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Old 09-21-2010, 03:18 AM   #1600
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,147
It's been a while since my last full-on review, but I am back and less powerful than ever before! Here we go:

Ys Seven
Sony PSP

Is that the actual number 7 between
Ys and Seven? I can't quite tell.

Ever since my super-rich parents bought me a TurboGrafx-16 and CD-ROM for a high school graduation present, I've been a fan of the Ys series - pronounced "ees" - which they also bought me. The game had fantastic music, exciting "cinema intermissions", voice acting that was actually good (it is very rare that games have good voice acting) and even fun gameplay. Also, it should be noted that after buying me such a present, my parents were no longer rich. They were just amazed I even made it out of high school. Everyone was, especially me. Since then I have enjoyed "Ys 3 Wanderers from Ys", also on the TurboGrafx-CD. I also played through the Genesis and SNES editions of that same game. Ys 4 was really good on the PC Engine CD (a translation patch exists). The game was less good on the Super Famicom, but it was a completely different game. Ys 5 was released exclusively on the Super Famicom from what I can tell and to my knowledge no translation exists. Years, years and more years later, Ys 6 was finally released on the PS2 and PSP and was called Ark of Neptiosdsfjiffdim. Now we finally have Ys Seven, which spells out the number because that's how stylish it is. Knowledge of previous Ys games is not needed. Suffice it to say, the games have not taken place in the land of Ys for a long, long time (since part 2 and *maybe* a bit of part 4 on the PC Engine CD).

The graphics can look kind of bland in stills, but they actually work out OK during gameplay.
You control the character who doesn't have the mini green health bar floating under him.

Story: 5/10
As I indicated above, you do not need to know anything about the previous games to jump into this one. A few references are made here and there, but you won't be left with your brain twisted in confusion as a result. We wander upon the land of Altago which finds itself in a strange predicament. As always, Adol arrives to save the day. What is nice (and has been a staple of the Ys series) is that you are fighting for the survival/continuity of that particular land, not the entire world/universe/all universes as is usually the case in JRPGs. The land of Altago is maybe about the size of Rhode Island at best, not a land that would be missed or even has the right to exist in the first place, but dammit if Adol is going to let bad things happen! The story is adequate, not fantastic and you likely won't find yourself bonding with any of the characters much, but it does what it needs to do. As with most games these days, it is extremely wordy. Dialog scenes go on and on and on, and everyone always has something to say. Oh how I miss the days of restricted cartridge space and limited RAM, developers were forced to choose their text wisely and scenes didn't drag on as a result. There are no "cinema intermissions" in this game despite the fact that the PSP is supposedly more powerful than the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-CD. What's up with that? Games just don't have as much style these days. At least not the Ys games, but don't let that put you off too much.

A boss fight!! Switching between the characters is also a good way to prevent them from losing too much health,
as the character that is currently in your control will take most of the beating. Other characters still help attack.

Graphics: 6.8/10
Since we are living in the fabled year of 2010, we have to deal with the law that was passed by the world leaders stating that ALL graphics must always be made out of polygons because the kids these days think polygons are "cool". Well, I think some well-done sprites are better than polygons for games like this any day. Oh, by the way, GET OFF MY LAWN! But this game works despite the simple polygon models and the grainy textures. You can see the PS1-quality grain if you hook your PSP up to a TV with the component video cable. The bosses look pretty cool for the most part and the monsters look cool, too. I didn't notice any graphical glitches like clipping anywhere. The only thing that really sucks is during boss fights and the camera zooms way out, making it difficult to discern which character you are controlling since you have a multi-member party. Still, while not highly praise-worthy, there certainly isn't much to complain about regarding the graphics.

Sound: 8.8/10
The sound effects themselves are adequate and there is no voice acting in this game. This might be a blessing in disguise given the quality of most of today's videogame voice actors who find themselves in Japanese games in America. If this game had spoken dialog, there would not be the likes of Thomas Hayden Church (Tombstone, Spider-man 3, Easy A), Michael Bell (O.G. Transformers), and Alan Oppenheimer (Adventures of the motherf*ckin' Gummi Bears) as there were in the original game(s) on the TuroGrafx-CD. Instead we'd probably get shitty acting like that found in "Tales of…" games. That would make the game as a whole much less enjoyable. There are a few vocal utterances when you select a character, but the performances are not long enough to be judged. The music in the game is the best since Ys 4. That's not to say that parts 5 and 6 didn't have good music, they did (especially 6), but they were not on the level of this game. There aren't really any musical selections that are bad, but there are a few (like the town themes, for instance) that you certainly wouldn't want to put on your iPod or some other sort of device which plays illegal MP3s. Definitely a great soundtrack here with a variety of great tunes, many of them very Falcom-sounding.

Lots of innocent animals like bunnies and slime-thingies roam the land. Murder them to gain items, money and experience.
They have no friends, so it's OK. You can even hack at their corpses to get more items to synth into weapons and the such.

Gameplay: 8.3/10
This is the first Ys game where you can play as a non-Adol character, at least that I can certainly recall. You travel in a party with 2 other characters running around with you, switching between them on the fly with the CIRCLE button. Each character has their own strengths. For example, there are fleshy, crusty and flying enemies. Characters like Adol can damage the fleshy enemies but can't do much to the crusty or flying enemies. Likewise, other characters may do maximum damage to crusty or flying enemies. You select the character you need to use to defeat a particular enemy. It can get hectic when there are many different enemy types onscreen at once, but it really isn't confusing as it may seem early on. Sometimes you have even more members in your party, but to play as them you must go into the menu and replace one of your current characters with them. This can be a pain sometimes. There are also items that can be equipped by the entire party, like special shoes that allow you to walk over spiky areas or underwater. Later in the game you will find yourself switching back and forth between all of these items as you will run across a spiky area and immediately go underwater. This menu is accessed with the TRIANGLE button and gets a bit annoying but it isn't overdone enough to make it frustrating. There are also special moves that can be assigned to each button for each character that is accessed by pressing said button while holding down the R button. You can level these attacks up as well and even gain a super-mega attack like some schmuck. It's just complicated enough so that today's gamers are satisfied and yet simple enough so that ancient gamers like me who have a hard time remembering more than two buttons can somehow make it through. Some super-sophisticated gamers may be disappointed to learn that this game does not utilize the Steel Battalion controller for the Xbox. I do recommend remapping the controls so that SQUARE is the attack and ECCHS is the dash. All game should allow button remapping.

The game took me a bit over 20 hours to complete which is just about right, I'd say. I think anywhere between 15 and 20 hours is good. The game overstays its welcome just a little bit, but not enough to bitch about. Most games made today definitely don't know when to end. It was nice to see a game where I didn't have to re-fight all of the bosses again or 16 different forms of the final boss. The game is never overly difficult and only a bit of grinding is really necessary, maybe an hours' worth here or there. The boss fights are a bit long, especially at first, since they have crazy amounts of HP, but any gamer these days is disappointed with boss fights that last less than half an hour. Everything these days needs to be "OMG EPIC!!!". This game doesn't quite go to that level, thankfully. I had lots of fun playing this game, probably more so than Ys 6 and definitely more so than Ys 5. And for those who haven't played an Ys game in a loooong time, yes you must press a button to swing your sword, no more Hydlide mechanics here.

You can see some of the PS1-quality grain/dithering in this shot. Here we are seen obtaining
some of the Titano's "fluid". Yeah. I'll let you figure that one out, Mr. Sticky.

Wrap up:
I bought a PSP to play this game, since it is exclusive to the portable. Would I have rather played it on a real console? Yes, but I do not regret my purchase. This is definitely one of the best games for the PSP and I should know since I own up to 4 PSP games. Other PSP games are not as good or otherwise I would own them for sure. So there you have it!
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