Ys Origin review (Vita)

Almost five years to the day since the first English language release of Ys Origin, the Falcom classic makes it way onto the Playstation Vita. Read on to find out why this is good news.

Ys Origin is actually even older, since it’s been over ten years since the game came out in Japanese. It’s a great introduction to the Ys franchise, since it plays out in the land of Ys but doesn’t require knowledge of the previous games in the series. Instead, you choose from two potential heroes in order to try and two goddesses who are trapped in a place called The Devil’s Tower.

Your choice between Yunica Tovah and Hugo Fact is not a trivial one by the way. Although the overall goal is the same, there are differences in how the story develops depending on who you choose. More importantly so, however, is that Yunica and Hugo play very differently – Yunica is much more melee-oriented, whereas Hugo has magic powers that make him much more of a ranged fighter.

ys origin

Ys Origin is an action RPG with a few subtle platforming and puzzle elements, but it relies heavily on its RPG elements for progression in the story. You’ll need to gain experience points and find loot as you explore the tower, which is done by defeating enemies as well as checking vases and chests that are lying around. Depending on your chosen difficulty level, this can turn into a bit of a grind – but Ys at its hardest settings was also designed to be challenging.

You can tell that the creators of the Ys series aren’t new to the genre, as the core gameplay is very polished and a lot of fun to play – even though it’s a 10 year old game. The game’s combat is especially well crafted, with controls that feel precise even when you choose a ranged style. It succeeds a little less as a platformer though, but some of that has to do with the angle you’re looking at, which isn’t optimal for platforming.

ys origin3

As far as action RPGs go, it’s been a really good week for Playstation Vita owners, because besides Ys Origin we also saw Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! arrive. Both games are excellent and well worth buying, but comparing them does show a few key differences. Ys Origin, despite being an older (and now ported) game, is the far more modern looking of the two – actually cementing itself as one of the best looking games in the genre for the Vita. It’s missing some of the open areas that we saw in Memories of Celceta and you can tell Celceta is a much newer game, but Origin is still a nice looking Vita title that was ported well by Dotemu.

Ys Origin, compared to Cladun Returns, is also far more story-heavy – with the Ys universe clearly being far richer than what we saw in Cladun. Cladun lends itself a bit better to short bursts of gameplay though, as save points aren’t as frequent in Ys origin. Because Ys lends itself more to longer stretches it can feel repetitive at times, but boss fights and puzzles do mix up the momentum a bit.

Although not a sequel to Memories of Celceta, and also not as good, Ys Origin is a wonderful new addition to the Vita lineup. With Cladun Returns and Ys Origins, action RPG fans on the Vita have little to worry about this summer.

Score: 7.8/10

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