10I haven't been an Ys fan for very long. Around five months ago, I played Ys I & II, with Ys IV following shortly after. They were all good games, with solid gameplay and -very- solid soundtracks. It wasn't until the seventh game, however, that I realized what the series is all about. Fun. Simple, undiluted fun packed into a tiny UMD.
Oath in Felghana is no different. Eschewing the need for high-end graphics or the next big innovation to gameplay everywhere, the game draws you in with its colorful sprites and backgrounds, likable characters, and intense yet simple hack-n'-slash action, all gift-wrapped within an effective, yet slightly cliche plot of love and betrayal.
The plot opens with Adol Christin, silent protagonist of the Ys legacy for 23 years now, arriving in the remote land of Felghana with his best friend and heterosexual life-partner Dogi. As one would expect from an Ys game, this turns into a classic quest to save the world from the forces of evil. While the basic cliche premisis is nothing to praise, the game makes up for it in how it expresses the plot. A wonderfully dramatic script, great characters, unexpected twists, and amazing voice acting for the main characters really makes the plot an incredibly likable and attention-grabbing one, despite its shortcomings.
Platforming fans will absolutely love the game, which, like its original incarnation, puts heavy emphasis on jumping from ledge to ledge, killing any pestful enemies might get in your way and knock you into whatever abyss sits below. Surprisingly, despite all of the platforming elements, there's no bottomless pits to be seen, and an unfortunate fall will simply lead you to another area of the dungeon, either forcing you to trod back to where you were, or revealing a new location that just might have something useful!
Action is quick and easy to get the hang of, yet very, very satisfying. The camera assumes an overhead view, giving you a bird's-eye-look at the giant mobs of enemies that will soon meet your sword. Adol Christin, the silent protagonist for 23 years of the Ys legacy, is given a six-hit combo and multiple alternate slash attacks, allowing you to quickly dish out damage onto your enemies. True to the working of RPGs, Adol obtains various forms of Magic and other abilities as the game progresses, making the game all the more enjoyable as you hack and slash your way through.
Difficulty-wise, Oath in Felghana manages to maintain an excellent balance between 'ripping your hair out' and moderate. While the constant swarms of bloodthirsty monsters and lack of usable healing items can and will cause you to die many times, the Game Over screen offers you a nice way to get back on your feet with the option to retry from the last screen you entered. Doing this sets your HP, EXP, and other things back to how they were when you entered, though, as to not make things too easy. If you find that you cannot get through a room because you entered with low HP, then you can also return to the title screen and start over from your last save points. But if you keep trying, I'm sure you'll make it without doing so! And, heck, if you find the game overall to be too hard, there's two difficulty levels below Normal to try. If you aren't a platforming veteran, then you'll most likely find yourself falling down to other screens often, which can get annoying quickly. Luckily, the game has a 'No-Fall Mode' option, so that when you fall down a pit, you'll be warped to the beginning of the last room you entered instead, saving large amounts of time.
Bosses in the game are excellently designed. Many of them requiring you to be on your toes at all times, utilizing precise jumping, and knowing when and when not to attack. The bosses offer some of the largest challenges in the game, contributing several deaths to the writer of this review. First-time deaths are common, as with most platforming games, requiring you to learn the enemy's pattern before being able to effectively finish them. This is made easy by the chance to retry against a boss as often as you want, skipping any pre-fight cutscenes to minimize player frustration. You can, of course, also return to the title screen and load the last save point, just in case you want to get a bit of grinding in to help turn the tables. After enough deaths against a boss, the option to lower the difficulty level of the fight presents itself. When chosen, the game is temporarily set to the difficulty right below your current one, until you emerge victorious, and resets itself afterwards.
A few tiny complaints I need to point out. One, while the overall voice acting is nothing short of amazing, some of the minor NPCs have hilariously bad voices(especially a certain quest-specific knight in Valestein Castle). Two, the game is much shorter than the average RPG, totalling in at around 10 hours.
All in all, an incredible game. A must-have for any Action RPG or platforming fan.… Expand
8The 1-4 point scores here in the user section are likely knee-jerk reactions from players expecting something different. If one doesn't like older games or understand the heritage of Falcom, Oath in Felghana will not make you happy.
This is a port of a re-imagining of a very old game (phew), so the target audience here is more likely 20- and 30-somethings who have their finger on the pulse of import gaming - a small but loyal audience as you can see by the great divide in use scores here. Most modern gamers will miss the point of the game, or feel it is archaic or unforgiving. Ys comes from a different era, one that many long for, so this release is kind of like finding an oasis in the desert to some.
All told, this new version is nice, and the voice acting and swappable PC-98/X68000 soundtraacks (beauty!) adds some value to the package, but graphically and control-wise, it is substantially uglier than the much prettier PC version. Aside from Ys V, the plot and scope of Ys has never been especially epic, and I feel Ys III, which Felghana is based on, has the weakest story of the whole series, so there is validity to that criticism. XSeed should not be advertising the game as a grand adventure, because it's not. Rather, the story is a small, localized conflict with silly cliches, but it serves its purpose as an excuse to run around the island. Also, keep in mind, the plot was originally written in 1989, so leave some forgiveness for the retro factor.
A great game when viewed from the right perspective.… Expand
Everyone needs to settle down. This game is not a 10 by any stretch of the imagination. It is a port, not even a remake, and it hardly stacks up to the PC version. The game doesn't control better than the PC version with a gamepad by a long shot and while that can be blamed on Sony, I personally cannot stand playing this portable mess. Anybody saying this game deserves a 10 is lying through their teeth considering that none of the magazines were willing to give it that high of a score and would I give it a 1? Well, obviously not but this game is still a letdown. The bonuses were minimal in the premium boxing and it really doesn't do anything better than older versions except maybe have voice. This gets a flat 5 from me.… Expand
This is a very polarizing game for me to play. I first played this game on the SNES way back in the day and even played the remake on the Playstation 2, which in my opinion is the better version of Ys III. I think this game really shined as a side-scroller and I don't know if I like the PSP version in 3D. The analog nub does not work well with how this game is supposed to play and causes gamers to miss simple jumps that they should never miss. The voice acting gets you through the story but that's about it. This is a classic game but I don't think it does well in this generation of games. Given the play control alone, I wouldn't give this game over a 5, but I think the additions to the story really make the game more convoluted than it really should be so I am deducting a point for that too. The soundtrack is pretty much the same as what I have heardin past Ys III versions so I'm not going to add any points for that either. This is a so-so game on the PSP and I really anticipated more. Good thing I didn't buy the LE.… Expand