Ys: The Ark of Napishtim Review
I'm stationed in Japan and I bought the Japanese version of Ys yesterday and I'll give you my impressions of it.
The game is the same as the PS2 version that was released last year (here's IGN's review of the PS2 version).
Ys is an action game that is made by Nihon Falcom (the same Falcom who made Legend of Heroes). The gameplay is similar to Secret of Mana, Alundra and the early Zelda games (its an Action RPG). Ys is Falcom's biggest game franchises and one of the more popular RPG franchises in Japan. It (like Dragon Quest) has never been that popular in the states (which is why I never heard of it until Napishtim came out). Ark of Napishtim is the 6th game in the Ys series. I've played and beaten the PS2 version and that's why I decided to get the Japanese PSP version.
Onto the review
The red headed hero, Adol Christin (seen here) and his pal Dogi (seen here) are trying to escape from the Romun Army and they join up with some pirates. As they're escaping from the enemy fleet, they get to close to the Great Vortex (a violent ocean storm that never stops) and Adol washes up on a beach on Qutara Island (one of the three Canaan Islands). Adol is rescued by Isha and Ohla (two natives of the island) and is brought back to their village. Adol must find a way to escape from Qutara Island and return to Eurasia (the mainland).
The PS2 version of the game was redone with polygons (seen here) whereas the PSP version uses hand drawn sprites, which is what the PC version (the original) used. This is a screenshot of the PSP version
The game game looks sharp, especially on the PSP's screen. However, the characters and enemies do look a little bland (there's not much detail to them).
One thing the Ys games have been known for is their music, and Napishtim is no exception. The music in the game fits the game perfectly. The sound effects are good as well. Unlike the PS2 version (where every character had a voice), this is not in the PSP version (however, I wasn't expecting it to be), but its still a little disappointing.
This is a little iffy for me. Adol, your character, is controlled via the d-pad (I don't know if you can use the analog nub, I don't know enough Japanese). As we all know, the PSP's d-pad isn't the greatest, so it can be a little difficult controlling Adol. The buttons on the other hand, are quick and responsive. O is to swing your sword, and X is to jump. L & R switch between the three swords that Adol can poesses in the game.
The biggest complaint I have with the game is the amount of loading. Its loads all the time. Everytime you enter a new area, you see the loading screen. This gets annoying really quick.
Ys is a fun game. Its not a game that's your going to be involved in for a long time (its really short). I'd give the game about a 7 (the lack of detail on the characters and the loading are the biggest problems I have). I definltly recommend the game though.