Ys Origin - Xbox One Review

A RPG classic for better and worse

Game Info: (Box Display)

  • System: Xbox One, PC, PS4, PS Vita
  • Publisher: XSEED Games
  • Developer: Nihon Falcom, DotEmu
  • Release Date: Apr 11, 2018

Who it Caters to

Rejoice, Ys Origin fans who wished the classic would be ported to Xbox One. Ys Origin has indeed finally been released for the Microsoft behemoth and retains all that Ys Origin had from the past version. Those seeking a trip once more up the giant Devil’s Tower will have fun doing so in Ys Origin. If you missed out on Ys Origin on the PC in 2012 or the more recent 2017 release for the Sony consoles, then you can finally smile happily. It’s time to enter the world of Ys from its roots in Ys Origin for the Xbox One!

What to Expect

Ys Origin plays out very similar to the older Ys titles from this long running Nihon Falcom developed series. Players will take control of 2 heroes—a third is unlocked upon completion of both their stories—and ascend a dangerous tower filled with demons and other warriors wishing to stop their quest. Control Hugo Fact or Yunica Tovah and use their various fighting styles to quell the beasts in Devil’s Towers. Will you be a master of the magical arts or be an axe wielding warrior who destroys her foes with strength? The choice is yours as you enter this classic action RPG experience known as Ys Origin.

Story

Taking place nearly 700 years prior to Ys series, Ys Origin tells of a story forgotten by most. Demons fell upon the land of Ys and forced the powerful twin goddesses to retreat into the heavens. Up in the clouds, the goddesses thought they had escaped the demon assault but were amazed to see the resilience of the evil beings. Creating a massive tower known as Devil’s Tower, the goddesses both disappeared leaving the only place of their retreat being the tower itself. Several high priests sent out a party of skilled warriors to go forth and search for the goddesses before they could be killed by the demon scourge. Now, it will be up to these brave men and women who have joined the team of their own violation, to save the goddesses and bring peace back to the land of Ys. Time is ticking away and the demons’ strength continues to grow…

Gameplay

Back in 2006, Japan released Ys Origin, which acted as a prequel of sorts for the popular Ys franchise that starred main red headed warrior Adol Christin. It would take nearly 6 more years for the west to finally receive Ys Origin on the PC and then in 2017, the PS4/PS Vita. Now in 2018, Microsoft’s Xbox One gains the beloved classic and that’s the version we here at Honey’s Anime just so happen to be looking at today. Does Ys Origin still live up to its origins set back in 2006 and its newer version seen in 2017? Let us find out in our review of Ys Origin for the Xbox One!

Ys Origin is very different than the more modern version of the series many have played. Rather than taking control of Adol Christin—the Ys series main protagonist in nearly every title—players assume the role of either Hugo Fact or Yunica Tovah. There is a third player known as The Claw who is obtained after beating Ys Origin with each hero, so we’ll focus on just talking about the two main heroes from the start. Both characters—Hugo and Yunica—play quite differently in their quest up the Devil’s Tower but to understand that difference, let us first examine what you’ll be doing in Ys Origin. That means looking first at the base game overall.

The main gameplay focus of Ys Origin is to take your hero of choice and ascend the Devil’s Tower in search of the two goddesses—Reah and Feena—and to save them from danger. Players will do this by killing tons of baddies, solving puzzles, and finding items/artifacts to make their quest easier. As you reach the end of one floor, you’ll come across a boss in some form and must defeat them to ascend to the next level. Scattered throughout the tower are save points that can be teleported to via a Crystal item in your inventory. You’ll need to often switch areas and revisit locations once you find an item or tool that will help you progress through Ys Origin’s various trials. In many ways, Ys Origin could almost be compared to The Legend of Zelda in the sense that finding items will help you progress towards each challenge you may face.

Now, depending on who you choose to play as in Ys Origin, is where the game truly changes in style. Hugo Fact—for example—is a mage who shoots out energy projectiles and uses magic via his weapon orbs known as the Eyes of Fact. Meanwhile, Yunica Tovah, despite her dainty appearance, is an axe wielder who slams her enemies down with melee focused combat. Playing as either character means learning to adjust to their strengths and weaknesses. Essentially, if you decide to play as Hugo, you’ll have to be a ranged warrior while Yunica is all about hitting up close and personal. Both of their stories also differ in some ways here and there, which gives reason to replay Ys Origin multiple times just to see why they are in this evil tower in the first place.

The biggest problems with Ys Origin show up as you begin to put time into ascending this massive structure. Ys Origin doesn’t play like the newer games and that means a lot of the concepts and themes are geared for those who may have played Ys I or Ys II. There’s not a lot of equipment to gain, players will rarely ever see huge changes in the environment—this is a tower after all—and enemies usually can be killed off just spamming one button and nothing else. Ys Origin mitigates this with occasionally fun boss battles and mini bosses but expect a feeling of repetition to set in after the first several hours of play time. Though none of these issues are Ys Origin’s biggest problems; the biggest actual issue with Ys Origin comes in its dated designs.

In case you forgot, Ys Origin was originally released in 2006 and while it was ported several times to America, it wasn’t ever really updated or upgraded Graphics have been slightly upscaled for sharper sprite visuals and effects—plus gore options were added to give Ys Origin a more mature feeling—but the environments and cutscenes are just downright bad. We laughed when we saw the opening cutscene show the time date of 2006 meaning Ys Origin wasn’t really remade for modern systems just more so ported and upscaled. Even the music and sound effects—which are a staple of the Ys series and are still amazing to hear in Ys Origin—suffer with technical cut out moments and odd moments where sound stopped completely. We thought it was our consoles or TVs, but when tested, the same results would occasionally happen meaning it’s an issue with Ys Origin and not from our consoles here at Honey’s Anime.

However, let us end our gameplay section in a good way. Ys Origin plays well even in 2018. Bosses are fun as we said above and there’s a joy to constantly finding a new way to overcome a trial here and there. Equally, each hero plays so differently that replaying Ys Origin isn’t hard to do. You’ll have to replay Ys Origin 2 times technically, if you want The Crow but he’s more akin to Yunica just faster with his claw-based attacks. There are also other modes to try out in the form of Time Attack and Boss Rush which is always a fun add-on in a Ys game. Ys Origin might lack polish in some areas but this is classic Ys gameplay and Ys Origin does it incredibly well.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Ys Origin isn’t going to be a game for everyone. While we personally loved the old school RPG mechanics that the Ys series made a staple of the franchise, it might be overly dated for some. There are elements we loved like the action RPG style and the fun boss fights, however, the graphics can be very old at times; Even with the slight upscaling here and there, cutscenes—the few of them there are—and even some of the in-game backdrops look straight out of 2006. Ys Origin also plays unlike the modern variations which many current gen gamers might be used to, so it won’t appeal to anyone but those who love classics and or die-hard Ys fans. If you’ve always wanted the older Ys titles on the Xbox One, then Ys Origin is a good place to start but if you need more modern RPGs then you might want to pass on Ys Origin overall. Honestly though, Ys Origin is a classic we loved when it released in America back in 2012 and even in 2018, we still don’t mind re entering the Devil’s Tower.

Honey's Pros:

  • Old school RPG mechanics for classic Ys gameplay
  • Solid sprite art and animation
  • Gore filter adds an almost more mature rating to combat
  • Impressive boss fights
  • Three playable heroes with unique styles to use

Honey's Cons:

  • Graphics in terms of cutscenes and some areas are pretty poor
  • Doesn’t play like the more modern Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana which might be a problem for some
  • Repetitive environments and puzzles to solve
  • A lot of dialogue which tends to be very ho hum

Honey's Final Verdict:

Ys Origin is one of those titles in the franchise that we loved back in 2012 and equally still love in 2018 but do see the issues people might have playing it. Realistically, Ys Origin is made for fans of the franchise who originally didn’t get to play it when it was released in 2006 or maybe didn’t have a PS Vita, PC or PS4 to play it on when it was re-released in 2012. If you can look past the age, Ys Origin is a solid action RPG with a lot of polish in terms of old school gameplay that will give those retro gamers a good ole time while playing. Are you excited to play Ys Origin on the Xbox One or do you think you’re going to pass on it? Tell us what you’re thinking in the comments down below. Remember to keep stuck to our hive for all your game reviews and article needs here at Honey’s Anime.

Aaron

Writer

Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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