September 22, 2010

Ys Seven Wants My Blood, I Gladly Give It

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , — Jamie Love @ 8:31 pm

Ys Seven
My first few minutes with Ys Seven made me fear I’d fallen for an Albany ham scam, with the initial impression offering up some very typical RPG traits that encouraged turning off my PSP. There’s a tense peace after a long war, a King surrounded by vain and villainous characters (who hires these people?) and even a poor flower girl trying to get by just as we happen to stroll onto the scene – we being the ever eager Dogi and the ever silent Adol.

Sticking with it for a few more minutes led to a combat tutorial that seemed promising, teasing a free movement action RPG, and allowing the player to switch between actively controlled characters – a necessity because of attack types, which make certain characters more effective against certain enemies.

Holding down the attack button charges a gauge that allows for more powerful skill attacks to be used, and then it’s time to set off to investigate a newly discovered shrine as a favor for the King.

Between the kingdom steps and that shrine are plenty of the first come enemies, and suddenly this game is letting me charge around the screen, striking and killing, beating on carcasses after the fact to earn more items. It’s loose but focused, and most importantly, quick to get on with the business of being a game as I slash and level up at the same time I’m moving toward the destination in mind.

Then the game drops a large two-headed turtle on my head and instant death follows.

Ys Seven
Maybe some of you survived it, in which case I salute you but doubt that you’re human.

An added interesting fact is that during the eight additional attempts it took for me to slay this monster, my hand slowly deformed into a claw like talon that has yet to return to normal. It would probably heal if I stopped playing Ys, and therein is what I find interesting – somehow the challenge is calling me back, fighting against my habitual laziness and the fact that there’s plenty of other games I could switch to in order to rebuild my self-esteem.

I should clarify that while Ys Seven can get ferocious at times, it isn’t that same infuriating type of Shiren difficulty that people torture themselves with. What Ys is really asking is that we use the PSP more actively than any previous UMD I can name at the moment.

But it’s tolerable, and damn near enjoyable, because it isn’t a grinding issue. Certainly one could go grind all day and night outside that first cave, but the confrontation still comes down to agility, of recognizing patterns and evading attacks and waiting patiently to pick the moment.

It’s definitely worth noting that the AI helps out by not running the computer controlled character at anytime into the path of danger like so many other titles – the last Star Ocean title comes to mind…

When I finally defeated that introductory monster, the game carried on and setup a new mission, again offering up screens of hack and slash joys that deceptively lead to another grueling boss encounter – Ys Seven is kind of sick and twisted that way, this is just how it gets its kicks.

I’m not complaining, I’m just saying it may be some time before I reach the end.

1 Comment »

  1. Another game for PSP I want, another day without the time or money to do so.

    Comment by EdEN — September 23, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

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