons, armor, and upgrades, losing a quest can hurt your ability to upgrade. Some sort of alert would have been helpful for these particular quests.
Something I really enjoyed about Ys: Memories of Celceta was the equipment system. I enjoyed it so much, because the numbers were easy to understand. When you get a new weapon and your damage increases by 15, you do 15 more damage. On top of that, you can add elementals, poison, crit chance, and other upgrades to any weapon, assuming you have the materials. It can be expensive, but when I spend 5000 gold on a sword, I want to know what I am getting out of it. Materials are littered all of The Forest, so finding upgrade materials is quick and easy.
During your travels, you will go through dungeons to help regain memories and to do quests. In these dungeons, you will find artifacts that help you access new areas of the map and the dungeon. The first one you get makes you small so that you can travel through cracks. Another one makes it so you can breathe and dive underwater. It is a sort of MetroidVania in that aspect, coming back to areas to access them later. You can only have one on at a time, but switching between them is quick. Thankfully they are easy to find for the most part, with big golden chests after a boss or right at the start of a dungeon.
The game initially launched on the PlayStation Vita, and some things have not translated well. That camera can only be zoomed and not moved, which is never fun. The fast travel system seems needlessly tedious. You can travel to all the blue markers, but not from a blue marker to a yellow marker. In order to make things work, you have to travel near the yellow marker, go through a screen or two, and then use the blue markers. I think this is because they don’t want you backtracking in certain parts. When you get a dungeon quest, you are often forced to do that dungeon and not travel anywhere else. It’s annoying, and something that should have been fixed before re-releasing the title.
I was playing on the PlayStation 4 Pro, and in some towns and villages, there were frame drops. I didn’t run into any of this during combat; just while exploring. I didn’t have any crashes or bugs during my playthrough. There are also a few annoying sneaking parts of the game. You need to sneak around the villages without being caught, and they just aren’t fun. Just be ready for some annoyances during those parts.
Ys: Memories of Celceta is a fine port, but there is plenty for room for improvement. Fans of the Ys series should enjoy it; all others should check out some videos beforehand.
After almost eight years, Ys: Memories of Celceta moves from the PlayStation Vita to modern consoles. Is this handheld adventure ready for the big screen, or should it have stayed on the portable?
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