Ys I & II Chronicles+ Review

By Shawn Collier on March 24, 2013

Back in 2011, XSEED Games releases Ys I & II Chronicles on the Sony PSP. Originally released in the 1980s, both games had somewhat archaic gameplay design elements and were far from the recent entries in the series. Still, they managed to have solid gameplay and kickin' music.

To continue on with this theme, the publisher has recently released two Ys games on Valve's Steam platform. And with the release of Ys I & II Chronicles+ they've now added a third. So the question begs itself: is Chronicles+ worth the price of admission for those who already played the PSP version of Chronicles?

Two years ago, we published a review of the Sony PSP version, so this review will focus on what's new and changed in the new PC version of the game. For more information about gameplay, etc. please refer to the previous review.

Being a PC game, Ys I & II Chronicles+ is big on giving the players different graphical options. In the PSP version the display was forced widescreen, which made the horizontal viewing angle wider. This was great, but it cut off the display on the top and bottom due to the 16:9 nature of the PSP. Chronicles+ feature not only features that widescreen display, but also normal screen width version. This is great for players who want a little bit extra information.

To further this, there are clear pros and cons to both. The normal version is restricted to a specific portion of the screen and has a border around the game. However, it manages to feature much more content than the widescreen option. Fans of the PSP games will probably prefer the former, but having both options is a welcome addition. On the plus side for both, there are upgraded graphics compared to the PSP version, as well with clearer sprites and better particle effects.

Just like Ys Oath and Origins, the prior releases on Steam, Chronicles+ has fully customizable controls featuring both a traditional keyboard and a gamepad option. Both of these can be re-binded as the player wishes. Due to the unique "bumping" attack mechanic in both games, the keyboard option is a slightly better choice due to its more precise controls, but either option is more than functional from a playable perspective.

In addition, as with most Steam games, Chronicles+ features some unique achievements for both Ys I and its follow-up Ys II. Some of them are pretty easy to get during normal play, but others are downright sadistic or require doing things in a very specific order (veteran players who remember the "measurement" side events will know what I'm talking about here). Each achievement, like in Oath and Origin, has their own unique little piece of artwork to boot.

Final Thoughts

If you already played a previous version of Chronicles, Chronicles+ is still a very valid purchase. If you are a hardcore fan of the series or want to play it again with better graphics, this is the definitive version of the game. Likewise, if you weren't lucky enough to pick the game up on the PlayStation Portable, it's definitely worth a look.

Easily the definitive version of the game to date.
Controls are completely customizable.
Purists and newcomers alike can pick the display option they want.
Nothing that new for those who already played the PSP version.
Like all the prior versions, Ys I still requires tons of backtracking.
Those who only played Oath and Origin might feel a little disoriented due to the gameplay differences.
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