Review by leeko_link
"Re-live the Legacy of Ys Again This Time on the Go"
It's finally here after several weeks of delay but Atlus finally released Legacy of Ys: Books I & II for the Nintendo DS in one spectacular portable package. As you may had already know, Legacy of Ys is a two RPGs-in-one cartridge similar to Square Enix's Game Boy Advance RPG compilation title Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls. This isn't the first time that both Ys Books I & II had being compile together, the first was the original Turbo CD version of Ys Books I & II which are already available for download through Wii's Virtual Console. Unlike the Turbo CD/Virtual Console version; however, Legacy of Ys for DS is a 3D remake based on the PC versions of Ys Eternal Books I & II (remakes of the original Turbo CD versions). Though being a remake of another remake, this is actually the first portable release of Ys Books I & II and I had to say Interchannel-Holon has done a great job with the development.
Legacy of Ys revisited the first two chapters of Ys. Book I (Ancient Ys Vanished: Omen) retold the adventure of Adol who is found stranded in Barbado. After traveling to Minea, he was then chosen by a fortune-teller name Sara to look for the six Books of Ys throughout the island of Esteria and defeat the evil Dark Fact who is plotting to darken their world. Book II (Ancient Ys Vanished: The Final Chapter) continue Adol's ambition through Ys and save the land from a new threat.
As a remake, the visual spectacle for this game felt a bit mixed. While the opening anime FMV looks fantastically beautiful, the 3D textures and polygonal environments through both games are poorly design and looks too bland or uninteresting. When comparing it to the Turbo CD original on the Virtual Console, they look more cutting edge and realistic but when put side to side with the PC version of Ys I & II Eternal or with any of the more 3D polished RPGs on the Nintendo DS like Final Fantasy III, the visuals just lose a bit of originality. Another letdown about the visuals was that since it features too many similar floors of environments (such as those found in the Dahm Tower in Book I & the Temple maze in Book II) throughout both games in its dungeons and palaces most player would probably find it difficult to navigate through in and through out even with the help of the map on the bottom screen. Backgrounds visuals aside, the new 2D animated detail sprites for Adol and other NPC characters, anime arts for NPC characters, and new spell effects all look spectacularly polished and beautiful than ever so if you hadn't play any of the previous remakes or the original, you won't care much about the visual change that much.
SUPERB! Never do I want to say this but the musical scores feature here are rock solid awesomeness. From the intro to the overworld to towns, dungeons, locales, and even the spectacular endings, the music just gets better and better. I just love hearing the flute from Reah's Harmonica either from the opening or in-game, it just sound so wonderful and ear-soothing and Ys Book II's opening theme music "To Make an End of Battle" is outright epic, it's definitely right there with Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy VI, and Golden Sun: The Lost Age (all RPGs that had great musical opening). Aside from the musical magics, the sounds are decent enough to get used to, though there might be a few bling sounds when Adol swing his sword, a few spell chime or the roar of some big bosses in the games, it's nothing that will annoy you, heck even the lack of voice dialogues are no push over since there are probably like a dozen remakes that had those already, putting them here would only eat up more cartridge space anyways.
For the first time in the history of Ys remakes, the Legacy of Ys features two unique control functions for any new or hardcore Ys player. When you start each game, you would had the option to play either with the Normal d-pad and action button option or with the Stylus (for both left and right-handed player) option. The Stylus option allowed you to control Adol on the bottom screen using the stylus by clicking and dragging. With the stylus Adol could move on the direction of the stylus as well as swing his weapon if encounter with enemies, it's much akin back to the original of ramming through enemies to kill them but unlike those days, now Adol could run in all directions even diagonal which makes fighting enemies a breeze. Of course, player are not required to use the stylus if they don't want to, that's what the d-pad control option is there for. With the d-pad control option, you could move Adol with the d-pad on the top screen and attack enemies manually Legend of Zelda style, the R button is use for sprinting and X, Y & A buttons are for action commands like using items, unleashing magic and spells, and swinging Adol's weapon. It's all simple, works great, and fun to get used to.
Unlike many tactics and turn-based RPGs of this era, Legacy of Ys is action based oriented. If you are a fan of such action adventure RPGs like the Legend of Zelda, Secret of Mana, Soul Blazer/Illusion of Gaia/Terranigma or Crystalis, you'll know to love the gameplay in Legacy of Ys. As with an action RPG, you travel from town to town in an overhead bird's eyes view style adventure. You also explore from one location to another as well as solving puzzles, killing enemies, and fighting bosses all in real time. There's no turn based of any kind though I do want to say like many action RPGs of this kind, there are a lot of backtracking and less transportation so if you are the many of those airship loving boat sailing RPG player, you'll likely get bother by that here. Even without the sheer number of transportation, your main character would eventually later learn new magic spells that could transport you to any previous place you had visited which are still better than walking by foot. Also like other action RPGs, you get two inventory screens, one for your weapons and equipments and the other for item usage, you could view both at the pause menu. Besides accessing weapon and customizing items, you could also save and load your game at anytime at the pause menu without resetting the game. Anyways if you love the action based style of this game and don't care much about transportation or the backtracking event, you'll come to enjoy it even more.
This is where the Legacy of Ys shine over other previous remakes before it. Other than the main two games, this compilation also offer a local two-player match action battle mode for players to test their action playing skills against each other to earn new items and weapons. There's also some unlockable goodies players could earn after completing both games as well as a Nightmare difficulty setting where you could play the game without ever recovering from injuries on the overworld which makes the game that much more challenging and fun for expert player. All in all, the replay value is decent but the main games alone are worth it.
Is This Game a Guaranteed Purchase?
That is entirely up to you, if you already own countless number of remakes of these games or if you already owned it for your original Turbo CD console or the Wii's Virtual Console then you might take a pass with this compilation but if you are a collector's, never play an action RPG before, just love the Ys series, or want a portable Ys game on the go, then this compilation may be worth your money. Although it's essentially a remake compilation of countless remakes of the original, it's still a definitive package and like I said before since Atlus had delay the package a bit, they did make up for it by including a sweet music CD soundtrack along with every brand new copy of the game so get yours today.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/23/09, Updated 08/03/12
Game Release: Legacy of Ys: Books I & II (US, 02/24/09)
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