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 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Ys: The Oath in Felghana review / by Spoony Spoonicus
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 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 08:45pm 07/03/11 (09:43am 06/28/11) in 49m29s  §  1849 eyeballs
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Ys had been a relatively unknown name in America for a long time, what with its only releases being on the Sega Master System, Turbo Grafx CD, and a few low-key release on the Genesis, SNES, Playstation 2 and PSP. Thankfully, that all changed within the last couple years, with a DS release of the first two games, followed by THREE PSP titles - another remake of the first two games, a new title (Ys Seven) and Oath in Felghana, a remake of the third game in the franchise. Well, it turns out we were missing out on some pretty damn good stuff - not only are they all damn solid action-RPGs, they've also got some inspired stories, excellent soundtracks (power metal!) and gameplay that capitalizes on its soundtrack by being amazingly fast-paced and intense. And hey, the voice acting isn't too shabby either.

Case in point, Oath in Felghana's combat is heavily based upon wiping enemies out in rapid succession - doing so will actually grant you temporary bonuses, boosting your character's Strength, Defense and MP regeneration rate, as well as increasing experience gained from subsequent kills (up to 1.99x the base amount). It's actually a pretty clever way to make the combat more fast-paced, as well as give you a means to eliminate enemies who are significantly stronger than you at that point - just wipe out some lesser enemies to build up bonuses, and then use said bonuses to dish out more damage and boost your defense. It also makes level grinding significantly less of a chore, which is always a plus.

The boss battles are among the most intense I've ever encountered in the genre. They're all ruthlessly fast-paced and require some hair-trigger dodging skills to evade enemy attacks, which usually come in waves of projectiles - some homing in on your general position, some just large waves that can only be evaded with a perfectly timed series of jumps, some just jetting ruthlessly fast at your current position, and still other times where the boss will simply charge in swinging, leaving themself vulnerable for only a brief moment after a long attack combo. You certainly can't just brute-force your way through these fights - you actually have to puzzle out the patterns and evade these attacks, waiting for the proper time to strike (which sometimes can be as little as half a second!). I was actually reminded a bit of Treasure games like Alien Soldier, Radiant Silvergun and Sin & Punishment as I played, which is definitely no bad thing.

A kick-ass action RPG. If I hadn't put off playing it for several months, it probably would have hit my Top 10 games of 2010 list!


On to Ys Seven!
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