Ys: Memories of Celceta is another game following the adventures of Adol Christian, a young man with a passion for exploring the world and seeing as much as he can. His previous exploits have won him fame and praise, but he continues to push as deep into the unexplored as possible. Upon visiting the Great Forest, he somehow manages to lose his memories. Through the help of those he meets on his journey, Adol must reclaim his memories and solve the mystery that caused him to lose them in the first place by doing what he does best: exploring.
This story is what all Ys stories are: simple and predictable. Anyone who pays the slightest amount of attention will see all the twists coming a mile away and be able to recite the next several story beats with no mistakes. Of course, there really isn’t anything wrong with this. I enjoy a simple, laid-back story as much as the next person every so often. The characters are one-dimensional but fun in their own ways. This story in particular didn’t really grab me as much as past entries in the series, but it did keep me generally motivated to move forward after a slow build-up. The predictability was actually a great source of amusement, as I couldn’t help but laugh every time the characters were shocked by something so painfully obvious. For those who find such stories annoying, Memories of Celceta may be a bit harder to get through.
For those unfamiliar with the Ys series, they are action-RPGs that combine elements of Zelda and Diablo. Action unfolds at a very rapid pace, with you moving your character around, dodging attacks and retaliating when you have an opening. You unlock various skills that help to deal damage more quickly or from range as you progress. Enemies drop money and materials that can be used to buy or upgrade equipment. This game also features multiple playable characters, which can be switched to with the press of a button. Everyone plays a bit differently, leaving you to pick the one you like best. I primarily stuck to Adol, for his speed and familiarity, but each character has something to offer.
I didn’t enjoy the combat in Memories of Celceta as much as I usually do in the Ys games. There are two reasons I can attribute to this. First, the game is missing an element found in several of other games: a multiplier to XP and stats that increases if you keep attacking enemies quickly enough. This was always a motivator for me to chain kills from enemy to enemy, and room to room, as fast as I could, which gave the games a great pace. In this, I never felt the exciting intensity to push forward as quickly. The second reason stems from the game’s unfortunate performance problems. For the most part, it plays quite well and keeps up with the action. Too much intensity, however, and the action would start to chug and lose that quintessential speed that I feel defines the Ys series. Overall, even without the performance hit, I felt the game played much more slowly (maybe a side effect of its 3D perspective?). Both of these disadvantages make Memories of Celceta a game I am unlikely to return to; given a choice, I would much rather play a different, faster Ys game instead.
Even more disappointing is that the music doesn’t feel quite up to snuff either. Fans of the Ys series know that the games have some truly kick-ass tracks that pump you up and keep you playing (for those who haven’t heard, go check it out now!). I rarely felt this energy from the tracks in Memories of Celceta. Sure, there are a few tracks here and there that are quite excellent, but the quality overall just feels less impressive. Tracks from other games in the series have become some of my favorite game music to date; I would be hard pressed to find more than two or three tracks I would like to listen to more now that I’ve finished the game.
Ys: Memories of Celceta isn’t a bad game. There’s a lot here for those who enjoy it, dozens of hours of content at least. It’s a pretty kick-ass Vita game, a platform that has desperately needed more enjoyable original games. However, I just think Memories of Celecta is a poor Ys game. Nothing from the story to the gameplay to the music feels as good as it has been in the past. The core action is still solid for those unawares of these past games, but I had a hard time wanting to continue with it at times. There is next to no chance I will ever go back and play it again over something like Origin or Oath of Felghana (both of which are on Steam and highly recommended by me). Don’t let that stop you if you want to jump into the Ys series, though; this is a solid, lengthy game for those looking for something to play on their Vitas.
…For those not looking for a game on their Vita, I really suggest getting Origin. It’s so much better.