The Ys series has been giving people an action-RPG line to enjoy since 1987. Usually, we’re following around Adol and learning more about his exploits as he attempts to save people in different areas from all sorts of unpleasant things. Getting into the series may prove daunting for those unfamiliar with it, what with there being so many different installments available. The fact that there are technically two Ys IIIs and two Ys IVs might even make things more confusing. For them, there’s the safety and security of Ys Origin. It’s a solid prequel that sets the stage for every other Ys game, ushering us into the series’ trademark lore and gameplay.
The Ys series are tied to a fantasy world where a mythical kingdom, known as Ys, once stood. This glorious kingdom was led by twin goddesses and a council of six priests. While it was a beautiful and respected country, it fell after the misuse of the Black Pearl artifact. While the events of games following entries in the series take place because of this fall, and some of the games even directly have you encountering people and places from it, it’s Ys Origin that really sets the stage for it all. Taking place 700 years before Ys I, we actually see firsthand what happened with the twin goddesses and six priests as we go through Darm Tower.
Even for people who have played games like Ys I and II, Ys Origin is enlightening. We learn firsthand how the twin goddesses, Feena and Reah, hoped to stem the flow of the Clan of Darkness’ monsters. We see exactly what happens when the Black Pearl is misused. While being told what happened was effective enough in a game like say, Ys II, being shown exactly what’s going on in Ys Origin and being able to appreciate and absorb various nuances from three different angles is far more valuable and important. By enjoying the three different perspectives of characters who each have varying viewpoints and opinions on the matter, we’re given the most accurate retelling of what led to every Ys game after.
Having three playable characters in the campaign really helps with Ys Origin too. Not only from a lore standpoint, since each one’s story offers a different take on the situation within the game, but because it helps welcome in people who might not be ready to play through the action-RPG like Adol. Yunica plays a lot like our familiar friend, what with her battle axe and sword. Magic isn’t her primary forte, though she can use elemental spells with her weapons after collecting artifacts.
Giving us the option of Hugo and The Claw lets people who might prefer different playstyles find something more suited to them. Hugo is the easiest to play as, since his magic lets you always attack from a distance and enjoy a safety buffer. The Claw forces you to get close to your enemies, meaning it’s more likely you would get hit and hurt, offering a degree of danger the others don’t. It helps prepare people for entries like Ys VII, where Adol isn’t the only option.
When it comes to Ys Origin, we’re being given a game that’s designed to easily usher people into other Ys titles. All of the lore is here, so when we go into the next installments, we’ll know who the Eldeen and Darm are, what the Black Pearl is, and everything that happened to Ys. The three playable characters help you get accustomed to the action-RPG gameplay, with each having their own quirks. It’s all about making you comfortable while introducing you to a great series and offering some fantastic fights.
Ys Origin is available on the PlayStation 4 and PC. It will come to the PlayStation Vita on May 30, 2017.