A Magical Hour With Ys: The Oath In Felghana

Illustration for article titled A Magical Hour With emYs: The Oath In Felghana/em

Republished from Rock, Paper Shotgun


Currently doing rather well for itself on the Steam bestsellers chart, XSEED's milk-eyed JRPG Ys: The Oath In Felghana has been recommended to me by various corners of the internet. If you can stand to hear me harp on for a moment, I can tell you a little about it. A little? Well, I only played about 60 minutes of it, but have one hour on me.

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For the first fifteen minutes, I screamed. It's all cutscene all the way, as boring cutsey pixel-people say boring things about something I couldn't give the faintest hoot about. I clicked and I hammered and I slammed and the talking just would not stop. With the game lacking an imaginative setting or an obvious hook, I was mere moments away from writing a post which may well have quite literally read SCREW YOU YS YOU'RE EVERYTHING THAT'S WRONG WITH GAMING. Then, finally, it relented. I was in.

It turned out to be a surprisingly wild time, and at odds with the increasingly negative preconceptions I'd developed during the waffly crap in the intro. An action-RPG requiring high-velocity death-dealing with a combination of sword and spell, it was exciting, it had a wonderfully silly soundtrack (Andrew WK let loose with a MIDI system, essentially) and a whole lot of things died at my hands incredibly quickly. I felt like a tiny god with a ridiculous haircut, and lo it was good.

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Illustration for article titled A Magical Hour With emYs: The Oath In Felghana/em

Well, until I hit an irksome boss that required precisely-timed jumps and mastery of a finicking spell-aiming system to defeat (checking the setting that interprets analogue commands as digital is a must if you're using a gamepad, which is also a must). I was fourth time lucky in defeating it, but I knew didn't have the will to press on with something that would so casually interrupt joyful, high-speed monster-bashing. But the monster bashing that led up to that is indeed joyful and high-speed, a sort of lunatic take on Zelda or stuff like Chantelise and Fortune Summoners. I can totally see why it's garnering so much attention and it had a playfulness that's lacking in most Western action-RPGs.

Illustration for article titled A Magical Hour With emYs: The Oath In Felghana/em

It's fairly pretty too, a fusion of 3D environments and sprites and a large-ish hub city to wander around picking up new gear and, when scripting permits, quests, but while I dig the frenzy of it the tedious conversations and flow-wrecking boss fights mean it isn't ultimately something I want to persevere with. Which isn't a dismissal of the genre, just an honest admission that I get my happyfuntimes elsewhere. This certainly seems to sidestep many of JRPGs' tropes in favour of something more agreeably frenzied, so I can see the appeal and if I didn't have enough games to break a battleship's back stretching ahead of me, I suspect I'd give it more time.

Here's a trailer for you.


Alec Meer is a writer for Rock Paper Shotgun, one of the world's best sites for PC gaming news. Follow him on Twitter.

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Republished with permission.

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DISCUSSION

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A Japanese Action RPG in the PC Gaming channel? Delightful :D

It's funny how this game seems to be making waves with the PC gaming crowd, since this series has been pretty firmly stuck in the realm of consoles in the west (many of them have been released on PC in Japan). I love the Ys series and recommend it to almost anyone who will listen. My snobby PC gamer friends were just buzzing about this game the other day and I told them that they should definitely try it out for themselves. I know they're going to love it even if it has "bad" graphics, and is Japanese, and is too-cute-for-it's-own-good.

Wouldn't it be funny if PC gamers heralded the return of the JRPG?