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Ys: Memories of Celceta Review

The Sony Vita has been a bit overlooked these past few years with action adventure games being very thin on the ground, all the while the 3DS has been spoilt with greats like Zelda, Fire Emblem and Etrian Odyssey; leaving just the back catalogue of retro classics to get your fix. That is about to change with Ys: Memories of Celceta.

I have an admission to make here, I have not played a Ys game in the past, deciding to skip the large back catalogue is now something that after this game I really have to change as this Vita title is classic adventure gaming at its best. For those in the know though, this is a reimaging of the Ys IV games, of which there are two versions, one on the Super Nintendo (Super Famicom), the other on the PC Engine (thanks Wiki). With the original Ys creators back on the helm, Memories of Celceta creates a more flowing storyline, though for likeminded players, this is created in such a way that you really do not need any knowledge of the previous titles.

Like all of the best adventure games we start with an amnesiac hero, in this case Adol, who has returned to the city of Casnan after venturing into Great Forest, something that most do and never return. Though back in body, Adol’s mind is elsewhere, with no recollection of what has happened during his journey. Meeting up with a local "go to" guy Duren and also taking on the role of a cartographer, mapping out the forest in search of new mineral deposits they team up for an adventure of a lifetime. Though the lands beyond the town are unknown, everyone knows that the beasts and monsters that lurk beyond the boundaries are not to be trifled with, however even though Adol cannot remember much, he is still a dab hand with his sword.

Though by all looks and appearances this could be taken as your classic RPG and it does have plenty if familiar traits, the bulk is all about the action, with each land and dungeon littered with all sorts of enemies allowing you and your team to fight them in real time, blocking and avoiding attacks whilst dishing out all sorts of powerful moves. As your adventure takes you to new, undiscovered cities, more will join your party, each of whom will have their own specific attributes via one of three weapon types: slash, pierce and strike. With a small team to start with consisting of Adol and his sword and Duran and his gauntlets, you are able to jump from one character to the other with a tap of a button, utilising each of the special moves and powers and using these against each monsters weakness. As your team grows, as does the amount of special powers on offer, with you able to have three members of your party on screen at one (though to swap between all the members is instant) you can utilise the use of swords, maces, halberds and even ranged throwing knives. Control of the rest of your party on screen is very easy, with the game managing to keep up with you at the best of times, running around collecting spoils of war and also responding to your two very basic commands, attack or evade, both triggered by pinching the back touch screen.

With quite a lot happening all at once when fighting, the battle system is very balanced and easy to use, with basic attacks used with the square button, guard with the triangle and circle to evade, the latter will also grant extra powers when pressed at the correct time, making a defensive approach equally devastating with perfect guards earning you a brief critical attack combo and well-timed evades slowing down time allowing you for a flurry of attacks. Attacks will also earn SP, which via the gauge in the bottom right will slowly build, which in turn allows you to spend SP points on whatever special powers you wish to unleash.
Each party member will slowly rank up independently from one another as long as they are a physical member of team on screen, with each level up adding more health points (HP) and with frequent use, levelling up and unlocking even more special powers.

With a great action based battle system the game has deep roots in classic RPG’s, with you able to equip your team with a variety of weapons, armour and other items to boost your chances with increased HP, lower SP consumption to even gaining SP by just walking around. All of the weapons and items are able to be either created or even improved by using the minerals from mining and loot drops from defeated enemies. These can be held until you arrive at the relevant shop, combining certain items to unlock even more devastating potential from you weaponry like elemental effects.

With a lot of the game requiring you to just wander around the huge Great Forest, there are also puzzle elements that appear here and even in the few dungeons on offer, with certain artifacts empowering you with special abilities like a Dwarf Bracelet that can shrink you down to size, Hydra Scales that allow you to swim to new depths, Gale Shoes that let you run up steep slopes or the valuable Spirit Cape that when worn will recharge your health when standing still. These are not really used as much as titles like Zelda but add a nice puzzle element to your adventures.

Considering the size of the game (coming in at well over 20 hours play) and what the game throws at you the visuals are decent enough and whilst not a pretty as many vita games out there, it never puts you off, being more akin to a very good PS2 in terms of visuals.

Ys: Memories of Celceta has been a joy to play from start to finish and is a must have purchase for not only fans of RPGs, but for gamers looking for a deep and challenging adventure to take on the road.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PS Vita)


+ A huge and engrossing action adventure.
+ Customise your weapons and armour.
+ Plenty of side quests.
+ Decent selection of characters to play as.
+ For an RPG it never gets overly confusing with technical terms.


None listed

Edited On 25 Feb, 2014

( 5 )
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
I need to get a Vita. Ash a few Ys games are on Steam, I recommend getting them (Get them all for around £5 during a sale)
Ash Buchanan's avatar
Ash Buchanan 3 years ago
Thanks, I think most are on PSN, old PSP versions I think and after playing this game I really want to play them. No idea why I avoided them for so long
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
The only one that is on PSN that isn't on Steam is Ys Seven but Xseed are working on bringing that to Steam. Also have a look into TITS (Trails in the Sky, get your mind out of the gutter) for another not so well know series that is held in the same regard as Ys
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
I plan on getting this sometime but Toukiden is keeping my attention on the handheld front just now.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 3 years ago
Played an hour of this before going back to Bravely Default for my RPG needs, it was pretty fun from what I played. Just wasn't hooked from it. But wow. 20 hours for an RPG, I'm assuming that's rushing through it and ignoring the sidequests, cus that feels pretty short imo.

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