Pronounced like ‘ease,’ the Ys series has provided gamers with fast action adventures and quests since 1987, even though it’s not as well received or recognized like Zelda titles are. In Ys Seven, join fiery red-haired Adol and his pal Dogi as they venture to a new land: Altego. Upon arriving, the two adventurers discover the area is being plagued by calamites and giant monsters. It’s up to Adol to harness the power of five legendary dragons to save this magical country.
Like most other action-RPGs of this ilk, you’ll gather clues and items in towns, then venture forth to vast plains, sandy deserts, treacherous mountains, and maze-like temple dungeons. Battles are fought in real time as you hack and slash monsters and scurry about to collect their spoils. Beating monsters nets you experience points for leveling up and gold and items to buy better equipment. Boss fights with giant monsters require more skill and a little strategy as you must dodge attacks and wait for an opening to strike.
New to the Ys series is the ability to play as more than one character. You can switch out between Adol, Dogi, and one of a handful of other comrades they’ll meet during their adventure. The computer controls the other characters and the AI is surprisingly helpful. You can swap characters on the fly, and you’ll want to do so because different enemies are weak against different types of attacks. Adol’s sword slashes are great for beast and plant type monsters, but hard shelled enemies are better dealt with punches from Dogi. And flying enemies are susceptible to projectile weapons, such as arrows, wielded by other characters. Successful strikes fill up a meter that lets you use special attack skills that level up with repeated use.
Another new addition to this game is synthesizing new weapons, armor, and items by combining collectables on your quest. Not only do you collect gold from monsters, sometimes they’ll also drop items as well. Plus, you can gather other materials from various rocks, plants, and trees along the paths. In the shops, you can combine these items to make better ones, or offer them up as a trade in the various sidequests.
The only problems with Ys Sever are very minor, nitpicky ones. The game starts out slow at first, with more text to read and people to talk to. But it does pick up later on. It also would’ve been nice if Ys Seven were on a bigger console. Then it would be easier to see things on screen and there would be the possibility of multiplayer co-op, which would have been really fun given all the characters you play as. And sometimes it feels like characters and gameplay elements aren’t utilized as much as they could have been.
But other than that, Ys Seven is a fantastic PSP game. Play control is smooth and easy, with helpful tutorials to ease you into the gameplay. Graphics are colorful and detailed, plus the driving, energetic soundtrack will really get you into the game. Being able to save nearly anywhere you like is also a great feature, especially for a handheld title. You can download this game on PSN or buy it on UMD. XSEED even released a limited edition version which features a cloth map, art book, and soundtrack! So if you have a PSP and love action RPGs, you’ll DEFINITELY want to pick up Ys Seven.
Ys Seven is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Blood, Fantasy Violence, and Mild Language. Characters slash with swords and other weapons against enemies. And when defeated, monsters burst into pieces and sometimes you can see a little bit of a red slash, so that’s where the blood and violence comes in. Mild language is used very sparingly in the text. Even though it’s rated T, I’d be OK with younger gamers playing it. Reading skill is helpful as everything is text-based, but the localization team at XSEED made everything easy to read and follow. Selectable difficulties mean that players of all skills can enjoy Ys Seven, but younger gamers may still get a little frustrated at some of the tougher bosses.