I knew nothing of this games series before I played but Ys Origin looked like your typical Japanese RPG/platformer or Metroidvania game. As I delved into it though it turned out to be a lot more than that and quite enjoyable.
In the beginning, there was Ys Origin
Ys Origin is set 700 years before the happenings of Ys 1 and Ys 2. The land of Ys has been overrun with Demons so to save its people the Kingdom has been launched up into the sky. The two goddesses of Ys have disappeared from their home in Solomon Shrine.
A search party, consisting of members of the Holy Knights of Ys, are sent to the ground to discover what has become of them. Their search leads them to a gigantic spire (which will eventually be known in future games as Darm Tower), where invading forces want to use the power of the goddesses for their own ends. This is also the first Ys game that does not feature Adol Christin as its main protagonist so I read after a bit of research.
A tale of two styles
At the beginning of the game, you get to choose between two characters Yunica Tovah, who is the granddaughter of one of the six priests of Ys. Then there is Hugo Fact, an ancestor of the evil Dark Fact. Both of these characters bring a different playing style to your various playthroughs.
Yunica has a more in your face style and wields a small axe (and big sword later on) which I found great. She is not what you would typically find in a female character in this type of game so it was a breath of fresh air. I like a good tank character and I found her playthrough a bit more difficult especially in the boss battles because I had to get up close and personal which was no easy task let me tell you.
Hugo on the other hand was much easier to go with at the start and I would recommend beginners to the game do the same. Hugo is a magic wielder so his style is a more ranged style as he uses magic missiles from his staff. He also has the Eyes of Fact that are like two floating eyes that shoot projectiles as well. As I said this run and gun style is easy to use if you are starting out and when up against the huge bosses.
There is also a third playable character called “The Claw”, you fight him a few times during the game and he is unlocked when you complete the game with both Yunica and Hugo. He is a lot like Yunica in fighting style but has…yes you guessed it two big claws.
It’s all about the intro
To say I went into this game with high hopes would be a lie, the story is pretty typical for a game like this but what grabbed me straight away by the balls was the amazing intro animation and song. Just think of your favourite anime theme and that’s it in a nutshell, big guitars riffs and solos, everything you can ask for and because of that I was drawn into the game in an instant.
I think the music in Ys Origin works for it much like the music of a Final Fantasy game and it reminded me in particular of a Final Fantasy 1 and Final Fantasy 2. The game itself is a dungeon crawler but it didn’t feel like that. It felt more like Gauntlet or when I was playing with Hugo, like Contra of all things.
It never felt like a chore to backtrack on yourself to solve a puzzle as the respawn rate of the demons is fast and they get more difficult the higher in the tower you go. Another element Ys Origin has going for it is the boss battles. They just felt big and important and that is what is missing from a lot of games these days and that is BIG bosses, the bigger the better is what I say.
The story became secondary for me pretty much from the start because this was a prequel to eight other games so they would expect you to have at least some knowledge of the lore but I wouldn’t hold that against them. This is an enjoyable game and it isn’t too long or tedious so you will want to replay it with the other characters and by doing that you will learn more and more about Ys. If you are a fan of this genre of games then this won’t disappoint.
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