YS Seven is an action-JRPG developed by Nihon Falcon and published by XSEED Games. This PC release is a port of the 2009 PSP that brings some new HD textures. Is a re-textured HD release of a PSP title worth a buy? The short answer is yes, yes it is. The long answer is this review.
YS Seven can be bought on Steam for $22.49
YS Seven continues the never ending adventure story that is Adol Christin's life. Playing the previous games in the series would be helpful, but it is not needed. All you will miss are some call-backs and character mentions that I didn't have the context to fully understand. Still, this is mostly a contained adventure, so you are to hop in with this title.
And quite an adventure it is. YS Seven sees the red-headed Adol go on a quest to finally achieve a soul for his body. Of course, a human soul isn' strong enough to survive in a human body, so he goes to obtain the souls of five dragons instead. Well, the going on the quest to get the souls of five dragons is accurate, the reasoning may be a bit muddled.
In all seriousness, Adol and his long time friend Dogi begin their adventure in the foreign land of Altago. from there, they quickly meet the king and get tasked with visiting the shrines of the five great dragons. All of this is to stop the Winds of Destruction that were prophesied to bring about the end of Altago unless Adol can get the power needed from the dragons and face the Destruction.
It is a good adventure, even if it is very predictable at times. There isn't a lot of subtlety in the story and dialogue, which makes everything very simple. Still, I had fun on the 20+ hour journey.
YS Seven plays as a quick action-based JRPG. Combat is spamming the attack button and dodging enemies attack as your skill bar fills and then you switch to spamming skills. While this is simplistic, it is also fun. Everything is very fast paced and using the right attack on the right opponent means switching through the three characters in the party. There are three attack types, slash, pierce, and blunt that all work on certain enemies. Blunt attacks work great on heavily armored foes, pierce attacks work on flying enemies, and slash works on fleshy things. This adds a slight layer of strategy makes characters more useful and specialized.
If you happen to get to beat up in a fight, there are a few different ways to heal. You can open your inventory and use one of the limited healing items, or you can just stand still. This is one aspect I did not enjoy. After battling through hordes of enemies, you had to completely stop and stand still for a few seconds to allow your party to heal. It really hurt the pacing of the game and took a way from the fast paced nature found elsewhere.
Of course, along with characters unique weapons, they also have armor and an accessory slot. The accessory slot can allow you to specialize the different party members by boosting their strength, health or other attributes or give them special effects. These effects include poison, turning enemies into stone or catching them on fire. They can also give you immunities to these effects, which is quite useful in areas where they are prevalent, especially boss fights.
The boss fights are certainly the highlight of the game. The land of Altago has been overrun by giant creatures known as Titanos. These creatures are large and have attacks that almost transform the game into a bullet hell as you run around the limited space avoiding attacks while chipping away with your own. This is where it is especially important to go through your skills as often as you can because those will fill the gauge for you to unleash powerful Extra Skills that will deal massive damage but charge slowly. Combine this with using the charge attack to get more SP so you can use more skills, the combat had some depth to it, despite how simple it first appears.
To get these skills, you have to equip different weapons. Each weapon has a skill that the character can then use and once they use them enough, they keep the skill and can move on to a new weapon. It is a nice motivator for collecting weapons and seeing all the skills you can get.
Along with the main quest, there are also a few side quests to do as well. I didn't find these to interesting and stayed out of most of them. This is because most of them are just fetch quests. Go and get the ingredient from every part of the map. Not really my cup of tea. I did, however, like exploring the world and finding optional Titanos to face. These were fun quests that often had great rewards such as new items and more powerful Extra Skills. These provided a nice distraction from the main quest and were a good reason to explore the land, even if exploration is a little limited.
Graphics and Audio
YS Seven is a PSP game and this shows. While the game as a whole does look quite nice, there are a few things that clearly date it. This is mostly in the way background sprites are clearly just ugly 2D objects in a 3D game. They look really off and this is especially noticeable in towns. It isn't as bad in the dungeons and is masked somewhat by the nice art style. This is especially easy to forgive since the Titanos look quite good for their time. They are uniquely designed and look quite intimidating at times.
The audio is top-notch most of the time. While I some of the sound effects are odd, like snakes creatures that attack you sounding like toys, most are serviceable enough. What goes beyond serviceable is the music. The music is great and each area has a memorable track that fits with the mood of the area. It is a great sound track that makes hiking all around Altago far more enjoyable.
While some of these may be fixed at launch, I find it important to highlight that I had quite a few technical problems with the game. The biggest is that I was capped at a 1080 resolution and had to play windowed. The game simply does not work full screen which is a huge issue. I also had the game crash on me when I walked away for a minute to grab something to eat. This wouldn't have been too bad if I wasn't in a huge story moment that stopped me from saving so I had to go back and watch the whole thing again since you can't skip cutscenes.
This is certainly not a flawless port. They also made the mistake of capping it at 60 FPS, which is not going to make you many friends among PC gamers. These all certainly hold back an otherwise great title. Still, I think the game is fun enough to deal with them.
YS Seven is not a perfect game, but it is a good one. The story monologues too much and loves exposition, but the fact paced nature of the combat is worth some sub-par writing. While it may take some time to get going, once it does, it never really stops. New things are constantly popping up and it makes for an exciting journey.
The biggest thing holding this game down is the technical issues. Beyond just limiting resolution and FPS, some things simply don't' work. Playing a game windowed is not exactly fun. Manageable sure, but not fun. Hopefully these problems are fixed by launch or shortly after so they don't do too much harm to a pretty great game.
|+ Fast paced combat||– Some ugly sprites|
|+ Great music||– Sub-par writing|
|+ Titano design||– Technical issues|