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Ys Eternal (PC) artwork

Ys Eternal (PC) review

"Magic. "


Webster's New Dictionary of the English Language defines it as an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural force. Ys Eternal starts off magically right from the get-go. You're treated to a beautiful anime opening backed by a soft, harmonic tone, which soon develops into something darker and more sinister. This sets the mood for what is basically the theme for the entire game: a beautiful world in which a powerful dark force looms overhead, waiting for its moment to strike.

Adol Christin, the crimson-haired main character of Ys Eternal, is all too familiar with this. Playing as him, you'll step into a fantastic 2D world filled to the brim with details. A huge field with uneven terrain throws up dust as you run, ancient trees permeate the soil beneath your feet with their massive roots, and a rushing river to your side drowns out your footsteps. All this happens while a manly, guitar-driven theme song plays, and it keeps your heart racing through the fast paced, action packed narrative that's sadly over far too soon. Through the course of this story, you'll be taken through large dungeons filled with skeletons and other undead atrocities just waiting to make a red splatter out of you on the marble walls. There's also an ancient mine with a nefarious vampire waiting to bring about your painful demise, and even the absolutely massive twenty-five story Darm Tower, with the dubious magician Dark Fact waiting at the top.

All of this is backed by an incredible soundtrack, with every area having its own unique music. You'll near no "generic dungeon song" or "yet another happy town theme" here. Each place has its own theme, its own style, and the game's "magic" benefits greatly from it. You'll notice the large, detailed sprites, and even the most mundane of characters come alive in this richly fleshed out world, from an old woman who goes out to hang laundry, to the beautiful fortuneteller with a great rack...of spices in her living quarters.

Of course, if you want to look at that other sort of rack, you'll be well pleased by the high resolution anime-style portraits of majour characters throughout the game, with staples any respecting fan of the genre will be able to recognize--including large-chested females.

When it comes down to it, though, Ys Eternal is mainly about one thing: kicking ass. Adol will run through his enemies and smash into them, using his vast array of weapons to slice and dice his foes into bloody mincemeat. Because unlike your Zelda, Seiken Densetsu, or Soulblazer, you're never forced to press a button and wait for your character to swing his sword. No, Adol is far too badass for something like that, and will instead rip apart his enemies like a buzzsaw by merely tackling them a little off-center.

This, of course, also comes with its detriments. It's outdated. Why would Falcom be so insane to release a fairly recent game with such a simplistic battle system?

But is that madness... or is it magic?

Falcom did it because it works, and it does so swimmingly. If you stop moving, Adol will die. It results in an action based system that doesn't involve you throwing a controller because you pressed the attack button just a half-second after the enemy's attack landed. In Ys, you will run through your enemies, turn a sharp corner and continue to blaze through your path. It keeps you on your toes and moving at all times... Right into the boss' chamber.

And with heavy-hitting, intense boss battles like the vampire awaiting you at the mines, it's no surprise that Falcom chose this method of fighting style. You'll slash into him, as the vampire polymorphs into a flurry of screeching bats that chase you around the room. You have no healing items that you can use at any time in this battle, so to allow them to catch you is to allow yourself to die.

And that's just the beginning of it. Ys Eternal truly is a game that transcends words. Adol's quest to find the legendary land of Ys is a classic, unforgettable experience that's replayable time and time again. This is the best version you can get of the game that started the Ys legacy, and one of the best action RPGs you can get, period.

Webster's New Dictionary of the English Language defines magic as an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural force. I define it as Ys Eternal.

espiga's avatar
Community review by espiga (July 07, 2007)

Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.

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