Review: Ys: Memories of Celceta (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Ys: Memories of Celceta
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (5.46 GB)
Release Date: June 9, 2020
Publisher: Nihon Falcom
Developer: Xseed Games
Original MSRP: $39.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 Digital (USD)
ESRB Rating: T
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Ys: Memories of Celceta is a port of the 2013 Vita game which is itself a quasi-remake of an earlier Ys game. Though the series was made and developed by Nihon Falcom, Ys IV saw the Falcom shop development out to two other developers, who each made their own different version of Ys IV with similar story. Memories of Celceta is Falcom’s official take on the original 1993 titles.

This entry sees series protagonist Adol Christian starting his adventure in the frontier town of Casnan with no memories. A friendly face informs him that he had adventured into the uncharted forest of Celceta, an area from where no one had previously ever returned. Seeing as he had returned, though sans memories, the local government tasks Adol with mapping the forest and he agrees, if just, in part, to determine what happened to his memories.

Of course, this being an Ys game, Adol soon finds himself deeply involved in ancient civilizations and godly figures. It’s a pretty simple story all told, but interesting nonetheless. I don’t typically play the Ys games for the story of course; it’s the gameplay that is the series’ highlight.

The Ys series often has solid action combat, and Celceta is no different. The basics of the kind of combat I like are all there: characters move fluidly, the dodge and block are snappy, plenty of special attacks, and the ability to swap characters on the fly. It’s not too far removed from either its predecessor, Ys Seven or its successor Ys VIII, but the formula works.

Where the combat really shines is the game’s numerous boss fights. I always find it satisfying to duck and weave through Ys‘ bosses, finding ways to open them up and lay on the damage. The bosses are varied, from hit-the-weakpoint style ones to just big bunches of health and the variety keeps them interesting.

There’s certainly plenty to do in the game as well, even despite a pretty breezy twenty to twenty-five hour game. There are numerous optional side quests to pick up in town, and plenty of hidden, winding paths to head down to complete your map of Celceta. Some hidden weapons and a simple crafting system help give the player some choice in how they outfit their crew. And after beating the game, there’s a boss rush mode to distill down the experience for those who want to hone their skills.

Overall, my largest complaint is really that the last couple of hours become a little bit of a slog. There are several side jaunts near the end to find some key or special item while the story just kind of sits in place for that duration. It almost felt like the developers noticed they were at the end of the story they had written and realized they needed a few more hours and another couple dungeons to fit.

Also, for those who might be curious: as far as I could tell, this is just a straight port. There is no additional content for the PS4 version over the Vita version.

Visuals:
If anyone jumped into this game not knowing it was a Vita port, the graphics should be a dead giveaway from the very opening. With slightly blocky character models and an overall relatively low level of detail, it’s pretty clear that this is mainly just a port. It’s less apparent during the game’s normal overhead view, but some cinematics show off the age of the game.

Fidelity aside, the overall aesthetic is good though. Despite them all being in a forest, there’s still some good variation between areas, and plenty of good enemy and boss designs. There’s even a small subtlety in the monsters that allows them to spawn in slightly different sizes, so even among a group, they don’t all look exactly the same.

Audio:
I usually enjoy Falcom’s sound design and Celceta is good as well. The music is thematic and well suited for the areas, in addition to just being nice to listen to. There were one or two sound effects that felt a little “harsh” to me, but for the most part, that aspect of the sound design was fine too. The game even has both English and Japanese voices, though there are very few actually voiced story scenes, so the differences are mainly in how the characters sound during gameplay.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single-player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Ys: Memories of Celceta was a game I enjoyed on the Vita, and I like this port as well. It is a little disappointing that this is just a port of a seven year old game and there aren’t even any significant visual enhancements. But my disappointment in that melted away as I got back into the story, and especially the gameplay, and pretty quickly I was back to just enjoying the Ys formula.

This entry is, I would say, overall not quite as good as Ys VIII but I would still recommend it if anyone said they were interested. It’s probably better for those who didn’t already play on Vita (or PC), as there’s nothing new to entice those players. However, it’s something to play while I wait with bated breath for Ys IX to finally make its way stateside.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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