Nihon Falcom’s long-running Ys series are pure gaming comfort food. Simple but solid fantasy adventure stories, fast, arcadey action, complex boss fights and great soundtracks. Yet another finds its way to PC today. Ys: Memories of Celceta was originally a PS Vita game (and one I’ve owned for many years), but regular localisation/porting outfit XSeed have done a lot of work polished it up for this re-release. Memories of Celceta is out now, and I reckon that it’s a good first pick if you’ve not played an Ys game before.
While there’s some exploration, puzzle-solving and chattering with NPCs, the core of the Ys games has always been fast-paced combat, and Memories of Celceta doesn’t break tradition. You directly control one hero at a time and hack, slash and combo your way through scads of monsters and regular multi-phase, pattern-based boss fights. As with other recent Ys games, your AI-controlled buddies provide decent support, too. It’s a simple but gratifying loop – enter a new area, smash, loot and level, and then apply those lessons in a big set piece battle.
Thanks to suffering a bout of magically induced amnesia, recurring protagonist and unstoppable stab-machine Adol Christin gets to piece together his own origin story over the course of this adventure, so newcomers are just as confused as he is. As he’s a bit of a globe-trotting adventurer, almost all the cast and locations are new, aside from one or two recurring buddies, making it an ideal starting point. It’s also a bit easier than most Ys games, so veterans can feel free to bump difficulty up a notch or two.
While I’ve not been able to wrangle a preview build out of XSeed, they’ve been streaming their progress on the port, and it looks like they’ve done a good job with it. While some blurry textures and relatively low-poly character models betray its Vita origins, it does look much improved over its original handheld release. The PC version also comes with a fully translated PDF version of Adol’s travel journal, a very 90s style manual – equal parts game guide, art-book and lore dump, which is entirely my jam.