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Ys: The Oath in Felghana review

Great
AT A GLANCE
  • Satisfying, stupidly-fast combat
  • Refreshingly straightforward
  • Bitchin' hair metal soundtrack
  • Loot lovers get left out in the cold
  • Some hilariously bad voice acting
  • Obscenely difficult

Simplicity is something rarely celebrated in videogames, but Ys: The Oath in Felghana is refreshingly straightforward – ironic, considering it’s a port of a remake of a 20 year old game. In the wake of Final Fantasy XIII’s absurd, 20-hours-long tutorial, jumping into a JRPG and just beating the snot out of everything is a nice change of pace. That this PSP port is just plain great works to its benefit, too.

Above: This isn’t a terribly long game, but you’ll see a lot of great settings 

You won’t find a lot of story to waste your time in The Oath in Felghana. Our hero’s a ginger with a sword who loves to murder monsters – that’s all we need. What little story’s here – the bad guys are dicks, blah blah, etc. – is a mixture of melodrama balanced out by an excellent translation and campy banter. It’s well-written and regularly funny, and the fully voiced dialogue is mostly likable. Even when the VO is bad it’s good. Even the odd character – Mams is a standout – is so deliberately, laughably terrible you can’t help but listen and be amused at how silly they sound.

Once the quick discussions end, you can get right to the stabbing, and Ys is an immediately gratifying, stabtacular adventure. The combat’s a little basic, but it throws a few curveballs at you, like enemies that are impervious to your sword and such. You’ll spam the jump, attack, and magic buttons more times than you can count, but it’s far more than bland button mashing.

See, The Oath in Felghana is so absurdly difficult that its combat requires deliberate grace to come out on top. You’ll fight tons of enemies at once, and you’ll need to move a lot to stay alive. This is a fast game, and if you’re not thinking ahead you’re screwed. The outstanding boss fights force you to jump, run, and dodge to the point that you barely have a moment to attack. You’ll die, and you’ll die plenty.

Above: Pain for pleasure 

Perhaps Ys’ strongest asset – aside from its seriously rockin’, non-stop-awesome original soundtrack – is that this extreme difficulty, even on normal, is rarely frustrating. We’re not prone to enjoying trial and error, but the combat is a skill-based challenge. When you die, you know it’s your fault, and you know how to succeed even when you repeatedly fail. It’s brutal, but not unfair, which leads to even more satisfaction with your success.

Because everything moves along at such a quick clip, you’ll probably push through The Oath in Felghana fairly quickly. Compared to other Ys titles, this is a far more straightforward and short experience. You won’t collect a ton of loot, which may burn some players. But we enjoyed building big combos, clobbering experience bonuses out of baddies, and collecting materials to upgrade our various weapons and magically endowed bracelets.

Above: You’ll spend very little time reading and listening. Killing > talking 

Despite its 10-15 hour running time, Ys: The Oath in Felghana never feels short – which it is by conventional Japanese RPG standards. It’s a punchy, fulfilling game that takes you to plenty of cool places and does a lot of basic things right. We’re a fan of a good ol’ fashioned action game that gets right to the good stuff, and this is evidence that we don’t get enough of this kind of game these days.

Nov 1, 2010

More Info

Release date: Nov 02 2010 - PSP (US)
Available Platforms: PSP
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: XSEED Games
Developed by: Falcom
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Blood, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes, Mild Language

We Recommend

9 comments

  • Darkmessiah24 - November 8, 2010 1:07 a.m.

    Definitely gonna try and get it for Christmas as I loved Ys Seven.
  • ProfessorBonk - November 2, 2010 6:50 p.m.

    I've had this game for years as a fan-made English patch of the Japanese version. I'm glad to see it officially in the states. I love this game, and now I can acquire it within more.. legal means.
  • WillisTron - November 2, 2010 8:46 a.m.

    I don't see how the people that constantly spam random websites aren't banned immediately - A NEW POLICY MUST BE MADE ON THIS! btw I'm jamming to SSBM's rendition of "Big Blue" right now thanks to the "music of the day" feature, thanks GR!
  • garnsr - November 2, 2010 3:54 a.m.

    Which Ys is this a remake of? I think I played 3 on SNES, and I think that was the only one I've played, though it's been sort of stuck in my head since I wasn't able to play the first ones on Turbo CD.
  • FeatherFang - November 2, 2010 2:46 a.m.

    Argh, sorry for double posting, if people are against that, but I want to mention that Ys III Wanderers of Ys was originally a 2-D side scroller, so this remake, was a HUGE remake. Ys I and II were originally over the top game and then the 3rd one went to a 2-D side scroller (exactly like the transition from Zelda I to II). more info about Ys franchise here: http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/ys/ys.htm This site is also good for others reasons, but that would take too much to write
  • FeatherFang - November 2, 2010 2:40 a.m.

    Thanks for doing a Falcom game review :)I hope their games get more popular. Ys Oath in Felghana is a little different from Ys Seven for a few reasons. It originally came out on the PC in 2005 as a complete remake of Ys III Wanderers of Ys It was ported by Falcom themselves THIS YEAR, so XSEED did well to get it here for us fans (Konami didn't do so well with Ark of Napistim (VI) port on the PS2 and PSP) If you have played Ark of Napistim (VI), it uses a similar engine if not the same (except the changes Konami did to the US release). So it is a action RPG with some platforming elements. Though I'm pretty sure it should just be as fast paced as Ys Seven. Because technically it was released BEFORE Ys Seven and Ys Seven had to improve on previous Ys games' mechanics like all sequels in franchises do, I just miss the jumping though Watch some vids on youtube, there are platny and you'll see how different it is from Ys Seven. Also Ys Origin uses the same enigine, but sadly its not on the PSP :( I hope you guys do some Falcom music on one of those Game Music of the Day, it's funny because they have more OSTs/Albums/Super Arranges than games + remakes all together!
  • Yaro - November 2, 2010 1:53 a.m.

    Yeah this game is awesome, I really like skill-based challenges, Ys series, or more rececntly Demon's souls. Thank you Japan. Good review =) special props for mentioning the soundtrack more than one time, it really is bitchin'.
  • MrSuitMan - November 2, 2010 1:26 a.m.

    So what's different between this and Ys Seven?
  • Blasto - November 2, 2010 12:24 a.m.

    I really enjoyed ys:Seven So I'll probably pick this up at some point.

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