I'm a huge fan of the Ys series of action RPGs and Memories of Celceta is my favourite one so let's venture forth with Adol yet again.
I've been a massive fan of Ys ever since I played the original on PC way back in the early '90s. Since then, I've enjoyed every sequel and adaptation that I could get my hands on and when Ys: Memories of Celceta debuted for PlayStation Vita back in 2013, I picked up the awesome limited edition on release day which featured a fantastic 3CD soundtrack and other goodies. However, it's the game itself that ended up impressing me the most. I loved the previous Ys games for their sense of exploration and discovery so imagine my delight when I played through Memories of Celceta for the first time as the whole adventure basically involves uncovering a massive map as you take on a variety of enemies, bosses, and dungeons. It's the perfect game for a Ys fan and I still love playing it after all of these years.
Ys: Memories of Celceta is a rather simple game that's easy to pick up and play so if you're tired of learning the ins and outs of complex RPGs and just want to dive into a basic yet highly enjoyable and action-packed adventure then you'll love playing this. The combat merely involves hacking and slashing at enemies while evading and guarding against incoming attacks and unleashing skills for an extra powerful blow every once in a while. You can also swap characters with the tap of a button and initiate a powerful extra skill whenever its meter is full. Plus, if you really want to show off your skills, you can evade and guard with perfect timing to perform a flash move or flash guard which offer bonuses such as filling your gauges and becoming temporarily invincible while slowing time down. Another nifty aspect is that you can command your party to either attack or defend by flicking the right stick up or down for a strategic advantage.
Although I love Ys: Memories of Celceta's combat, its exploration is where the gameplay really starts to shine. It kind of reminds me of a Dark Souls game (although it's much more colourful and lighthearted) in that you can knock things over to unlock shortcuts, encounter super-tough enemies out of the blue, and activate new save and warp points. As you progress, you can watch your map gradually fill out with points of interest like harvest spots becoming marked which is supremely rewarding. While you travel the world, you'll also encounter a huge cast of delightful characters; some of which will join your party. It all comes together to form one amazing journey.
The last substantial element of Ys: Memories of Celceta that I love is its approach to progressing your characters. As with any RPG, you level up and equip better gear but there is much more to it. First, you'll slowly learn and level up skills that you can assign to each of the face buttons. Experimenting with those to find your favourites is great fun. You'll also gather memories that are scattered across Celceta (which is the name of the game) in order to watch little scenes and acquire stat boosts. Meanwhile, you can try and complete side-quests for NPCs in order to earn extra cash and items. On top of all this, the coolest system is gathering materials which you can then exchange and refine to do things such as reinforce weapons and armour. Doing so can apply status ailments to attacks and even HP regeneration to armour. I mean; how cool is that?! Needless to say, becoming more powerful is a very satisfying process.
Of course, Ys: Memories of Celceta originally released back in 2013 so what's different in this PlayStation 4 release? Unfortunately, not much which is the most disappointing aspect for me. Keep in mind; I played it on Vita a lot and absolutely loved it so the fact that it's basically the same game makes me realise that I could simply hook up my PlayStation TV and have nearly the exact same experience; DualShock 4 and all. I mean, the visuals look a bit better but it's certainly not a huge difference. The only other negative thing I can say is that its story isn't all that engaging or deep even though I love the cast of characters a lot. So, if you enjoy hanging out with fun and diverse characters and don't care much for complex narratives, you'll appreciate its simplistic approach to storytelling.
Ys: Memories of Celceta remains the best that the incredible ARPG series has to offer. Although it hasn't changed much over the years, it's cool that those who missed it on PlayStation Vita can now enjoy it on PS4.
- + Huge and rewarding world to explore with a wonderful cast of characters
- + Simple yet exciting combat
- + Nifty progression systems
- - Basically a straight port of the Vita version
- - Story isn't all that interesting