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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ys I & II Chronicles (イース I & II Chronicles)

The first time I ever played a Ys game was on the SNES. The game left such a bad taste in my mouth, traumatically wasting a precious video game rental, that I avoided the series for about a decade until Ys I & II on the PSP.

Despite my self-delusional fantasy of growing up in Japan, my <sarcasm>wonderful childhood</sarcasm> in New Jersey left me deprived of all the good games from Japan and things like the PC88/98, MSX, and FM TOWNS were totally unheard of. Nowadays, every Joe Schmo thinks they're some sort of expert because they can use Google but back in the dark ages, we only knew about whatever was on TV or at the local video rental (or Toys"R"Us for the rich kids). So yeah, good luck on finding out about the TurboGrafx-CD version in 1990.

This is SO nostalgic in my fake Japanese fantasy childhood.
(http://www.tokyorpgfactory.com/)
Starting up Ys I & II as a newcomer was quite a shock for me as a retro newb. I was frantically trying to figure out how to attack the enemies. Eventually, I got a sword and still it totally did nothing. Apparently, I wasn't retro enough to realize that your sword doesn't actually move and you just run into enemies. Now, if you have not played these games, just running into enemies sound completely boring and pointless but the trick is to not run at enemies head-on (this hurts you) but from at an angle or from behind.

You're better off going at it from behind (hardy harhar)
You may be tempted to think just running into stuff won't be a very fun game but you would be OH SO VERY WRONG. I beat both games on Hard and some of the boss battles are incredibly challenging. It will take all your reflexes, pattern learning, and coordination not to mention hours of practice to beat both games on hard. Be prepared for a very sore thumb and an intense feeling of satisfaction when you finally beat the game.

The first game especially was brutal at some parts. Yes, the bat boss in the first game was HARD AS HELL but at least you could grind for it. The last boss with the collapsing floor tiles was just ridiculous and there's no way to grind past the max level. I didn't really like how luck played a large part as sometimes you can get completely stuck if you're unlucky with a falling floor tile.

The second game is not as hard as they added magic and the ability to use your items during the boss battles. Having items during the battle made a huge difference in terms of difficulty but it's still no push over.

Shooting fireballs makes Ys 2 a bit easier even on the first boss
Overall, I shudder to think what the games are like on Nightmare mode.

The game has the original PC88, PC engine and a newly arranged soundtrack and it's all good even though I'm not normally a fan of rock guitar music. Koshiro Yuzo was one of the original composers so I don't think anything more needs to be said about that.

There are better tracks but you'll hear this one for so often, you'll never forget it

By now, everybody and their moms have talked the Ys series to death but I still have to add my two cents to say I&II is really a lot of fun. I would even go as far as to say I missed the bumping mechanic while playing Oath in Felghana. You have to do all this CRAP such as jumping and swinging your sword around that I'm just like UGH, I wish I could just run into shit.

Score: 3.5 OW MY THUMB!!!! out of 5.

I liked the PSP version so much that I even bought the PS2 version in case I'm ever in the mood for some good ol' bumping action on the big screen.

Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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