The PlayStation Vita was a brilliant little machine with a fantastic library of games. Ys: Memories of Celceta was one of them, but now you don’t need Sony’s obsolete handheld to play it.
Now available on PS4, Ys: Memories of Celceta is a blast from the recent past. Like all other Ys titles, it features a red-haired adventurer called Adol Christin, and in Memories of Celceta he’s suffering from amnesia. He’s not going to let the loss of his memory hold him back though; tasked with mapping the land of Celceta, he heads out on another adventure, hoping to recover his memories and earn some gold in the process. Though of course, more important events will happen on his travels.
Ys: Memories of Celceta‘s story as cliched as they come – there’s not an original bone in its body. You explore, find new settlements, discover you’ve done something terrible there on a previous visit, and then vow to clear everything up. Along the way, you slowly recover your memories, and a greater story unfolds. It’s predictable stuff, but still, you’re likely to be drawn in as you make your way through the labyrinthine forests of Celceta.
“With little done to bring it up to date on PS4, it’s now showing its age”
Upon its release on Vita, Ys: Memories of Celceta was a pretty good-looking game. Its visuals are bright and colourful, and there’s a decent amount of variety in the areas you visit. With little done to bring it up to date on PS4, however, it’s now showing its age. Character models are blocky, animations are lacking, and there’s quite a lot of aliasing. Throw in plenty of low-res textures and you have a game that’s never a full eyesore, but also not impressive in the slightest. The silver lining is that performance is great.
Thankfully Ys: Memories of Celceta‘s gameplay hasn’t aged quite so badly. You start out with just Adol and his shady friend Duren under your control, but eventually gain the assistance of other helpful folks. While you can only control of one of them at any one point in time, you switch between them easily with the press of a button. And you’ll need to, because each character is strong against certain types of enemies.
“Ys: Memories of Celceta‘s combat is just as enjoyable now as it was all those years ago”
Adol’s sword, for example, works great on enemies with soft bodies, but isn’t effective against enemies with shells; Duren’s pounding fists are best used on those. There are essentially three types of attacks – slash, strike and pierce – and only by switching characters to exploit enemy weaknesses will you be truly effective in combat.
There is more to Ys: Memories of Celceta‘s combat than that though. Each character picks up numerous skills throughout the adventure which can be mapped to buttons, and to enable their use you need to fill up a meter by performing charged attacks. Using skills also fills another meter, and when that’s full you can perform an ultra-powerful extra skill. While battles are offensive-focused, you do have some defensive options, too.
You can quickly evade, for example; a perfectly-timed manoeuvre will slow down the enemy and grant you a brief moment of invulnerability. Alternatively, you can block incoming attacks, or attempt to perform a parry. A successful parry allows you to turn the tables on an opponent, with counter strikes becoming critical hits. It’s scrappy and frenzied, but Ys: Memories of Celceta‘s combat is still just as enjoyable as it was all those years ago.
“Ys: Memories of Celceta is a good game. This PS4 port just doesn’t do enough to make it stand out in the current market”
The truth is though, you haven’t needed a PlayStation Vita to play Ys: Memories of Celceta for a while now. It’s been available on PC for nearly two years, and it’s still the best way to play it even in light of this PS4 port. You can tidy up the graphics a bit more on PC and play it with a higher framerate. Recently, Japanese voices have been added too (they’re also included in the PS4 version). I can’t recall my companions sometimes running wildly in circles in the PC version either; something they have a habit of doing on PS4.
Ys: Memories of Celceta is a good game. This PS4 port just doesn’t do enough to make it stand out in the current market, however. If you’re new to the Ys series, you’re better off with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, which simply looks and plays better yet isn’t a great deal more expensive. Only ardent fans are likely to go wild about this basic port; at least until it goes on sale, anyway.