Ys Origin Xbox One Review
I shared in my review for Ys Origin on the PC that I basically felt it was the finest entry in the series up to that point. While it serves as a canonical prequel to the franchise so many of us have come to know and love, there are plenty of incredible mechanics developer Nihon Falcom has forged over the years that they have embedded inside what is pound for pound one of the best action RPGs I have played.
Last year, DotEmu took it upon themselves to capitalize on XSEED Games’ excellent work by bringing this amazing title to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. While I did not get around to playing those respective versions (and neither did our site on an official capacity), I am excited I now have an opportunity to check out their handiwork on the Xbox One.
What, you’re surprised? Oh yes, this is the very first time the Ys series, or anything from Nihon Falcom, has ever appeared on an Xbox console. Not only does it offer the pioneering company a chance to expand their audience, but also to allow for more people to play this amazing game. But how exactly do DotEmu’s efforts stack up in its debut?
Before I move on, let me say upfront I will not be diving deep into the story events or the gameplay hooks. All of this was already covered in my original review, so be sure to check that out if you’re interested in the finer details of the game itself. Instead, in this review, I want to take a look at what exactly sets the console version of Ys Origin apart from its PC brethren.
Funny enough, I played solely with a keyboard and mouse for my review (I didn’t have one available at the time I wrote that article), so this will be the first time I try this out with a gamepad. I’m happy with the way everything controls; I didn’t feel any latency (also known as lag) between my inputs and the way the characters act on screen. For those unfamiliar with the Ys series, this is crucial due to how lightning-paced everything is especially during the boss fights.
One of the odd absences in the PlayStation 4 and Vita versions of Ys Origin is that DotEmu removed all the blood splatters. This harkens back to the days of Konami’s localization of Ys: The Ark of Napishtim for the PlayStation 2 (and eventually the PlayStation Portable). During that period, this was done so Konami could get a proper rating for the game.
Fortunately, all of that is back on the Xbox One. While it may be hard to believe, enemies you kill in Ys Origins blow up all nice and gruesome-like; this in a way subverts your expectations based on the look of the game. Expect floors and walls to be bathed in the plasma of your enemies. Okay, it’s not that over-the-top, but it certainly is noticeable even if it’s hard to imagine this entire matter being an issue in the first place. Maybe it’s an issue in the eyes of Sony specifically, but I can’t say for certain.
At the end of the day, the Xbox One release of Ys Origin is more than serviceable. While I can’t say for certain whether the PC and console version is superior since they’re practically identical, you can’t really go wrong with either one. I have heard second-hand the PlayStation 4 and Vita entries were plagued with bugs and glitches that were soon patched a few weeks later, so I never encountered any problems like that during my entire playthrough. There's also the addition of a speedrun mode, so those into that scene will appreciate the feature.
Six years after its western debut and more than 10 years after its original Japanese release, the core of the game is somewhat archaic. This isn’t talking about the graphics, either, because there’s just something appealing about how incredibly detailed these sorts of games are from Falcom. With the lack of an autosave feature and no map, it can be challenging to know exactly where to go. On the other hand, that’s kind of the point.
You are encouraged to explore every nook and cranny of The Devil’s Tower. More times than once, I explored areas I wasn’t supposed to be. Think of it like a Metroidvania (even if the term is overused): if you happen to come across a group of enemies that beat the ever-living daylights out of you and send you spiraling into the Game Over screen, that’s on you for not taking proper precautions. It’s a welcome challenge compared to how hand-holdy modern games tend to be.
There’s not a whole lot else I can say about Ys Origin that I didn’t already cover in my original review, but my comments there remain true here. Thanks to its incredible soundtrack and a wonderful dose of gameplay variety to help keep everything from becoming monotonous, Ys Origin is still and will forever remain a solid action RPG well worth your time no matter the platform it winds up on.
Oh, and Epona is still the best character in the series.