"As my mouth watered as I gazed at screenshots and salivated over the new Ys trailer on developer Falcom's website, I couldn't help but notice one thing; It looked remarkably similar to Ys III: Wanderers from Ys! Indeed, it did, and for good reason. Ys: The Oath in Felghana is not only a remake of the original Ys III, but a total overhaul, changing nearly everything but the music and storyline. However, as much as I'd like to say, "If you've played Ys III..."
As my mouth watered as I gazed at screenshots and salivated over the new Ys trailer on developer Falcom's website, I couldn't help but notice one thing; It looked remarkably similar to Ys III: Wanderers from Ys! Indeed, it did, and for good reason. Ys: The Oath in Felghana is not only a remake of the original Ys III, but a total overhaul, changing nearly everything but the music and storyline. However, as much as I'd like to say, "If you've played Ys III, you've played this," and end this review right here, that simply isn't the case: Oath in Felghana, while retaining the story of the original Ys III, completely reinvents everything else. It's not just for the Ys series, either. Any game that's considered an action-RPG could take a lesson from this new entry, or better yet, simply take a seat, as it's not going to get any better than this.
Oath in Felghana primarily retains the game engine featured in Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, but with a few majour changes. While numerous changes like adding three additional hits to your chain of attack and allowing a double jump nearly midway through the game are mentionable, the changes don't stop there. First and foremost is the Combo meter. Each time you attack, you build up a combo, to a total of 99. Each hit you build in your combo adds to an experience multiplier. With a 99 hit combo, Ys' main character Adol can gain levels nearly twice as fast! However, the fun doesn't stop there. Monsters also drop potions that give Adol temporary stat boots, including a strength boost, defense enhancement, and even an increased MP recovery rate. Another excellent addition is the "boost" meter. When your boost meter fills up, press the corresponding button and Adol goes into what can only be described as "super badass mode." And how badass it is... not only will he receive a speed boost on top of the already ramped up speed of the game itself, but he also seems to jump higher and hit slightly harder.
Speaking of harder, Oath in Felghana is quite a bit more difficult than the previous installment of the series. While slashing through the hordes of enemies (which are more numerous than in Ark of Napishtim), Adol will find that his only resource for healing items are small herbs dropped by the foes: he carries NO healing items on him at any time. This makes the game, especially the boss battles, much more tense and exciting, as you only have one life bar and your own pure skill to rely on.
Graphically, the game is impressive for how little the system requirements are. Textures, even on the lowest graphic settings, look absolutely gorgeous and are very well detailed. The 2d sprites on the 3d backgrounds look nice as well; they look as if they were drawn to look almost 3d, and the effect is spectacular. Also, as Adol's equipment changes, so too does his character sprite, adding an effect of realism that's lacking in the older games. And the enhanced graphics only help add to the excellent storyline. As Adol and longtime friend Dogi return to Dogi's hometown of Redmont, a pack of wolves attack a blonde-haired girl named Elena. Adol, being the manly hero he is, rushes in to save the girl, leaving Dogi to fend off a group of wolves on his own. After saving the girl, Adol learns of Chester, Elena's brother who's been acting strange lately, and of mysterious statues that can be found on each dungeon's primary boss. What erupts is a touching story of love and betrayal on a familial level, and an imperialistic king who tempts the young Chester with power.
Of course, no Ys review is complete without mentioning the absolutely stunning soundtrack. While nearly all the themes used are from Ys III, each and every one has been remastered using actual instrumentation, as opposed to the synths used in Ark of Napishtim. The end result leaves you, the player, with nothing more than sheer sonic bliss as you run through the game's dungeons and battle against the monstrosities you have yet to face. But I digress, as much as I dig for flaws and problems with Oath in Felghana, I simply cannot find any. Everything, from the amazing music to the wonderous graphics that make me want to scream, "A remake can't be this good!" simply turns out flawlessly. All of this ties together with a deep, compelling storyline and enough new additions to the battle engine to make a fanboy wet himself with glee to make not only the best Ys remake in history, but the best remake of any game, ever.
Community review by espiga (July 14, 2005)
Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.
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