In a story as old as roleplaying games, Ys: Memories of Celceta, places you into the role of Adol Christin, a fiery young man with a shock of red hair who is suffering from amnesia. Though the cliché concept of Memories of Celceta is nearly as tired as they come, the latest port over from the original North American 2013 PlayStation Vita title of the same name is enjoyable if a bit stale at times. Retracing Adol’s steps as he works to map out a dangerous forest, and thus his memories, party with up to two other playable characters at a time, each with their own unique attack types which lead to additional layers of strategy beyond the atypical hack-and-slash clones of The Legend of Zelda. Even for its technical warts and tired storyline, Ys: Memories of Celceta is a fun if not necessarily gripping adventure that after nearly 5 years has finally made its way onto PC.
I am quite conflicted when it comes to Ys: Memories of Celceta as I have been looking for a new franchise to dabble in, regardless of genre; I just wanted something new to me and when the opportunity arose to review the port of Memories of Celceta I decided to give it a go. Here was a long-standing and apparently beloved franchise in a genre of games (RPG / ARPG) that I have long held near-and-dear to my heart, so I was excited, yet a lot of what helped put the genre on the map; the action, corny script, overdramatic characters, easily-recognizable tropes, and the like, have now come to really only grate on my nerves as I have gotten older. It is, truly, quite remarkable at how a game that is only 5 years old can feel so old and tired when ported to a new platform.
Do not get me wrong, Ys: Memories of Celceta is not a bad game; just tired and lacking any real originality. I guess that is one of the downsides to ports; whatever it is that it is doing, one thing is for certain … it has *literally* been done before.
Though the story may be bland and about as trope-like as it can come, the action is still enjoyable. With a party that contains three playable characters that you can switch between, your tactical options are a hair above the atypical hack-and-slash RPG, largely due to the fact that the characters all have varying “types” with regard to the damage they deal. There are conveniently three types of attack damage, Slash, Pierce, and Smash, conveniently, there are enemies that are weak to said attack damage types.
Where the added level of tactical action gameplay comes in lies not just with the damage type, but the ability to quickly switch between the characters in combat to apply the maximum damage to the enemy. Adding to the albeit shallow tactical combat is a robust crafting system. Though crafting in RPGs has been around for quite some time, Memories of Celceta’s crafting feels a little deeper than other titles of its time.
When comparing apples to apples based on original release times, Ys would definitely be more fleshed out than comparables. On the other hand when comparing the PC port of today to comparable crafting systems for action RPGs and it comes to light that it is in itself a shallow experience. Not to say it is of subpar quality, just lacking in depth when compared to other titles.
That said, Ys: Memories of Celceta *did* accomplish many of the things I was looking for within a new franchise; it is a series of games that I have not experienced before while scratching the action-RPG itch that I have had for some time. With clean, highly adjustable graphics, running along smoothly along at 60 FPS is a wonderful affair and after Nihon Falcom / XSEED pushed through a fix to address combat slowing down a bit at higher framerates, an extremely fast and engaging experience.
When combining the delicious sound effects, voice acting, and snappy combat, Ys: Memories of Celceta is both a successful port and a fun little title; just try to reduce any expectation of it bringing something new and exciting to the table.