Ys Origin First Look
Developer: Nihon Falcom / Publisher: XSEED / Platform: PC / Release Date: May 12, 2012
Ridiculously popular in Japan, the Ys series has its own rabid, loud, and small base in the U.S. Ys Origin, however, was a 2006 release in Japan, so its arrival on U.S. shores is one draped with both love and disdain. Why so late? Why on PC? Why at all? The reasons remain unanswered by the always-cautious XSEED, but the RPG is coming at last, and that’s what matters. Origins ships on Steam for the PC with a few major upgrades: true widescreen support, Steamworks Achievements, Steam Cloud, and leaderboards.
The seventh game in the series, Ys Origin takes place 700 years before the first Ys game and bears an elaborate backstory of fantastical conflict, magic, and hellish demons. The peaceful land of Ys is ruled by twin goddesses, Feena and Reah, whose power draws from the holy artifact, the Black Pearl. Without warning or seeming reason, an army of demons attacks their world, forcing them to retreat to a holy temple on a mountaintop. But the demons’ pursuit is relentless, and the goddesses use the Black Peal’s magic to rip the temple from the mountain, taking it into the sky.
Constructing an enormous building called Devil’s Tower, the demons reach the floating temple of Solomon Shrine to continue the battle. To make matters worse, the twin goddesses—the only creatures powerful enough to save Ys—disappear amidst the battles. The remaining council, a group of six priests, send out a scout team of their most powerful knights and sorcerers into the heart of Devil’s Tower where they believe the goddesses have gone.
The game follows the exploits of three characters, Thor Fact, Hugo Fact, and Yunica Tovah, each with their own combat styles and motives for finding the goddesses. To uncover the full story, you’re encouraged to play through three times, once with each of the characters.
Ys Origins is a familiar dungeon-crawling romp. Our quick play-through showed the isometric perspective game’s deep dungeons were filled with enemies on a series of platforms. Most of the staircases we climbed were laden with quick-moving jellyfish-like blobs that exploded after three hits into collectible items and money—and a single soldier with enough firepower to wipe you out if care wasn’t taken. After slaughtering the opponents on each floor, a treasure chest packed with loot was right there waiting for us.
A handful of additional modes are there for the obsessed. Challenge modes, such as Time Attack and Boss Rush are joined by Arena Mode, all designed to extend the game’s play hours. The series’ favorite, Adol Christin, makes a guest appearance in the Time Attack and Arena modes.
Ys Origin is an acquired taste, but for gamers who sorely miss the RPG romps that exploded on the Super NES and Genesis and were refined on PS2 and Saturn, Nihon Falcom’s title should be a welcome respite from today’s oversaturated shooter and action market.