Ys Series Review Part 7: Ys Seven
Welcome to the seventh and currently final part of the Ys Series Review. In this part, we will be talking about the seventh game in the Adol story and the eighth overall, a game known as Ys Seven. Yes, the title is literally "Seven" spelled out. Seven has the greatest departure in gameplay yet and has perhaps had the greatest impact of all of the recent Ys games. That departure is what we will be looking at today. Some spoilers lie ahead so proceed at your own risk.
Ys Seven was released on the PlayStation Portable in Japan in September of 2009, followed by a North American and European release in 2010. The only thing about the European release is that it is exclusive to the PlayStation Store. Outside of a Chinese PC release in 2012, this game has remained a PSP exclusive, though it is playable on the Vita and PlayStation TV.
The world of Ys Seven is bigger than the world of any Ys game that was made up to that point and has only been surpassed by the likes of Memories of Celceta and Ys VIII. Speaking of Memories of Celceta, if you saw my article discussing that game you may have noticed that I did not really go into detail about the gameplay of that game. That is because the gameplay in that game is based on what is seen in Ys Seven. What is so special about Ys Seven’s gameplay, you might ask? The game revolves around a party system where you get to play as different characters with different weapons and attack types to get through the game. This is a stark difference in comparison to all of the Ys games that came before where you only play as Adol through the entire game. The only exception is Origin where there are three characters, but that was still a solo adventure.
Now the gameplay of Ys Seven might seem different at first glance, but the different attack types are nothing that has not been seen before in the likes of Oath in Felghana and Ark of Napishtim. The only significant difference between this and using bracelets and different swords respectively is that you have a different character model to go with it. Most of the characters are memorable and enjoyable, and a few familiar faces from past games return such as Geis and arguably the second main character of the Ys Series, Dogi, who is finally playable after so many years.
The plot of Ys Seven may be the longest seen up to the point when it was released. It is set about six months after the events of The Ark of Napishtim and starts as Adol and Dogi are on a ship heading to the country of Altago, a country they were unable to reach earlier thanks to a war with the Romuns that was mentioned in Ark of Napishtim and some newer games like Memories of Celceta. Thanks to a recent ceasefire, it is now possible to travel between the two countries though some of the people are still tense from the conflict.
Shortly after landing in Altago, Adol and Dogi have a run-in with one of Altago’s Dragon Knight commanders who is causing trouble for one of the local girls, and this commander has Adol and Dogi imprisoned as suspected Romun spies. They are bailed out by the king of Altago, who happens to be a friend of Ladoc, and he sends them to travel throughout the land and investigate the recent increase in monsters and disasters such as earthquakes. So, they travel around Altago where they meet members of the five tribes of Altago, each of whom is watched over by a powerful dragon.
Adol is chosen as the dragon warrior who must receive the power of all five dragons so he can prevent a ritual that will destroy all of Altago. He is assisted by members of the elder families off all five tribes with one of the main characters being the princess of Altago.
Finding the sanctuaries where four of the dragons are is easy since four of the tribes still exist, but the one for the Moon Tribe is more of a challenge since their elder line disappeared long ago along with knowledge of the sanctuary. They eventually do, however, and learn that this ritual has happened many times throughout the ages with countless dragon warriors who had failed. Since this is Adol’s game, there is no way he can fail and he does succeed in stopping the ritual and destroying the source, ending it for all time. Altago has to be rebuilt after the recent disasters and Adol and Dogi stay for a bit to help out, but they eventually continue on their adventures. There are many more plot points and twists, but those are best saved for when you play the game.
Ys Seven has had a pretty big impact on the Ys series, which is interesting given that Falcom was not sure how well the party system would be received and they had a second version of the game planned in case the reception was negative, though that version was not needed as it proved to be a popular system that likely will not be going anywhere in the near future. The popularity of the party system in Ys Seven is apparent since it has been featured in both of the Ys games that have been made since the release of Seven in 2009. That includes the reimagining of the fourth game, Memories of Celceta, and the recently released Ys VIII. Both have taken the gameplay of Seven and greatly improved and refined it. While some have not been thrilled with the party system since they prefer Adol working on his own, many others including myself like the party system and the extra dynamic it adds, not to mention all of the unique characters these games have that might not have been possible before. Even with the different characters to play as, it is always clear that Adol is the central character in all of these games and that likely will not change anytime soon, if ever.
However, there is one thing this game did from a plot perspective that I thought was rather strange. When Adol and Dogi sail into Altago Dogi mentions Adol’s bad luck with ships and seems to turn that into something of a running joke. Let’s look at how many times Adol was shipwrecked in the series, shall we?
How Game begins
Ys I & II
The Oath in Felghana
Memories of Celceta
Ark of Napishtim
Ys VIII (Might as well include this here)
So out of all seven of Adol’s main adventures he gets involved in a shipwreck three times, a little under half of the time. And one of the games where he was shipwrecked didn’t even exist at the time! I guess that could work as a running gag, but he still arrives safely most of the time. It is still strange though to make a running gag out of something that has only happened a couple of times. That is all I have to say on Ys Seven. My final verdict for this excellent game is:
If you ever get the chance I highly recommend playing this game. There are only a few options available to play this game since it is recent enough. As mentioned earlier, it was released digitally on the PSP so it is also playable on the Vita and PS TV if you happen to have any of those. There is a PC version available, but it is only available in China. I hope you enjoyed this look at all of the games in the incredible Ys series. This is all there is for now, but I will be looking at the eighth game after it is released worldwide. See you then.