Sunday, December 29, 2013

GOT 'IM - Ys Vanished Omen: The Final Chapter

Right, the title says "The Final Chapter" but really it's just Ys II.  Part of the Ys Chronicles+ collection on Steam.  Review ahead. 

OK, first thing's first, check my review of Ys I from two days ago.  You can use the Why Yes tag to find it easily if you need to.  Back?  Well, about 80% of that applies here.  This PC re-remake of Ys II is extremely similar to the first game of the compilation, except it's better.  I'm really, REALLY going to try and keep this one short. 

Ys I ends with Adol finding all six Books of Ys and being transported to the lost continent.  At the start of Ys II, he finds himself on a floating island above the clouds - so that's where Ys went!  Adol soon befriends townspeople, rights wrongs, and obtains treasures en route to saving Ys from the leaders of the demons from the first game.

Ys II is just better than Ys I in almost every respect.  There are more dungeons and they're both more elaborate and have puzzles that aren't quite as obtuse (looking at the Mask of Truth and poison hallway puzzles from Ys I).  The difficulty curve is much more reasonable, with bosses and dungeons getting progressively complicated and difficult instead of being either extremely easy or brokenly hard.  Adol is more powerful, with more sensible bump combat (it's back!) and six magic spells to help him both in combat and in dungeons.  The available sidequests are better, as Adol can give gifts to townsfolk to befriend them, occasionally receiving new information or items from them.  Ys II uses the same basic format of Ys I, relying on very simple event flagging that isn't always obvious, but it does just about everything better.

I'm not kidding about this.  Ys II is just like Ys I, except more, prettier, and smarter.  It also incorporates Ys lore a little better, with Adol meeting and interacting with the magics, legacy and descendants of the six priests of Ys in meaningful ways instead of locating six books at convenient plot points.  Ys II incorporates a few of the major NPCs of the first Ys (mostly the two goddesses) in the story, most notably continuing Feena's story arc.  The plot in general is still a follow-the-dialog mess (I occasionally consulted a guide), but the entire time I was playing Ys II I was impressed.  It's so much better than Ys I.  [broken record]

So that's that.  Ys II is way better than Ys I, but it won't make much sense unless you play Ys I first.  It also clocks in at roughly double the playtime of Ys I (roughly 9 hours instead of 5) and does much better at not overstaying its welcome.  I think this will be the last "bump system" Ys game I play for awhile, but at least it ended on a positive note.  I enjoyed Ys II quite a bit, but I'd still recommend The Oath in Felghana or Origin before either of the first two. 

Games Beaten: 2013 Edition
1. Persona 4
2. Pokemon White Version 2
3. 10,000,000
4. Persona 4 Arena
5. Persona 3 FES: The Journey (NG+)
6. Hexyz Force
7. Persona 4 (NG+)
8. Psychonauts
9. Tales of Vesperia
10. Guacamelee!
11. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
12. Final Fantasy VI Advance
13. Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4
14. inFamous 2 Evil Finish
15. Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
16. Torchlight II (Classist)
17. Donkey Kong Country Returns
18. DuckTales Remastered
19. Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga
20. Diablo III
21. Ys: The Oath in Felghana
22. Ancient Ys Vanished: Omen
23. Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness
24. Ancient Ys Vanished: The Final Chapter
25. Ys Origin

Targets: 6/13


Goddammit, I'm behind again.  Surprise, surprise.  I have a few days to try and beat Metroid Prime to get my target completion rate above 50%, and I dunno if I can do it.  Wish me luck, people.  Hopefully you'll see a review of that on Tuesday. 

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