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Ys: Memories of Celceta Review

As I mentioned in my Ys Seven review a few years back,  the Ys series isn’t as mainstream as other JRPGs like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, but it does have a fairly large fan base in both the West and in Japan. However unlike those two games, fans of Ys have been able to actually experience and play previous entries into the series thanks to Nihon Falcom and XSEED’s commitment to their fans. And now fans are able to experience another one of Aldo’s earlier adventures in Ys Memories of Celceta, the fourth game in the series.

 

But first a quick and interesting side note about Memories of Celceta. Memories of Celceta is actually the third game to be considered the fourth entry to the Ys series. The other two Ys IV games are The Dawn of Ys and Mask of the Sun. Both games were developed by different studios, Dawn developed by Hudson Soft and Mask by Tonkin House. Both games featured the same cast of characters and the same world but had different stories. Before Memories of Celceta, Dawn of Ys was considered to be the official canon. But with several of the games being re-release with things added in, Memories of Celceta replaced Dawn of Ys as the official canon game in the series. Even so, can Memories of Celceta stand on its own as a Ys game?

 

ON WARD TO ADVENTURE

 

Plays like previous “new” Ys games- For the past few years, all of the Ys games have been getting graphical updates, new content added in and other things. But one thing has remained somewhat the same: gameplay. Memories of Celceta plays just like all of the previous “new” Ys games, save for a feature or two missing. Combat, dashing, dodging and pulling off super attack, they all feel the same way as the previous games, which is great since Ys isn’t really that complex of a game, mechanics wise. If you have only played just one Ys or played them all you will feel right at home.

 

Gives more backstory to Aldo- With as much adventuring as our red haired hero does, you would think that eventually we would get some back story as to how became an adventurer, or at least what inspired him to explore the world. In Memories of Celceta the first thing that happens to Aldo is that he loses his memory. At first I thought “Well there goes any kind of backstory”. But it turns out as Aldo and friends are journeying to figure out how he lost his memories of what happened to him days earlier, memories of his childhood start to pop up. We get to see brief glimpses of Aldo as a kid, the village he grew up in and various points in his childhood that influenced him to be the adventure he is today.

 

Touch functions useful and make sense- A major complaint that I have with most RPGs that land on the Vita is that they either don’t take advantage of the Vita’s various functions or just shoehorn them in and they end up feeling clunky and not really useful. I’m not really asking for much,just for faster ways to access my menus and maps while freeing up my face buttons. Memories of Celceta is the first RPG that uses the Vita’s touch functions in a way that makes sense and is not shoehorned in. By pinching the front screen in or out will have the game zoom in or out. Doing that same motion on the rear touch pad tells your party members how to act. You can access the map by pressing the icon that is on the top right of the screen, and you can access the main menu by tapping the icon that is located on the bottom. Going through the menu options is simple swipe and press navigation, as well as equipping items and special moves.

 

Tons of action and puzzle solving- Like previous Ys games in the series, Memories of Celceta has a ton of action and puzzles to solve. Right off the bat after discovering that Aldo may have lost him memories, he is sent back out to explore the area and chart his findings. Though his memories lost, Aldo seems to have retained his adventurous spirit and agrees. As Aldo rediscovers previous areas and his memories, people will join his party and will spice up the action. Ranging from throwing knives, bows and tridents to magic and old fashion fists taking down monsters is both fun and tactical, since each monster has a weakness to certain attacks. Puzzles are in abundance as well and range from simple switch based to having to control a different member of Aldo’s party because only that person has the skills needed to solve the puzzle. Most take a few moments to ponder on, but once solved you’ll have an “Ah Ha” moment.

 

Best soundtrack in the series so far- With the most recent Ys games, including the remakes of the older games, the series has had some of the most awesome sounding music in any RPG that I’ve played. The mix of an shredding guitar with the elegance of a violin makes the music standout because you usually don’t have the two together. The music in Memories of Celceta is some of the best music from the series so far. Each area and town has its own theme, battles themes fade in and out organically without stopping the flow of whatever theme was playing before, and boss battle themes are just as epic as ever. There are more guitar riffs and violin solos in this game than there has ever been in the series and they complement each other so well.

 

Are we there yet?

 

Search and talk quests- The only thing that I really didn’t like in Memories of Celceta are the search and talk quest. Here’s the set up: Aldo has done some exploring in Celceta and before the start of the game. It seems that when has left the places he has previously visited before losing his memory, something bad happened. So when he and his friends travel back to the places he has visited, the locals blame him for the bad happening and arrest him. Or they think he’s a ghost and they arrest him. Or he touched something and he gets arrested. In order to clear his name, he has to talk to certain people in order to get his name cleared and move the story along. The thing is that you don’t know which people to talk to. You then end up talking up to every one. In my playthrough I talked to everyone in the village but the story still didn’t progress. At my wits end I ended up Googling what was wrong and it turns out that I missed one person who hidden in plain view.

 

Ys Memories of Celceta is one of the best Ys games in the series so far. It takes everything that makes a Ys game fun and exciting and ramps it up to 11. The music is as great as ever and the action and puzzles are fun to get lost in. We finally get to see some of Aldo past and what shaped him into the adventurer he is. My only real complaint is having to search out certain NPCs to advance the story, end up talking to everyone, learn that I missed someone and find him in a place that I have been to dozen times. Other than tha Memories of Celceta is a great addition to the Ys series and is a Vita game that Vita owners need to pick up if they are looking to lose some hours on a grand adventure.

9/10

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