Most game-loving kids grew up playing the Legend of Zelda games. Naturally, I’ve got some experience with that series, but there’s a soft spot in my heart for the so-similar-it’s-almost-lawsuit-worthy Ys series. That’s because I’m a hipster. Check out my scarf. Hipsters like me should be pleased with the PC release of Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, better known as the game where the series’ combat system stopped being a horrific bumpfest and started turning into something worth playing.
Ys VI is yet another story about the red-haired adventurer Adol Christin, lover of swords and loather of monsters and speech. This time he’s in the tropical-themed Canaan Islands after being stranded in a shipwreck. He’ll have to explore the islands and battle the vicious beasts known as Wandering Calamities in typical adventurer style.
Ys VI was also the first of the “modern” Ys series, despite being the most recent to be released on PC. That means it plays a lot like Ys 7, Ys Origin and the insanely great Ys: Memories of Celceta. While earlier titles in the series boasted simple combat systems revolving around bumping into monsters and avoiding getting bumped, modern Ys games are a little more advanced.
Adol can slash, jump and dash about much like a certain Hylian hero; he also explores dungeons in much the same way. The proceedings have a very enjoyable “flow” as the red-haired adventurer glides around effortlessly chopping baddies to ribbons and grabbing loot. VI doesn’t feature the kill-chaining system seen from Ys 7 onward – again, it’s technically an older game – but combat’s still a great time. Adol also has access to several elemental swords that offer different spells and attacks, though you can generally stick with whichever you enjoy the most.
The PC release of Ys VI offers a couple new features over the original PS2 release. Catastrophe Mode, for instance, is a more difficult version of the original game where you can’t carry any healing items – any that are dropped by enemies are automatically consumed on the spot. The graphics are also improved and can be set to widescreen mode. Meanwhile, there’s a missing bit here and there; no voice acting or optional dungeons, for instance, which aren’t a huge loss.
All in all, if you’re a fan of the Ys series you can’t really go wrong with Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim. Admittedly, if you’re a fan of the Ys series you’ve probably already played it on PS2 or PSP and this newly updated PC version doesn’t shake things up all that much. The game came out a decade ago, though. I can’t remember things that happened last week. Maybe Ys VI is worth another look.