Ys: Memories of Celceta originally release on the PlayStation Vita originally in 2012 and was a full remake and replacement of the PC Engine and SNES original Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys. The plot of the games both line up with one another and also diverge at points because effectively Memories of Celceta is a full reboot of Ys 4 which has it tie in after the events of Ys II yet before the events of Ys The Oath in Felghana (The games don’t all run in chronological order).
Adol’s adventure in this episode of Adol’s legacy kicks off with him walking into the frontier town of Casnan of which he eventually bumps into a passerby and then collapses with no clue of who he is or what lead him there. Eventually Adol is accompanied with an information broker named Duren, Adol is hired to chart the great forest of Celceta. It turns out the forest is not unfamiliar to him, as people who he encounters instantly recognize him, primarily for the worse of which means the inhabitants of Celceta are blaming him for all the misfortunes that are befalling them thus leading to Adol attempting to clear his name and win the trust of the people.
Given the status of this game as an intended reboot, Ys: Memories of Celceta is isolated from the series intentionally so that it doesn’t need previous knowledge of the franchise. In that sense, Adol’s amnesia serves the purpose well. The player is literally put in his shoes, equally baffled by everything he encounters. Though a protagonist destined to save the world is very common a trope in many forms of media, it is truly everything that surrounds Adol that truly helps make this adventures experience really standout. You’re engulfed in such a plethora of cultures from both the past and present that serve to all come together to present the player with such richness of lore that it makes the mandatory exploring such a godsend to do. Often times game will hit snags when it comes to exploration, gameplay and story however in Memories of Celceta, I never once experienced such a problem and only wanted to keep playing the game to make it to the next frontier!
If you’ve played any of the more modern Ys games from Oath in Felghana, Ark of Naphistim, Origins, Seven, or even the latest one being Lacrimosa of DANA, then you know what to expect here gameplay wise as you’ll be able to swing your sword and, dodge at the last moment and you have access to Skills of which you can use to obliterate your enemies. Unlike Lacrimosa of DANA, there is no jump button here, however, you are able to dodge in any direction and if you want to get around faster then I suggest repeatedly tapping the dodge button as Adol and company will leap then go into a roll animation. Like the other YS games, you can gain experience from combat which allows you to gain new abilities called Skills of which you can equip to be able to use in battle to dish out extra damage and if you tie them into a combo that you are performing then you will be laying the smacketh down on any and all foes who dare oppose you. In the vein of Ys Seven and Lacrimosa of DANA; there is a bit of a rock paper scissors style system in place in the form of Slash, Pierce, and Strike which means certain attacks from certain party members will do more damage or will do less damage depending on the type of enemy it is and what they are weak to. Adol for instance is a Slash style character who is the most well balanced across all of his attacks, whereas Duran is a melee style fighter who uses hand to hand combat which leads to his attacks being in the Strike category.
Graphically the game does show it’s Vita roots in how some of the models look however unlike other reviewers that have complained, this simply does not bother me at all as I love the art style of the Ys series and of how Nihon Falcom decided to go with their character models in this and other Ys games. To me the graphics are fine even if at times they appear simplistic, keep in mind this was originally made for the Vita back in 2012 so there were graphical limitations that this game was made within. The PC port allows you to run the game anywhere from 720p all the way up to 4K at 60FPS which is simply a marvel to look at and man does it run soooo much better than the original Vita version by a long shot.
Musically I find the soundtrack to be quite stellar with many upbeat rocking tunes that get you in the mood to kick some ass and slay some beast! The opening theme by Yukihiro Jindo and Falcom Sound Team JDK, The Foilage Ocean in Celceta, is so atmospheric in my opinion gearing you up for this grand adventure whereas when you’re in the field I find the synth and rock theme of Burning Sword gets you set to slay and then for a more mellow tune when you’re in the town of Casnan you get treated to the theme of Frontier Town -Casnan- (aka Promalock) which is equal parts campy and upbeat yet catchy. The OST is simply amazing through and through which is simply a staple of the Ys franchise since the 80s and has not let up in its 30 year legacy even in this installment. Yes I simply gush at the soundtrack of the Ys series!
When it comes to length, the game runs its course in about 20 or so hours and while it isn’t the longest game in the YS franchise it never overstays its welcome and if you want to pump out an additional 7-10 hours then you can by completing all the side missions and side stories to the main game.
So at this point you may be wondering if Ys: Memories of Celceta is worth the buy and honestly that’s a resounding YES! This game is simply too good to pass up from the story following off of Ys Book 2 (aka Ys 2) to the gameplay to the sheer amount of content and things that there is to do in this game to the most important being the OST which is GLORIOUS! I simply cannot recommend this game enough and whether you play this on the PlayStation Vita or Steam; neither choice is a bad one so long as you play this game however if you want the definitive experience then the Steam version is the way to go. Ys: Memories of Celceta is most assuredly KASANOVA APPROVED! Falcom, can we get a Nintendo Switch port of this game at somepoint?