Ys: Memories of Celceta marks the fourth canonical entry in Adol Christin’s adventures. Starting as a PC-8801 series in Japan, the red-haired adventurer has been exploring his way through dungeons and saving damsels in distress. The action role-playing series has seen its way onto most consoles during its 25 years. Now, the Playstation Vita gets a reimagining of Adol’s fourth adventure in the series at the hands of Nihon Falcom. Is Ys: Memories of Celceta a beautiful memory or does it suffer from amnesia?
Memories of Celceta opens up with a badly wounded Adol Christin wandering his way back into town after a routine excursion into the Celceta forest. As a trope that plagues most JRPG adventurers, Adol suffers from a fit of amnesia no doubt brought about by his injuries. It’s this sort of amnesia that drives forth most of the story and gives the game its namesake.
Offscreen before the game starts, Adol has already ventured into Celceta’s depths and interacted with its inhabitants, usually with solving their problems in his altruistic nature. However, being a recent amnesiac tends to have its share of problems as Adol can’t seem to recall much of anything he’s done. Only by locating memory fragments scattered throughout the forest or resting at campsites can Adol get glimpses into his past, often times given a bit of intentional foreshadowing of who or what Adol will be facing next. Some are rendered in game though many of the more enjoyable moments are drawn cutscenes that provide a bit more insight as to why Adol’s been setting out on his adventures, often alone or at the company of Dogi “The Wall Crusher”. Sadly, Dogi himself isn’t around as it would’ve been too simple to just have him fill in Adol over what’s been happening in Celceta. Much of the game’s story is propelled by pressing forward from one memory to the next that there isn’t much feeling that you’re really moving the story forward so much as filling in the blanks.
Memories of Celceta expands upon the party based combat from Ys Seven and is easily the best part of the game. Rather than opting for any slower-paced turn by turn combat, the Ys series has been known for its active action combat. Free-running and slashing are at the core of combat while trying to block or dodge attacks are equally as essential. Going out there swinging your sword blindly will only lead to a swift Game Over. With two buttons dedicated to block and doge each, they’re going to get used often just as much as your attack button. Timing a block or dodge at the last possible moment will give you a powerful Flash Guard or Flash Move. The former will add a guaranteed critical damage to your attacks and regenerate additional SP whereas the latter will slow enemies down to get in a few extra hits before they can counter.
Boss fights in Celceta are easily the most challenging parts to the game and can make or break the experience for the player. A good offense will mean nothing without an even better defense. Combat can easily turn into a battle of attrition, trying to take a couple of pokes before eating a meaty hit and having to hastily quaff down a honey potion before the next hit knocks your party out. The screen-filling bosses all have a rhythm and their own sort of habits without feeling repetitive. After all, there’s not enough time to get bored when you’re trying to evade giant squids that can smack you around from across the screen.Ys: Memories of Celceta Review,