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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ys: The Oath in Felghana(イース -フェルガナの誓い-)

I started Ys: Felghana no Chikai (that's "oath" for the non-jhipsters) pretty much right after I beat Ys 2 since it's a remake of Ys 3. In the good ol' days, people used to use numbers so customers would know what order shit came in. But now, we have games like Ghostbusters 2016 aka "AHAHA you bought this garbage??", Tomb Raider 2013 aka "we spent that whole year working on Lara's hair", and Prince of Persia 2008 aka "maybe it'll sell better if you can't fucking die joke edition" so yeah whatever, we're all fucked. Where was I? Oh yeah.

So Falcom is probably THE pioneer of series you can never figure out without consulting Wikipedia (fuck you Dragon Slayer 2 Legend of Heroes -4 Xanadu not Next). So after looking up what games are in what order, I decided to skip Ys Wanderers From Ys, and went straight to the remake.

For fuck's sake, jut put the goddamn 3 on the cover
I mentioned previously that I was traumatized on the series from the start with a rental of the SNES side-scrolling version of this game. Fortunately, Falcom went back and fixed it all up and made a completely different game which is probably why they changed the subtitle.

They scrapped the side scrolling thing and went with the 2.5 style of the later Ys games. The classic bumping mechanic is gone and you now have to jump and climb platforms and shit. When I first started this game after finishing Ys 2, it was weird having to swing your sword like some kind of barbarian. I imagine Adol was previously using some impressive Iai invisible sword attacks during the bumps previously so this brute swinging style seems like a few steps backwards for the swordsman in terms of technique.

This is Adol in Ys I+II... IMO.
Personally, I preferred the old style without all this fancy double jumping and attack button. Even though the platforming segments were pretty tame and not super annoying, I'm not a big fan of jumping on shit, falling, and having to start again. (Did I mention I'm not big into platformers?) What was REALLY annoying were those TINY flying monsters which were such a pain to attack especially before you get the green ring.

...well at least it's better than Mario...
In fact, this game is pretty annoying until you unlock at least the dash ability (aka oh thank god, I can move at a normal speed FINALLY). The options give you the ability to have dash on at all times or by double tapping a direction but seriously why?? Turn it on always. DUH!

Take my advice and turn dash on always. Screw that arrow key x2 BS.
Another tip is to not worry about having enough Ravel ore. I never upgraded my equipment until the end because I was a Ravel hoarder. Only to find out near the end that enemies in the last dungeon drop Ravel so there's no need to hoard. Another great tip for boss battles is the healing cloak. While it will never restore HP by itself during boss battles because you can't stand still long enough, it WILL restore HP when you boost after the curly bar totally fills up. I unfortunately didn't realize this until the last two bosses but it definitely came in handy for the tough final boss. My final tip is to check the castle entrance frequently as there's a missable escort event there.

You can press L to quickly switch to the cloak
The exploration gets easier as you unlock other abilities such as teleportation to save points and pretty much becomes a cakewalk when you get the healing cloak except for the bosses. Oh boy, the bosses. I played on Hard difficulty (cause hardcore gamer) and each boss battle was an exercise in trial and error by death. Nearly every boss battle was tense, frustrating, and while winning had that great feeling of satisfaction, it was mentally exhausting as well. Especially near the end, it seems like there's yet another boss around every corner.

I've been playing this game on and off for over a year now because I always felt a need for a break from yet another extremely tense boss battle. Since I'm hardcore but not masochist, I didn't play on Nightmare mode in the previous games and this game unlocks an even HARDER Inferno difficulty upon completion. You can get New Game+ bonuses but yeah... maybe next time.

Overall the boss battles are definitely the highlight making this game so fun but frustrating. That ice dragon thingy took at least 10 if not 20+ tries to beat. One personal highlight was Zirduros, The Clockwork Cannon. On about my fourth try, I've pretty much given up on winning after a dumb start and only one hit away from death. Then I got into some kind of crazy groove where I was able to dodge or ram through every one of his attacks with the yellow ring. HELL YEAH!!

The story was adequate to move the action along and voiced, which was nice. The music was, you know, the usual Ys stuff.

You're going to be hearing this a lot on Hard mode

Score: 3 oh you better believe some oaths will be said while you play and they will have nothing to do with Felghana out of 5 (19 hours on record to beat but probably more with resets)

I didn't enjoy this game quite as much as the first two. All that complicated jumping and swinging sword seemed to detract from the pure precision and skill required of the first two games (well except for that bullshit falling tile hope you're lucky final boss in the first game). However, while the exploration and grinding before boss battles were ho-hum, the boss battles were definitely sweaty hands good action, though a bit tiring.

Being a Ys game, it's localized in English and easily accessible on Steam (I played the #BAE PSP version of course). I don't know if the drama CD is localized however. It's pretty much a rehash of the same story anyways. Non-jhipsters aren't missing much. Those hoping for a hot spring scene with Elena will be sorely disappointed (um... not me!).

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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