Ys: The Oath in Felghana |
A while back, I revisited a Japanese RPG series that is among one of the oldest in the market. The Ys franchise (pronounced Eees) has been remade or rereleased recently on the handheld market. Ys: The Oath in Felghana, a remake of Ys III: Wanderers from Ys, comes back full circle to once again be released on PC via Steam. While this isn't exactly like the PSP version that I saw almost 2 years ago, it's still a fun and challenging adventure.
The story chronicles the adventures of young red haired swordsman Adol Christin as he continues on his quest of never-ending adventure. His adventure takes Dogi, vividly blue-haired companion, and him to the land of Felghana on the rumors of evil amongst the kingdom. They arrive to find one of Dogiís old childhood friends under attack by monsters. After swift action the trio makes their way to Redmont, Dogiís birth home which is having its fair share of troubles such as a tough as nails Count McGuire thatís been using his powers as he sees fit. And thatís only the start of the fun youíll have on your adventure.
The PC Steam version takes things a bit back to basics while still using the new gameplay presentation seen in the original PC remake. The gameplay has changed from its 2D side scrolling roots to a new 3D world. The gameplay also changes the way you attack for the previous iterations. Using a similar interface as The Ark of Napishtim, Felghana features a straight forward combat and world interface. In the grand tradition of titles like Alundra, Felghana is a fast paced hack n slash adventure that requires a bit of skill on the players part.
As I mentioned before The Oath in Felghana received a 3D overhaul and that is both a blessing and a curse. For one the levels look great and it heavily reminds me of some of my favorite action RPGs but on the downside it makes for some rough depth perception which means you have to keep an eye on your shadow and those of your enemies. A wrong step off a high ledge could very well spell your death. It also helps to take out the airborne menaces as they are some of the worst pests in the land of Felghana.
The controls no matter the game makes or breaks the experience. Luckily there are a few ways that the player can choose to tackle this adventure. The default way uses the mouse to move around and the ZXC keys for combat. For those that are used to the traditional keyboard and mouse setup, like me, you can use the more customary WASD cluster to get around while using the mouse to attack and jump. If you can't stand either of those then you can pull out your favorite gamepad and get a more traditional console-style experience.
What I like the most about The Oath in Felghana is that the developers took out the menial item and equipment management. While I still like management bits itís nice to just tear through enemies. All bonuses that armor and weapons normally give you are instead given as drops off defeated enemies. The better you do in combat the better the drops are. These can range from Defense Add effects to Herbs (for health) and even gold. The only real management to do is selecting and upgrading your weapons, elemental bracelets and armor. You can change these at will and if the items are of the same series your appearance will change which is pretty cool.
Another design element I liked about The Oath in Felghana is that certain areas are inaccessible until you get the appropriate item to get there. It adds some extra exploration moments to find hidden objects which are classic RPG fare. There is also the ability to conveniently move around the world of Felghana thanks to the Wing Talisman (once found) via any monument shrine you have previously interacted with. This helps a lot if youíre not a real fan of walking everywhere.
The graphics of Ys: The Oath in Felghana this time around are pretty decent though seeing this game on a smaller screen first and then a bigger one isn't probably the best idea. To see the game at its best I'd recommend you change your screen to the High Def recommended resolution of 1024x768. The game was viewable at 1080, but it was a bit pixilated for my tastes. The one thing that I liked was the classic albeit stereotyped still hand drawn animations that you seen when you interact with any NPC or major character.
The music department does feature some great music to fight to and drive the story. The sound effects such as sword and magic attacks sound good. The only thing I miss is the vocal acting and narration as well as the additional soundtracks from the PSP version. As this is a basically the original PC version updated a bit to handle a new operating system I can't complain much.
Ys: The Oath in Felghana is an adventurous title that has some insanely difficult bosses well except of one really. The first boss took me more than a few deaths and a bit of timely skill to get enough attacks in to the evil blue angel of death and that was on normal. The hardest part about Felghana is the bosses though you must also be careful as once you start a new game you have to stick with the difficulty unless you start a different game. There are 6 different difficulties ranging from the very lax Very Easy mode to the hand numbing Inferno mode. There is also a Time Attack mode that you can give a whirl when you complete the game once. This new Steam version also includes achievements to earn and show off as well as Steam Cloud support.
All in all, Ys: The Oath in Felghana is highly enjoyable, entertaining and one of the toughest rides in recent history. Its music is engaging during combat and adds to the fast paced action. The fun only gets better with the multiple difficulties and classic old school charm with a nice helping of new touches that makes it fit comfortably in todayís market. Itís a definite buy for all you RPG fans out there.