One of many in the Ys game series that never saw the light of day on American shores. An it's quite good!

User Rating: 7 | Ys IV: Mask of the Sun - A New Theory PS2
I have been a huge fan of the Ys series since my first exposure to Ys III on my SNES, than that was it until Ys Seven on the PSP nearly 20 years later... With the Ys series can just pick up nearly any game and its basic action / adventure all around except for a few installments where the battle physics are weird (bump system). So I thought, "Hey, how hard could it be to play the Ys games without any English involved" an so I set out to purchase Ys IV, V, and the remake of Ys III all on the PS2 all from the Japanese market.
How was my overall experience!?!?! Read on!

Gameplay: 7/10
You walk, you swing your sword, the enemies fall. Simple action RPG elements. But! This is a big diversion from the original Ys IV (Dawn of Ys) where it used the "bump" system where you rammed body first into baddies to kill them. I say, if he has an F'N sword, use the damn thing! So I'll go into detail now. Adol attacks using the Square, Circle and X buttons and can pull off a sweet combo if pressed in the correct sequence, if done right you'll get a li'l magical blast at the end that normally hits nothing. This is a fun way to deal major damage at the start and is quite fun when u get the hang of it. But by the end you'll only be mashing the "X" button because its the mid-damage attack and it pushes enemies back as well Square does little damage and no push back, and Circle is powerful but slow. That's all that can be said for attacks. Adol levels up and acquires gold super fast so there is almost no time dedicated to level grinding if not necessary. I level grinded cause I like to see bosses take 1 damage! Super Adol to the rescue!
Next is magic. This was handled very poorly.
Instead of say fireballs, or ice-shards as an attack. when you hold the Triangle button it charges up your elemental sword with magic, when released a crystal appears. Depending on which sword attack you perform it will either propel it forward, mash it into the ground or create a barrier which aids Adol in a multitude of ways like healing, increase strength, ect. When charging you're vulnerable and many of the enemies love to swarm on you like flies to fetid meats. An that leads to the most frustrating parts, enemies...
Enemies are CHEAP! For the most part the enemies will just stand there as you clobber them over and over again. Than there is those baddies which will either sneak attack you from afar (the mages) than run away or chase you down and swarm all over causing possible insta-death (those damn floating ball things). These two types of enemies cause more frustration than any of the bosses combined. An if you need to know, the bosses were lame.
An that's about that for gameplay. Onto...

Story: ??/??
Its in Japanese... no clue what's actually going on. All I know is Adol is the man! He finds a message in a bottle and takes up arms to help whoever is in need. Its the same in every game. Lets roll!

Music: 9/10
I'll start off by saying that the Ys series offers some of the best soundtrack work I've ever had the pleasure of listening to, and Ys IV is no exception. At first the songs sound a li'l drab, but after awhile they'll drag u in with adrenaline based synth rock-ish tracks than really move the game along. I found myself humming the tunes even after playing. So naturally I set out to find the soundtrack. Non exist. It was never released on CD. So I did the next best thing... found a game rip of it and placed it on my iPod. Worth checking out if you can find it!

Graphics: 3/10
Oh goodness... from the bland and uninspired dungeons that lead to much confusion when traversing to the constant repainting and rehashing of enemies, this game offers zero in the eye candy department. Dungeons are the worst though, with all having terrible layouts with un-accessible areas that look like exits / entrances which will lead to enemies swarming all over you if you're not careful! An guess what!?!? Every section looks identical to the last! An the other dungeons are just multiple boxed shaped rooms that as well all look the same. You'll be confused quite often, I was! This was a shame and it really hurt the overall playing atmosphere. If you cant figure out where you're going or if you've been there, than this game is almost unplayable by the less dedicated. Now some positives, the towns look nice most sprites were animated and colored well. The anime figures depicting the sprites were also well drawn and the opening movie... can't remember it. Adol's sprite flows well with the action with little to no slowdowns even with multiple enemies on screen. That's always nice.
Overall, where is the love Falcom!?!?

Replayability: 6/10
I cant give this such a low score because I didn't expect to go treasure hunting seeing as I don't read any Japanese. So in the end I begrudgingly finished the game holding a bag of seeds and a bottled message that I had no clue WTF to do with... and an overall feeling of incompleteness. An the only available walkthrough was written by another non-Japanese reading fan that was so half-assed I failed to see why anyone would follow it. Sorry, but its true. This game also only offers one puzzle to solve at the end of the game throughout the whole game. For us English reading types I couldn't be happier! But without puzzles it had no challenge. I plan on writing a FAQ soon on this game because I plan on replaying it after I finish the other two.
Unfinished my ass! Not this guy!

So to sum up I'll give this game an even 7. It had alot to offer and only came up short because I am not native to Japan nor have time to learn its fine language to play such games and the graphics were garbage. Remake this game Falcom and if I may request for u to use the Oath in Felghana (Ys III remake) engine as its fast paced and completely action oriented feel would really help sell the game here in the state. An I'd be the first on line to buy it!