Ys I Chronicles Plus

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I never played Ys when it was first released on the Master System in 1987. Hell, I didn’t hear about it until it was re-released on Steam as Ys I & II Chronicles Plus. I pretty much instantly threw it on my wishlist (surprising because I’m not the biggest JRPG fan) but didn’t actually pick it up until a friend tried it out. He wove an ¬†interesting tale about a unique combat mechanic, a system whereby you just walk into things and automatically trade attacks. You can, however, go at an angle or slightly off center and not take damage and that’s where the skill and timing come in. It was an interesting enough premise that I picked it up on the next Steam sale and promptly threw it into my backlog never to be seen again.

Then the #backlog_slog challenge came along. I started going through my Steam backlog from #-Z and didn’t even get to A before I reversed the sort order for no apparent reason and found Ys I Chronicles Plus staring me in the face. Alright, I said, let’s give this little RPG a go and see how it treats us. Yes, I talk about myself in the third person, but only to myself so it’s not weird or anything.

In 1987 the beginning of Ys may have been more unique, I really can’t say. Now days it’s one of the most cliche Japanese RPG openings around. You awaken in a bed with a motherly figure looking over you. That bed is located in a small, peaceful village that happens to be surrounded by horrible nightmare monsters and guess whose going to solve that?

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this guy, that’s who.

That said, I actually felt lost and frustrated in Ys at first. I went all over that starting town and talked to everyone I could find. I never found any armor or weapons or anyone asking me to leave the village. Finally I decided to brave the wild wilderness with nothing but my pants and my fists. My first attempt was to kill everything on the way and see if I got any loot but that just led to many retreats back to the village to lick my wounds. So of course I just ran past the enemies and finally made my way to the first major city to buy myself a sword. Finally, the slaughter I left in my wake would be filled with less of my blood and giblets.

Once I got into the swing of things though I really enjoyed the game. With the barest hint of a story that also means you aren’t stuck talking to hundreds of NPCs, Ys is a hack and slash action RPG at its finest. It doesn’t have the longevity that Diablo’s random equipment drops gives, but Ys doesn’t demand the same amount of dedication. I played through the entire game in 6 hours and I enjoyed almost every moment of it.

If I had one complaint though it would be that the final area, the Darm Tower, felt like a total slog. At first I wasn’t aware that each level had exactly two doors and that one went down and one went up. It took me longer than I’d care to admit to figure that out actually. The tower also had two different teleporting mazes that really drug on, and when I finally got to the top I had to go back down several floors to talk to an NPC who could only help me after I had gotten past him and done something else.

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This guy is the worst. That’s a Dark Fact.

OK, so there is another complaint I have with the game. The final boss is entirely bullshit. He flies around the map shooting fireballs at you and those fireballs then stop where you were and explode into a bunch of tiny fireballs. On top of this, every time you hit the boss the floor underneath him disappears and you lose even more maneuverability. Ideally I’d like to consider my options and figure out when and where I should hit the boss so that I have enough floor to stand on up until the end, but if you try that you’ll die to the fireballs. You have to hit the boss pretty much anytime you can, and after fifteen tries I finally won. It felt random and like it had nothing to do with anything I’d learned throughout the game. Yay. Oh and his name is Dark Fact, so clearly they put a lot of thought into that…

 

3089 – The Futuristic Action RPG

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What even the hell? I have no idea when I bought 3089 but it must have been one of those $1 Steam sale games. I’m honestly surprised I picked it up at all since the graphics don’t really call to me and there isn’t anything in the Steam videos that would make it a must buy title. I played it for about an hour and then turned it off and went to breakfast with my wife.

Then I came back and I was looking at my Steam games list and feeling frustrated that the game just seemed so bad while the reviews were generally positive. So I did what I always do in cases like this, I hopped onto YouTube and found a couple video reviews and gameplay channels that covered 3089. What did I learn? The game has a lot to do but nothing is particularly deep. Still, these videos gave me an idea of how I should proceed so I decided to give 3089 one more hour in honor of the #backlog_slog challenge.

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Six hours later I had beaten the game and was planning my next play-through. So what happened? Honestly I’m still not sure. The general flow of the game is that you go to quest terminals, pick up a single quest that you then do and get another quest. You do this until you get enough credits to upgrade your gear and enough skill points to improve your character to go a bit farther out and do it over again.

The quests are very simplistic. Literally “Go Kill Suzy. Once Suzy is dead go talk to Bob.” There are several types of quests, from kill quests to escort quests to spying (just looking at enemies walking in a circle) on an enemy, disarming a bomb, etc. There isn’t any flavor text for any of this though so it feels very underwhelming and “procedurally generated” which, like the rest of the world, it is.

The combat isn’t much better at first with the accuracy being extremely poor while the enemies have near pinpoint accuracy. Eventually though I learned to play the way the game wanted me to and the combat really started to click. That’s, I think, where my opinion of the game really turned around and I started having fun. The time rip ability really turned the combat into something that I looked forward to doing, and the better weapons and higher skill points helped too.

Another thing that helped my enjoyment are a few of the items. I’m not talking about the weapons and armor but the hoverboard, grappling hook and teleport gun. The hoverboard will zoom you around the map if you aren’t carrying too much. The amount of weight it can hold depends on it’s level. That goes double for the grappling hook which is a really cool way to move vertically up mountains or buildings. The teleport gun shoots a ball and when you right click you teleport to it which is super helpful for getting away from enemies or getting up a tower without fighting and losing health.

I played through generally putting all of my points into being a soldier. High guns, high health, high agility. My next play-through I’m either going to go as more of a pet class (high prestige lets you recruit more robots to follow you) or a pilot (pilot skill lets you fly and the higher it is I assume you do more damage or the game spawns better ships. Not sure yet). Or maybe I’ll go Rogue (high stealth and melee skill).

The game isn’t great, I’d say for most people to just pass on it. That said, if you watch the videos and you enjoy a sandbox game then give it a shot because for the cost it really was a lot of fun. I will say that the game ended very abruptly and I wish they had done just a bit more. Or let you continue playing after the ‘story’ ended.


If you are interested in some good YouTube videos of the game check out the below: