Ys Origin, developed by Nihon Falcom and released in 2012 for Windows, is a prequel to the long-standing Ys series, which dates back to 1987. With its fast-paced action, engaging story, and beautifully crafted world, Ys Origin is a must-play for fans of the action RPG genre. Even more than a decade after its release, it continues to shine, providing hours of entertainment for both newcomers and veterans of the series.
Set 700 years before the events of the first Ys game, Ys Origin chronicles the tale of the legendary twin goddesses Reah and Feena, who have mysteriously vanished from the land of Ys. As the world teeters on the brink of destruction, the knights and sorcerers of Ys embark on a desperate search for the goddesses. You play as either Yunica Tovah, a talented but inexperienced knight, or Hugo Fact, a genius mage, each with their own unique storyline and gameplay style.
What makes Ys Origin's narrative so gripping is the strong character development, combined with a rich backstory that expands the Ys universe. Throughout the game, you'll encounter various NPCs who add depth to the story and provide insight into the struggles faced by the people of Ys.
Graphics and Sound
Ys Origin's vibrant 2D sprites and beautifully drawn backgrounds are a testament to Nihon Falcom's artistry. The game's visual design effectively captures the fantastical atmosphere of Ys, with each environment boasting its own distinct look and feel. The character animations are fluid, making the combat experience both satisfying and engaging.
The game's soundtrack, composed by the talented Falcom Sound Team JDK, is another standout feature. Each track masterfully evokes the mood of the game's various settings, from the ominous tension of the Devil's Tower to the serene beauty of the goddesses' sanctuary. The music is perfectly suited to the action and adds to the overall atmosphere.
Ys Origin is an action RPG with a heavy focus on real-time combat. Each of the two playable characters offers a unique playstyle, making the game feel fresh and enjoyable on multiple playthroughs. Yunica excels in melee combat, wielding a variety of elemental axes that can be upgraded throughout the game, while Hugo relies on ranged magic attacks and strategic use of his unique force field ability.
The game's difficulty curve is well-balanced, with players gradually unlocking new abilities and upgrades as they progress. Ys Origin is challenging but never feels unfair or frustrating, thanks to responsive controls and a well-designed combat system.
Boss battles are a major highlight of the Ys Origin experience. Each boss is meticulously designed, with distinct attack patterns and strategies that must be mastered to prevail. These encounters are both challenging and rewarding, as players must think on their feet and adapt to each boss's unique tactics.
One minor drawback of Ys Origin is the lack of an in-game map, which can make navigating the game's interconnected environments somewhat confusing at times. However, this issue is somewhat mitigated by the game's linear progression and the presence of clear visual cues to guide players through each area.
In addition to the two main characters, a third secret character becomes available upon completing the game once, offering an entirely new perspective on the story and further extending the game's replay value. Moreover, there are multiple difficulty levels and a time attack mode for players seeking an extra challenge or aiming to improve their skills.
Ys Origin is a true gem in the action RPG genre that has aged remarkably well since its 2012 release. With its engaging story, beautiful visuals, memorable soundtrack, and challenging yet satisfying gameplay, it provides hours of entertainment for both newcomers to the series and long-time Ys fans. The multiple playable characters, each with their own unique playstyle and storyline, significantly enhance the game's replayability, ensuring that players will want to return to the world of Ys time and time again.
While the lack of an in-game map can occasionally lead to confusion when navigating the game's environments, this minor issue does not detract from the overall quality and enjoyment that Ys Origin offers. As a prequel to the beloved Ys series, it does an excellent job of expanding the game's universe, providing fascinating backstory and context for fans of the franchise.