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Experience with Ys: Memories of Celceta (PS Vita):
- Completed the game in 31 hours
- Uncovered the entire map, and collected all harvest nodes and chests
I love my PS Vita, I really do. I’ve never spent so much time with a handheld device during my gaming career. Despite the game library being relatively short on triple A titles, the few that it does have are extremely well-crafted games. Ys: Memories of Celceta is no exception.
Celceta was my first trip into the Ys universe. I read the positive reviews, watched a few videos and, being an RPG fan, knew it was something I had to play. Thirty-one hours later, I’m glad I did. Not only is it a solid RPG that outshines many big budget RPG titles on the market, but it’s also fun from start to finish and crafted perfectly for mobile gaming. Whether you play the game in short bursts or epic marathons, you get the sense that you’re progressing through the game at a steady pace. Rarely does it feel like a grind (unless you’re trophy hunting) or leave you hanging to figure out what you’re supposed to do next.
The story, PS2-era graphics and surprisingly awesome soundtrack all play heavy roles in the game’s charm. Think standard 26 episode anime series coupled with uplifting keyboard-heavy, guitar battle music – it’s a JRPG to the bitter core. Skip through the playlist below.
The game isn’t as dialogue heavy as some RPGs can be, but the story line is intriguing. It has enough twists, turns and typical oddball Japanese literary devices to keep you interested until the dust settles after the final boss fight. For those who don’t like to read or listen, you will be happy to know everything is skippable.
Quite possibly the most important aspect of the entire game, since you basically spend most of the game doing it, is the combat. It’s fast, engaging and feels perfect on the Vita. You actually spend a lot of time mashing one button, but there’s a wide variety of skills to unlock for each character, which helps open up enough variation to keep the action fresh. You can also switch to other members of your party, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
My favourite aspect of the game is the exploration. As you move around the world, you uncover pieces of the map as if you were a cartographer yourself. As you run around, you find harvest nodes, chests and points of interest that are usually a setting for the main story or a side quest later on. The game has a decent fast travel system in place as well, which saves a lot of time when completing various tasks in the world.
My only gripe with the game is a few of the trophies. If you’re a completionist like me, Celceta has a few that are very grindy and/or frustrating. For example, in order to get all the trophies for the platinum trophy, one of them requires you to find every harvest node in the game. By the end of the game, you’ve uncovered 100 per cent of the map, but nodes only appear on the map if you’ve passed by them at a relatively close distance. I must have ran past several of them during my adventure because the trophy had me sprinting to every corner of the map, while referencing screenshots of a completed map online, for three hours. I’m surprised I even did it, honestly. After all that, the game requires a second play through to get the final trophies, so needless to say, I gave up on the platinum. There’s a New Game Plus mode where everything carries over, but it only increases the difficulty of the boss fights and not the monster rabble populating the fields. Ripping through level one monsters as a max level character (60) losses its appeal faster than a one-hit kill.
With all that said, it should be no surprise as to where I sit with Ys. If you own a Vita and looking for an action RPG to play, Ys: Memories of Celceta will fill that void to a “T”. Games like Dragon’s Crown, Soul Sacrifice and Ragnarok Odyssey all failed where Celceta did not. I think that point alone truly speaks to the game’s simplicity and genius.
What I liked:
- Great pacing between action and story
- The combat stays fresh right to the end
- Amazing uplifting soundtrack
- Fantastic mobile game to have in your pocket
What I didn’t like:
- Trophies are a grind for completionists
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No Time 4 Reading (NT4R) Game Reviews is an attempt at writing short, concise reviews without going into insane detail. There’s no sense in competing with gaming sites where full-time staff have the luxury of fully-realizing their review, and, as a writer who plays copious amounts of video games, I enjoy contributing my two gaming cents without spending hours pulling together a work of art that nobody reads.