If you frequent the Steam client store page, you might’ve noticed an unassuming gem called Ys: The Oath in Felghana – a top-down hack-‘n’-slash that combines unyielding challenge with an aesthetic that’s a throwback to JRPG visuals of the PS1 era. Falcom’s Ys series (pronounced like “geese” without the g) is all about the old-school mindset of simple-but-charming graphics and difficult-but-not-impossible gameplay, and Origin is the latest entry to hold fast to this design.
The look of Ys Origin won’t win over graphics snobs – but what it might lack in high-resolution textures and advanced lighting, it makes up for with tried-and-true gameplay. While the combat’s closest parallel would be games like Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the progression structure is modeled closely after the Metroidvania style that’s a mainstay of more and more indie games.
Playing as either the melee-focused axe-wielding Yunica or the spell-slinging ranged fighter Hugo, you’re tasked with trekking through the sixteen-or-so floors of the ominous Devil’s Tower, facing creepy-crawly bosses and spike traps every step of the way. You can also unlock an antagonistic, Protoman-style antihero by beating the game with both characters. The best part? His name is literally The Claw, and he brandishes huge spiked fist weapons that would put Street Fighter’s Vega to shame.
Ys Origin was originally released in Japan in 2006, but it looks like the additional Steam features will make up for the wait: a bevy of Steam achievements (which we’re willing to bet will be challenging as all get-out) and saves to the almighty Steam cloud will make the game that much more accessible, while diehard Ys fans can compete for speedruns or impressive Boss Run times on the leaderboards.
We’re stoked to see more games like Ys Origins cropping up on Steam – if these games do well, the floodgates could open for quality ports of Japanese titles that the general Steam populace might’ve missed. Look for it this May, exclusively on Steam – and if you can’t stand the game’s graphics, then we don’t care to know you.