Ys: Memory of Celceta

We've Got You Covered From A to Y's

Memory of Celceta is a call back to an earlier era when games were games.
Author: Kyle Heimbigner
Published: April 1, 2014
Ys: Memories of Celceta, the latest entry in the long-running series from Falcom, revolves around a map that you need to fill in. Something so simple doesnít sound very interesting, not until you get into exploring that map and uncover the secrets it has to offer. This is a reimagining of the two decade-old Super Famicom game, Ys IV, with a 25 hour long plot based around this map that a nearby city wants filled in. You, playing as Adol Christin, a young boy who has lost his memory (you can probably already tell where this is going) is eventually asked to help explore beyond the city walls, after some brief events that play out to be a tutorial.


As you play you will uncover the mystery behind Adolís memories, the secret of the forest, and meet characters along the way. Some folks will request that you help with quests and others will join your party to punch up your abilities. The story is best described as predictable, and you can already tell just from the subtitle in the gameís name that memories play a big part in the story and there is a need to save the world. I would not describe this as a poorly told story per se, just that the way it comes across can be very disruptive. Conversations carry on for too long leading to a lot of sudden breaks in the gameplay and this can get very annoying. Memories of Celceta is an action-RPG, so the game should focus on that first and do away with the unnecessary exposition and cutscenes. If the story was scaled back this would have actually been a good thing in this case. This isnít a series known for its rich universe, but rather for unique and fast-paced action.

Thankfully the combat and gameplay mechanics are fluid and fun. The game is fast paced; everything is done on the same screen, which I really appreciate, as Iíve grown use to running into an enemy and then combat transitions into another map. This is one of the most annoying things about jrpgs, and Iím glad Memories of Celceta didnít go that route because really, who has the time for that. Each character has unlockable skills too, and specializes in a specific weapon that adds to the depth of the combat. Celcetaís has a good balance in difficulty and the combat feels weighty. Moving around the gameworld is quick, and enemy variety is plenty. The great part is that Ys encourages you to move forward, doesnít require backtracking, and grinding is not really a thing here. You will push forward into the games story at a decent pace, and this is Ys biggest strength.

There are parts of Ys though that are underdeveloped and could have been better. The upgrade system, while very detailed, feels unimportant and can be ignored, especially with the high cost of upgrades. There are also not many side quests, which I suppose comes down to personal preference whether or not you care about this. I personally do not do many side quests in RPGs, and was annoyed at the number of them in games such as Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns, or the Kingdom of Amalur. Ys is also not very inspiring looking either. The Ys series has never had good art direction or ground breaking graphics, so this isnít too surprising, but Ys really is a pretty ugly and dull looking game that could have benefited from a brighter palette and more interesting sprites. It looks like a late era PlayStation title. It really doesnít come close to taking advantage of the Vita hardware and that is just disappointing to see considering it is an exclusive, something sorely lacking on the Vita.

I think this RPG is a welcome addition to the Vita library, especially since it is exclusive, which again, is something the Vita badly needs. Memories of Celceta has the credibility of a very long running JRPG series to back it up too. Even despite some weak design decisions and a boring storyline, there is a lot of reason to recommend this game.
The Verdict
7.0

Y's: Memory of Celceta continues the tradition of eschewing just enough of standard RPG convention to set itself apart, but unfortunately gets a little too lost in its own story to keep focus. A fun Action RPG that can overstay its welcome.

7.0Graphics:

It has a bit of a old-school look but with the clean lines of a more modern system. The character sprites are decent, but the backgrounds lack that hand-drawn quality we've come to expect from a modern Vita game.

7.0Sound:

Sounds! We've got them here! As you might expect, the music is the star of the show with an outstanding soundtrack. Otherwise there isn't much memorable here.

8.0Control:

Y's has always been it's own breed of Action RPG and while the controls are simple they work well here. The menu navigation works fine and the combat ends up feeling fairly fluid.

7.0Gameplay:

The big knock on Memories of Celceta is that it strays a little bit too much into the story side of things when there isn't enough there to keep you entertained. The action is the hook here and when things stray I want to go away.