It is a great time to be a Ys fan. With Ys IX on the way next year, Falcom gives us another PS4 port of one of the earlier games in the franchise. It’s an essential port at that. The game starts with the quote, “Adol Christin did not always consider himself an adventurer.” So what made him start saying he is? This line piqued my interest as a relatively late convert to the Ys series. Memories of Celceta is a port of the PlayStation Vita version that came out in 2012. It’s also impressive considering it is a combination of two games that Falcom did not initially make. While this is a port of a handheld game, Celceta still holds up surprisingly well.
Falcom has always had strong art direction in their games. Their knack for great character portraits, simplistic but easy to read HUDs, and accessible menus are fresh and crisp even compared to some of their later titles. While the explorable world and various villages are incredibly well-thought-out and a blast to discover, there is no denying that this game is a product of its period. The main character models and monsters still stand out and have some great detail to them, but some of the generic town folk look kind of deformed. After the first couple of hours, I didn’t notice that anymore, however. Celceta runs very well at a consistent 60 frames per second for nearly the entire journey.
The hitches I experienced were usually in non-combat situations and seemed to resolve themselves after just a moment. It only glitched out on two different occasions, but after that, no problems. I’m glad that the frame rate stays as consistent as it does because this is where combat took a significant turn in a frantic but thoughtful direction. Each character in your party is capable of dealing with a specific type of damage: slashing, bashing, or piercing. Having the available damage type in your party will allow you to perform an “Excellent Kill,” which yields bonus experience points. Even when you don’t have the kind you need or the enemy doesn’t have a weakness, you can also use the flash guard and dodge. Flash guarding allows you to open your opponents to critical attacks while dodging just before being hit puts your opponents in a slow-motion state. I love fishing for these while moving in between foes, and it is always immensely satisfying to suddenly dominate a battle that was giving you issues just moments before.
Combat and exploration are also well woven together in a tight loop. As you explore, you discover artifacts that allow access to a new part of the rather impressive map. Defeating monsters, gathering resources, and gathering experience as you do the above just keeps everything tied nicely together. As you gain experience, everyone will learn new techniques. Use these techniques to finish off an enemy weak to that type, and you will be amazed how quickly you can level one of your characters. If you hoard resources, you can use materials to upgrade your weapons and armor further.
This loop of exploring, collecting, learning, and upgrading is very satisfying, and I can see why they held on to this style for later entries. The only thing that I wasn’t totally on board within Celceta is that there are certain aspects of the story that I found to be weak. I will not go into a tremendous amount of detail because the story is interesting enough to get through, but there are some weak character motives. Some characters seem to exist just for the sake of being opposition to Adol. Though in the grand scheme, it’s a minor flaw overall, and I don’t hold it against the game that much.
Falcom has a specific styling for its music. If you are already a fan, you will feel right at home. If you’re newer to the series, then this will undoubtedly whet the appetite for more. The overall sound quality is pretty good, though nothing special either. Overall you can’t go wrong with this entry. Ys Memory of Celceta is still a fun ride, and if you’re looking for a good entry point into the series, I would recommend you start here.
Ys Memories of Celceta Review
A great adventure.
Despite its age showing a bit and some lacking story elements, Ys Memories of Celceta is a very enjoyable game that set the tone for the series moving forward.