Ys: Memories of Celceta Review

By Shawn Collier on November 30, 2018

Much like the PSP-to-PC port of /Ys Seven/ released prior by publisher /XSEED Games/, Ys: Memories of Celceta is a port of the original /PlayStation Vita/ version to the PC platform. Being originally constrained to a handheld, how does this port fair on the PC?

Following in the footsteps of /Ys Seven/, Memories of Celceta was intended as diverging point from the old top-down and sprite-influenced graphics to a more larger 3D world utilizing an isometric perspective. Adding to this is the fact that since this is a reimagining of /Ys IV/ and its many incarnations which differed from each other in its ports, so it’s not unsurprising that developer /Nihon Falcom/ would rest on the “amnesiac hero” trope.

The game starts off with the series’s protagonist /Adol/ ending up in the town of Casnan, but without any recollection of how he got there to begin with. After a series of events, he ends up being hired to chart the great forest of Celceta. This seemingly simple request ends up being much more involved, as everyone seems to remember him but he can’t remember any of them — topping things off with Adol being blamed for the recent negative events that have befallen the citizens. Thus, Adol ends up working to gradually gain the people’s trust as he charts the forest of Celceta.

While there’s nothing wrong with the amnesiac main character trope, Memories of Celceta plays this way too close to the vest, and as a result ends up cheapening the overall narrative. While the series has never been known as a top-tier action-RPG in terms of narrative, it still had multifaceted characters that didn’t feel one-dimensional. Scenes which in prior games felt emotionally charged were instead left feeling half-hearted in Memories of Celceta. Additionally, while the series has featured mystical elements and such prior, this entry veers too much towards what you’d expect from some of the more well-known JRPGs out there. The narrative still has that quintessential /Ys/ charm, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t have that /spark/ I’ve come to expect from the series.

Graphically, being a port of an originally handheld-only game there’s only so much you can do to spruce things up. It runs quite well on lower-end hardware as you’d expect from a /PlayStation Vita/ port, but if you have the hardware for it you can push things up graphically with a number of different configuration options. It looks better than the PC port of Ys Seven due to being originally from much more powerful hardware, but it’s still a handheld-developed game as its core — which may make some PC players turn the other way to more graphically better titles.

Even with its narrative and graphical faults, the core gameplay is still of the top-tier status fans have come to expect from a /Nihon Falcom/ release. Those who played /Ys Seven/ will feel right at home, as this entry retains the three-person party member system that allows you to switch between party members as the battles require so. The slash, strike and pierce mechanic returns, as some enemies differ in their weakness and resistance to certain attacks.

Skills return again also, both in battle and while traversing the maps as some characters are needed to progress past roadblocks only they can handle. One major change from /Ys Seven/ is the fact that your non-active party members /do/ gain experience alongside your active party members, an issue that caused a number of players (including myself) to stick to a specific party setup for most of the game.

Final Thoughts

Ys: Memories of Celceta, even with its faults, is still a good /Ys/ entry and one fans will enjoy their time playing. But even with the graphical increases of the PC platform, its handheld roots still tie down the game from being one of the top-tier /Ys/ entries. If you can look past those issues, there’s a great action RPG waiting for you.

Ys: Memories of Celceta was reviewed using a PC Digital Copy provided by XSEED Games. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
The three-person battle mechanic from /Ys Seven/ returns again and works well.
While not a knockout in terms of looks, the PC port does do a lot to make the muddy original /PlayStation Vita/ version shine better on its new platform.
Reserve party members now gain experience alongside those who are active, making switching between them worthwhile compared to /Ys Seven/.
It has the charm of prior /Ys/ entries in terms of writing, but the spark just isn’t there due to the story’s implementation.
Most of the bosses have a “dodge, then attack” routine that pales in comparison to prior /Ys/ bosses.
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