To this day, the PlayStation Vita holds exclusivity to a large number of quality JRPG titles that a lot of potential fans may have missed due to the handheld’s rather short lifespan. Thankfully, we’re seeing a lot of these games being given a second chance with updated releases on other platforms. Making its way to the PlayStation 4, Ys: Memories of Celceta gives console players a chance to try out what some consider, one of the Vita’s greatest hits. It shows its age in some places, but Memories of Celceta is a solid entry in the Ys series and a fun ride for players looking for a quick-paced action JRPG.
Ys: Memories of Celceta originally released on the PlayStation Vita in Japan in 2012 with Xseed Games bringing the game to the west in 2013. Xseed Games also brought a port of the Vita version of the game to PC in 2018. The PlayStation 4 version of Ys: Memories of Celceta features enhanced visuals and an improved framerate of 60 fps. While being an obvious step up from the PlayStation Vita, there is no hiding that this an older title designed for a smaller screen. I couldn’t help but laugh out during the game’s opening cutscenes, where the not-so-great looking character models were just gliding along the ground. Luckily, there was no moment quite as bad during actual gameplay. Ys: Memories of Celceta has limited voice acting, but dual audio is available for those interested in the game’s Japanese dub.
The story of Ys: Memories of Celceta is standard for a JRPG, especially within the Ys series. Once again, players follow series protagonist Adol Christin as he returns to the town of Casnan with a mysterious case of amnesia. Partnering up with a man named Duren, an information broker who met Adol before he lost his memories, the two are recruited by the local government to explore and draw a map of Celceta. While serviceable, Ys: Memories of Celceta’s story never takes center stage over the core gameplay. Players will meet an interesting cast of characters while regaining Adol’s lost memories. Ys: Memories of Celceta works as a standalone story, but long-time fans will be able to catch some nods to other games in the series.
Ys: Memories of Celceta’s gameplay should appeal to both RPG fans and anyone looking for a fast-paced action title. Starting with Adol, players can perform a regular attack combo, guard and dodge. It’s a simple control scheme, but the game offers enough options to keep players from getting bored with it. As their party grows, players can instantly swap between characters with a single button press. Although they all control the same, Ys: Memories of Celceta challenges players to use each character most effectively with enemies being resistant to some attack types while being weak to others. Although the AI will control the remaining characters, they won’t get much done on their own and players are given limited options in terms of dishing out orders so anyone hoping to take advantage of their party member’s weapon bonuses will have to take control for themselves. Adding further variety are the options to set four unique attack skills for each character. The more I got into it, Ys: Memories of Celceta felt more reliant on my own skill level rather than my characters, allowing me to practice and perfect things like air juggling combos and perfect flash step dodges which slow down enemy movement, giving you the chance deal major damage. Adding to the customization is the ability to craft and enhance weapons, adding elemental attributes that will take effect during normal attack chains.
Beyond fighting and reaching new areas in Celceta, Ys: Memories of Celceta doesn’t offer much. While in Casnan, players can accept side quests from a growing quest list for some extra money and other rewards. These don’t go out of their way to change up Memories of Celceta’s gameplay, but they can serve as nice diversion and are the only excuse I can think of to ever backtrack to previously explored areas in the game.
Existing Ys fans already know exactly what they’re getting with this game. It isn’t as expansive or visually appealing as Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, but the gameplay is more than similar enough that any fan of that entry should be able to get something out of this one. Despite it still feeling very much like a PlayStation Vita game, there was something almost therapeutic about being able to jump straight into an action-filled adventure, like the JRPGs of old. In that sense, Ys: Memories of Celceta makes for a good fit on any platform.