Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (PSP)

By Moe Rantala

Published on Saturday, April 29, 2006

Graphics: 7.00
Sound: 8.00
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 6.00
Gamelength: 4.00

Ys: The Ark of Napishtim is a remake of Ys VI: The Ark of Naphishtim for PS2. Does the portable version make for an enjoyable remake? Read on.

Initially, yes, it does. This remake is very well done for the PSP, although some content has been removed, such as the cheats, and an easy mode. Nevertheless, this remake is quite enjoyable.

The graphics are outstanding. The PSP has always been able to demonstrate a very high quality in its graphics, and this is no exception. It may not have the best graphics of all the PSP games out there, but they’re crisp, clean, and sharp. Nearly, if not all npc’s in the game have their own character portrait that appears when you talk to them. Each one is different, and facial expressions can change to match the mood of the character. The particle effects on some of the spells your weapons can do are excellently done, too, and aside from looking beautiful they’re also really effective. There is little to no slow down, even with many, many sprites on the screen at the same time. Albeit, most of the time they’re only enemies and not dozens of explosions, but each enemy moves fluidly with no lag between your movements and theirs. The game also does a most excellent job with the opening anime sequence, and any others found within the game. They’re all clean and crisp, and don’t lag or stutter whilst being displayed. In all, the graphics are great, not awesome if compared to other PSP titles, but they’re good.

The sound of Ys is also very well done. The music and sound effects blend perfectly, not only together but also with the environment in which you travel, the enemies, and the events of the game. The music score can really get into your head at times, and really matches the ambience of wherever you are. If you’re in a very dark cave, for instance, the music should be foreboding  Luckily for us, it is. The sound effects are also magnificently done. They combine very well with the player’s movements/attacks/etc. and also with anything extra that happens in the game, such as when you improve one of your weapons. In all, the sound of Ys is great, and mixes perfectly with the graphics and the player.

Finally, comes the gameplay. This is where the game truly shines, but also falls. The content of the game itself is spectacular. The story gets you going, the characters are memorable, and in all it’s just a really great game. You can have three different weapons, each one with its own strengths and weaknesses. Each weapon can be upgraded to a more powerful version of itself, and each upgrade provides you with some new skill or magic spell, or and upgrade of said skill/spell. The strength of the sword also increases with each upgrade. At times, the bosses can be extremely difficult, even on normal mode, but they’re bosses for a reason and it’s nice to see a game where you actually have to have a different strategy for each boss. The only true problem of the game comes from the loading times. The loading times are constant, although not nearly as bad as Midnight Club 3:DUB Edition. However, aside from the loading times and removal of the cheats (which are PS2 exclusive) this game is a great, great RPG. There’s even a movie/event viewer, character/enemy journal, and a musicbox, which lets you listen to any music in the game that you’ve heard so far.

In all, Ys: The Ark of Napishtim is a great RPG for the PSP. It may not be the best, but it certainly has great moments to it. It’s a little short, compared to other RPGs, but the storyline is worth it, and you can always try your hand at the Nightmare difficulty level.

Overall Rating: 7.00

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