Some of the hardest series to get into are the ones that span multiple generations. Not only is it harder to play more restrictive, simple, and different versions of experiences you love, there are situations where the game changes radically over time. For this reason, enhanced ports have been extremely useful. Niche games get a new chance at life, existing fans can remind themselves why they got lost in the world in the first place and newcomers can experience a better version of the original title. A lot of these things are true for Ys: Memories of Celceta, a port of one of the more well-received titles released on Vita. With additional power, an interesting story and so much more to experience, should you pick it up or just stick to the later titles?
Ys: Memories of Celceta takes place between the events of Ys II and Ys III: Wanders from Ys, but doesn’t require any knowledge from either title. Here you continue the journey of Adol Christin, who has unfortunately lost his memory. While he is unsure of his surroundings or who he is, various forces remind him of the man he was, along with Duren, an opportunist that has supposedly worked with Adol in the past. In addition to navigating their way around the city of Celceta, they’re tasked with creating a map of the area starting a rather interesting adventure with frightful enemies and fascinating relics from the past.
For the most part, story is presented in a rather linear way, though you’re given the occasional choice. This allows the adventure to feel a bit more personal or give different conversational paths, though not really that complicated in the grand scheme. This is honestly furthered in gameplay sections.
Despite originally being a Vita title, Ys: Memories of Celceta is a rather interesting action RPG. It manages to mix good mechanics and ideas, with floaty and sometimes unsatisfying combat. Most of your adventure will be centered on overcoming these elements, along with mastering every option you have.
Combat is rather conceptually simple. You have a weapon, be it sword or fists, a single attack button, along with dodge, block, and the ability to swap to your companion(s). There are also a wide variety of special attacks that can open up additional damage or new possibilities. At first, it might seem rather simple but there is a wide variety of elements to keep track of.
Dodging at the right time will give you a slight advantage, as will using enemy weaknesses against them. These start off rather obvious, fleshy enemies are weak to slash attacks, whereas shielded enemies can be further damaged by blunt attacks, giving the experience a lot of depth and feels thoughtful. Where it falls behind is the way everything is presented.
Attacks don’t feel like they have any real weight to them and the speed feels off. This weird sensation makes it feel less like you’re fighting terrifying creatures and more like there, you’re swinging a weightless weapon and gliding around the field. It isn’t enough to ruin the overall experience but is obvious enough to take note of it.
Beyond combat, Ys: Memories of Celceta hold true to what you’d expect from a traditional RPG from the past. There are optional quests, a town to explore with plenty of people to talk to a crafting system, and much more. These elements prevent the experience from feeling too bland and give arguably pointless things some kind of meaning. Assuming you want to help the town of Celceta.
Since this is an older title, there is an odd mix of dated and robust graphics. Any time a character is shown via drawing, they look quite good and rather modern, though the graphics reflect what you’d expect from a game on PlayStation 2. As long as you don’t expect much in way of expressions, movement, and things of the like, it really isn’t that bad, though it is noticeably a cut below later titles.
Ys: Memories of Celceta Review – Verdict
While there are things that hold Ys: Memories of Celceta back, the main concepts are good. It won’t take long to be interested in where the story is going and combat is a good mixture of mindless fun and tactical planning. It’s unfortunate it feels rather floaty and weapons are weightless, along with characters moving at an unnerving speed but if you can overlook these shortcomings and the dated graphics, you’ll likely have an action RPG you’ll want to explore and complete.
[Editor’s Note: Ys: Memories of Celceta were reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]