Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim Updated Impressions

After a long hiatus, Adol is returning to North America with a vengeance in Ys VI.

The Ys series got its start all the way back on the TurboGrafx-16, and aside from being a great game, it was also notable for being among the first RPGs to take advantage of the then-new CD format to deliver striking music, speech, and other impressive feats. Though the last couple of games haven't made their way out of Japan, Konami is teaming up with Falcom to bring Ys VI to the PlayStation 2 and PSP next year.

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Ys VI was originally released on the PC in Japan earlier this year. The impending releases for the PlayStation 2 and PSP will feature new areas and updated graphics when compared to the PC version, but the story and setting will remain largely unchanged. In this action role-playing game you'll play as Adol Christian, the redheaded hero of the series. Much of Ys VI's gameplay will revolve around three swords. The water sword will allow for timing-based combos. The fire sword can't be used for combo attacks, but it's more powerful. The third sword is a lightning sword, though details on its use weren't revealed during Konami's presentation on the game. The swords will gain experience points as you use them, giving you access to more powerful attacks, combos, and magic effects. Adol will also level up as you fight. Since this is an action RPG, the game will focus on real-time fighting as you work your way from place to place, and the boss battles are pattern-based affairs that force you to figure out how to beat each enemy's various attacks. The elemental nature of the swords will also come into play, so you'll have to be sure to pick the right sword for each occasion.

Graphically, Ys VI really stands out by having detailed backgrounds. When you're in towns, you'll notice a lot of intricate work both in and out of buildings. The player model and the monsters are fairly modest by today's standards, helping to give the game a classic look that mirrors some of the older games in the series. Going a little further on the throwback feel, much of the music and some of the sound effects in the game will either be taken directly from the older games or will be based on some of the sound found in previous games in the Ys series.

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Though the speech wasn't in the version presented by Konami at its annual late-summer showcase, each character that you speak to will reply with full speech. Adol, however, will not speak in the game. Overall, Ys VI looks like it's attempting to straddle the line between modern role-playing games and the classic action RPGs of the late '80s and early '90s. We'll know just how successful Konami and Falcom have been when the game is released for the PlayStation 2 and PSP next year.

Written By

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

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