A-Z Challenge – Ys II

Ys is a series that I absolutely love.  Its something about the fast-paced, fun (and difficult) action RPGs that keep me coming back for more… even when the formula’s been changed up.  The series has indeed had some changes that, while minor seeming, mix up how the games are played, the most recent of the addition of party members.  With the series evolving over time, is it still fun to play earlier entries in the Ys series?

Ys II is a direct sequel of Ys I, and you have to play the first one to understand why on earth you’re on a floating island, and other plot points.  Therefore, I won’t go into the story here, but it’s overall a good plot for a game of its time.  On the prequel, Ys I is a short adventure, but it hasn’t aged too well… while the first and second have the same general mechanics, II adds magic and other things to spice the game up a bit, making it the better game by far.  Still, it’s worth the six hours or so to get to the second game.

Fighting is a simple procedure:  Ram into the enemy until one of you falls.  There’s no attack button… you literally run into the enemy to do damage.  There is a trick, though; you have to hit the enemy not dead center, but a bit to the side, to avoid taking damage yourself.  It’s simple, and once you get used to it, it’s a joy to seemingly run recklessly into enemies and watching them fall under your blade.  However, if simply attacking at a break-neck fast pace isn’t enough, there are also magic spells to collect and use that add a bit of fun.  Just don’t accidentally set the townspeople on fire.

Ys II is a bit longer than the first game, and also much more difficult.  The addition of the magic spells make it so you can have actual strategies while fighting, instead of having to grind to just the right level or find the next equipment upgrade.  The game has no qualms about beating the crap out of you within seconds, but it’s what can make the game the most fun, as you can always expect a challenge.  Despite the changes over the years, at least this Ys game is still worth a try.

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