Ys Origin, originally developed and publish by Nihon Falcom for the PC in 2006, and later in 2012 localized in English by XSEED Games for Steam, has now arrived to console thanks to DotEmu's efforts and hard work. It's an action RPG game that acts as a prequel to the several main Ys franchise titles and takes place 700 years before the first instalment Ys 1: Ancient Ys Vanished. The twin goddesses have used their powers to bring the people of Ys safely to the sky following a demonic invasion. Undeterred, the demons begin building Devil's Tower in order to reach everyone. When the goddesses disappear, the safety of all fall with two hero; Hugo Fact and Yunicah Tovah, each one with a unique set of skills and abilities.
Before you begin, you must decide who to start your adventure with. There's two different characters you can play as and they each have their own unique story and fighting styles (a great concept that extends both the story and gameplay). If you choose to play as the male character, Hugo Fact, then you're choosing to play a character built for range attacking. He fires energy shots from his staff as well as the floating magical eyes he has on the sides of him, known as the Eyes of Fact. If you choose to play as the female character, Yunica Tovah, then you're choosing to fight in closer combat but with greater skills if maneuverability. Both of them can jump while attacking, but you'll find that Yunica's abilities better suite air to ground combat.
Upon completing the game with these characters you'll unlock a third secret character to play as. Artifacts, possessing elemental powers, will also aid both heroes in their journey as they are found. These will either act as tools for traversing, defending yourself, or area attacks. Each of the character's stories contain roughly (but probably just under) 10 hours of gameplay and it's pretty straight forward, almost in dungeon crawler style. You won't find yourself exploring huge areas or taking on any side quests, but instead making your way up through the tower and its different themed levels.
You'll run into a few dungeon puzzles and have to square off against bosses who will act as the hardest tests to pass. The puzzles are not challenging, but if you don't take your time killing the normal grunt enemies, you'll struggle with the bosses. The RPG progression is pretty standard with levels and attributes being improved as you gain experience points throughout battles. If you find yourself stuck in a difficult section, you can backtrack a little to gain some more experience points. You can also slowly upgrade your weapons and armor as you traverse the tower which adds a little more to the elements of the game.
Sound and Graphics
The game is incredibly beautiful to say the least, but I can see how some would feel it looks too much like the older graphics that it is. The sharp and dark edges that outline many things, and hold an array of colours, make for a constantly crisp picture hard to turn your eyes away from regardless. The way you can sense the depth in the game is amazing and hard to find in older titles (or at least how effective this one can pull it off). Where it becomes questionable is how everything is filled in color-wise that makes it look a tad bit dull at times. The shading begins to looks slightly pixelated when you examine it closely (but it's an old game so what do you expect).
Again, some will love the overall look while some may feel it needed more attention (either way it's great overall). The cutscenes carry the classic RPG style of many games from its time, and are fun to watch, but the bottom of them seemed to always do some weird loading from black to the actual picture. Perhaps it was the art of it, but I felt it looked a little weird. The music you'll find fit with each of the different biomes of the tower as they have their own unique music playing as you battle your way through.
Over ten years since Ys Origin was first released, and a few years since last touched upon, it makes a strong statement coming on to PS4. The graphics are gorgeous if you can understand that the game was not developed in recent times, but rather a decade ago. The major reason it holds a strong position on the PS4 store is because of the upcoming addition to the Ys franchise (Ys Vlll: Lacrimosa of DANA) that NIS America has recently announced. It tells of the backstory to the series and offers a glimpse into the later game world through its many references and key plot points.
While there isn't a massive amount of content or side objectives to pursue, you'll find that the multiple story campaigns, multiple characters, and the uniqueness they each have of themselves, not to mention the bonus game modes, give a couple dozen hours of quality gaming. A classic RPG with heart and soul, even if extremely simple in the big picture, you can't go wrong investing some hours into the journey it provides.
+ Quality port to console
– Fairly linear with no side questing
+ Fun gameplay diversified by multiple characters
– A few technical issues here and there
+ Tough and rewarding boss battles
|+ Great graphics and excellent use of depth|