Review

Ys: Memories of Celceta

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Ys: Memories of Celceta is the latest entry in Nihon Falcom’s long-running action RPG series starring the adventurous young swordsman Adol Christin, and is the third game to be considered part of the Ys IV sub-series, although it holds the distinction of being the only Ys IV title created by Nihon Falcom.

What You Need to Know

Like many RPGs before it, Ys: Memories of Celceta begins with series hero Adol Christin waking up in a mining town suffering from a bad case of amnesia. During his adventure you’ll gradually unlock his memories and learn why it is that virtually every town he arrives at has some bone to pick with him.

The game features a large, seamless map to explore containing monster-infested paths leading to various towns and dungeons, and Ys: Memories of Celceta’s core gameplay consists of a heady mix of fast-paced, real-time combat and successfully navigating your party through maze-like dungeons.

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What’s New?

As a newcomer to the Ys series I found many of Ys: Memories of Celceta’s gameplay elements a refreshing departure from other RPGs I’ve played. Being able to swim and even dive underwater adds a new twist to overworld and dungeon exploration, while the game’s real-time combat system features plenty of flexibility for players who want to switch between party members on the fly or choose when and where to engage enemies in battle.

Each party member can be assigned with up to four skills that add an extra dimension to combat, too, and pulling off these skill moves is as easy as holding down the ‘R’ button and pressing one of the PS Vita’s face buttons when you’re within range of an enemy.

Another element of the game that I found refreshing for an action RPG is its focus on exploration when navigating the overworld map and dungeons. Finding your way from one town to the next is not always as easy as it initially seems, and you’ll often need to draw on your orienteering skills to find a connecting route between significant areas.

What’s the Same?

Ys: Memories of Celceta’s storyline isn’t particularly unique in the RPG genre due to its emphasis on an amnesiac hero recovering his lost memories as he travels from town to town. The game’s dungeon elements also feel a bit derivative of The Legend of Zelda series as you’ll use special items to navigate them and solve environmental puzzles, while also encountering special chests containing fragments that unlock the end-of-dungeon boss area after successfully piecing them together.

The game also takes a very well-trodden route when it comes to town exploration. Considering how fresh the gameplay feels when you’re exploring the overworld map, it’s disappointing that there’s not much to do in Ys: Memories of Celceta’s towns aside from accepting quests, speaking to the locals, and buying new equipment and items.

You’ll Enjoy Ys: Memories of Celceta If You Liked…

… Grandia. There’s something about the character designs and visual presentation of Ys: Memories of Celceta that reminded me very much of the first Grandia game for PSone.

… The Legend of Zelda series. As explained above, there are certain gameplay elements in Ys: Memories of Celceta that bear a strong resemblance to The Legend of Zelda. If you enjoyed the dungeon exploration aspect of previous The Legend of Zelda games then you’ll most likely find this game’s dungeon sections a deeply compelling experience.

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What I Liked

5.) Ys: Memories of Celceta is a very accessible game whether or not you’ve played previous Ys titles or even RPGs in general. You can save almost anywhere and lower the difficulty at any time if the game’s brutal boss battles are causing you heartache.

4.) The general pace of overworld and dungeon exploration and combat is incredibly fast. Later on in the game you discover a certain item that allows your party to run at breakneck speeds which quickens the pace even further.

3.) Completionists will no doubt enjoy the challenge of charting the game’s overworld map one hundred percent. Thankfully you can warp between coloured stones you locate during your adventure so you can quickly reach areas that still need to be explored in more depth.

2.) There’s a lot of depth to the game’s combat system despite it being so fast-paced. For example, you can earn party bonuses by putting different combinations of characters together.

1.) Ys: Memories of Celceta is one of the few RPGs I’ve played on the PS Vita that effectively utilises the handheld’s touchscreen and rear touchpad. For example, you can bring up your item menu with the touch of an icon or instruct your party to adopt evasive tactics by pinching in the rear touchpad.

Favourite Moment

Nothing beats the moment when I realised that I could use an item called ‘Gale Shoes’ to sprint around the overworld map and dungeons at about five times the usual running rate. Exploration is already fast-paced to begin with so being able to cruise through the world at crazy speeds made me feel like I had flipped the turbo switch on one of those unofficial controllers you used to get!

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What I Didn’t Like

3.) There’s no denying that Ys: Memories of Celceta could’ve looked a lot better on PS Vita. While good art direction and design help alleviate this issue somewhat, the game’s graphics are generally bland and look more akin to a PSP title.

2.) The first hour or so of the game doesn’t create a very good impression and it was only because I was playing it for review purposes that I pushed through this boring patch and got to see what a great game Ys: Memories of Celceta actually is.

1.) I found the game’s plot to be interesting at parts but generally quite predictable and generic. The dialogue is also dull for the most part and no characters or plot events really stand out in my mind when I reflect back on the game.

Least Favourite Moment

There was one dungeon early on in the game where I got thoroughly lost and ran around it circles until I finally found what I was looking for. The way that dungeons are mapped in Ys: Memories of Celceta could definitely be clearer – allowing players to better pinpoint areas that haven’t been explored yet and help them to avoid the kind of predicament I found myself in in this scenario.



What’s Extra?

Trophy hunters will undoubtedly get dozens of extra hours out of Ys: Memories of Celceta by accepting its list of challenges, and maxing out each character’s full set of skills will also take some time. If you prefer exploration to combat then you can also embrace the challenge of mapping every nook and cranny of the game’s overworld, while each town also has a board full of quests for you to undertake.

The Bottom Line

Ys: Memories of Celceta may not possess the shiniest graphics on PS Vita but its fast-paced, accessible gameplay makes it hard to beat in terms of depth and sheer enjoyment.


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