Final Fantasy 7 is considered one of the greatest Japanese RPGs ever made. Ys Seven is just as incredible, but most people haven’t about the Ys series.
For a portable action adventure, Ys Seven packs in more intensity and high production values than anything that came before it.
There are too many great attributes crammed into this little piece of PSP software. The intricate details and colorful shadings of the characters look beautiful. The deep battle system consists of brutal bob-and-weave tactics and dicey bullet dodging sessions. Falcom's storytelling style reaches a new level with unexpected twists.
This title is amazing, so it deserves all the attention it could possibly get. The publisher, XSeed, promoted this game very well with plenty of word-of-mouth pitches at game conventions. They even squeezed in a short YouTube ad. Even this effort doesn't seem like enough for such a fantastic game. Many people still haven't heard of the Ys series and hardly anyone pronounces the name properly.
Sure, this game has an awkward name. It doesn't push the full-motion video capabilities to the limit. It doesn't have complete voice dialogue for every single character. However, the quality of the Ys Seven soundtrack surpasses nearly every portable game that came before it.
The theme song in the opening sequence literally speaks for itself. The loud electric guitars infuse this Secret of Mana-styled game with heavy metal qualities. The sweeping violin melody borrows the Celtic standards of older RPGs such as Chrono Cross. The result is a head-bobbing anime intro littered with main characters in badass, still-frame poses.
The story moves at a slow start. The dialogue and the opening tutorial literally take at least 15 minutes to finish. However, the controls are very responsive. It only took a few seconds for me to discover that this was a strategic button mash-fest.
Ys Seven may play in a similar fashion to Secret of Mana, but the action and the special attack system carries an immense amount of depth. The adventure borrows the skill-learning system from the Star Ocean series. It adds in the bob-and-weave fighting tactics from the 3D Zelda games. The item menu only functions as a quick healing break before dodging the next incoming attack.
This is an intense game with the hardcore tactics of a heated Kingdom Hearts battle. The boss fights pit the main character, Adol, against humongous titans. The action sometimes stretches on through multi-stage processes, in a tactical manner similar to the 3D Zelda adventures.
Only a few small things tend to bother players in the middle of a slash-fest. The maps are a bit hard to follow, because they don't lay out the diagrams for the upper levels of the dungeon. The power button is almost too easy to slide to the off position, especially during the hectic fights with Titano monsters and dragons.
These are only minor blunders to this marvelous piece of work. Ys Seven is one of the greatest Japanese RPGs to come out for the PSP. The soundtrack is a magnificent piece of work that truly shows off the best qualities of the new portable systems. This amazing PSP exclusive marries the edgy attitude of anime shows with the frantic movement of current-generation shooters.
Somebody will have to remember this game. Ys Seven deserves all the acclaim it has received in the last two years. Nihon Falcom, the developer of this gem, deserves a medal for updating many of the tried-and-true formulas of Japanese RPGs for the 21st century. They revived my hopes for a vibrant future in the genre.
Ys Seven is a masterpiece, but what other portable adventures deserve recognition? Feel free to let us know about some of your favorites in the comments below.