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Ys: Memories of Celceta Review

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For many people, the PlayStation Vita is a waste of money. It was improperly marketed and released at the wrong time during the PS3’s life cycle. Many will argue that there are no good games on it. While these are purely subjective it is somewhat true. Handhelds like the Gameboy and DS have held up high with their large library of games, even the 3DS is starting to hit its stride with games. One of the most popular JRPG franchises for over 20 years is getting the Vita treatment, Ys. Ys: Memories of Celceta is a game that is redefining the franchise with full 3D graphics and a more sophisticated combat system. While the previous titles were somewhat linear, they had some feelings of freeroaming left in there. How does Ys: Memories of Celceta hold up to the other games, and is it worth getting a Vita for it? I will let you make the final decision.

Adol returns as the hero of Memories of Celceta, plagued with amnesia him and Duren must find clues to jog Adol’s memory while journeying through the dangerous Forest of Celceta. The people along the way remember Adol but become hostile and worrysome over his amnesia creating a whole mess of problems. So far, Adol is the only person to make it out of the forest alive, he must find out why.

I like the story, it has some great moments as you get deeper into the game. You learn about everything as Adol regains his memories. While the game loses some points personally because I think stories told through flashbacks is incredibly lazy storytelling, I digress and decided to make a mention of it. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just feels kind of thrown together when the main points of the story are told with sepia tone and voice overs. The characters are all unique and with their own personalities, which of course if nice because it makes for some great dialogue.

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The combat of MoC is familiar but knew. Skills are allocated to holding L + Face Buttons similar to games like Star Ocean or Tales of. This addition with the fast paced real time combat that Ys is known for makes for some great boss battles. Each character has a specific kind of attack, these attacks are ineffective and effective against certain enemies. You can switch between characters on a whim to accommodate this functionality. Surprisingly enough, the AI behaves very well. You can switch between two different modes for the AI to act by using movements on the rear touch pad, sadly enough, other than menu selection, this is really the only touch interaction with the game.

When you fill up a certain meter you can executed super powerful attacks that deal tons of damage to anything caught in the path. The catch is that this meter tends to fill slowly, especially when you are fighting a single boss. As usual there is an equipment system and now we have a more indepth upgrade system. Collecting materials on the battlefield can give your weapons different stats from extra damage to status effects given how much they are modified. This goes for armor as well. It may be an expensive process but in many cases it is worth it.

The combat is great, but it does get really old after a while when you are exploring. It got to a point where I was just speeding through areas because fighting everything in an area takes way too much time. The boss battles are really nicely done because you get that feeling of weakness that should happen when fighting bosses. On many occasions they rely heavily on classic pattern memorizing and at various points the patterns change. It is a delightful mix of old school and new school.

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A core mechanic of MoC is exploration. No one has returned from the Forest of Celceta so naturally Adol is employed by the military to map it out. The more you discover, the more you are rewarded. The entire game flow hinders on this mechanic, and quite frankly it kills the pacing. As with the early Ys games, MoC has conveyance issues. While games like Ys Origins solved this with more linear level design MoC is entirely freeform and I am not sure it works for the series. I guess it is clever design when they tell you the forest is hard to navigate when you get lost and pass over various areas all the time. The game flow just feels awkward. As does the various unbalanced side quests that appear. You never know if you are able to fight some of the side quest monsters. There is one fight that I feel like I am too low to fight, it is against the Monkey King. I get the quest at about level 15 but this thing kills me in two hits. It doesn’t help that these quests are timed.

The biggest issue with Ys: Memories of Celceta is game flow, while the game has been redefined with a more concise combat system and revamped graphics, MoC tends to get old quickly and fails to keep the player invested. It isn’t a real reason to rush out and get a Vita for the game, but it is worth getting if you already own a Vita. I give Ys: Memories of Celceta a 7/10.

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