The new Wolfenstein didn’t click with me at all, so I figured I’d try the new Y’s game. I haven’t played anything in the series since the PSP days (and wasn’t crazy about it then), but the reviews are good, so why not?
I’m absolutely blown away at how much flat out fun this game is. It puts you in the shoes of Adol Cristin (of course), starting out as a sailor on a cruise ship. The ship gets attacked by a huge sea creature, you wash ashore in a deserted island, and spend the rest of the game exploring the island and searching for survivors. As you find people, they are added to your base camp, which gets more and more developed as the game progresses. You start out with nothing but a campfire, but soon add a trading post, a medic, a blacksmith, and all sorts of other shops and amenities.
The game plays like a perfect mix of Xenoblade’s exploration (without the obtuseness), Tales series action combat (but far easier to understand), and Dark Cloud 2’s crafting and development. The combat is absolutely brilliant, combing basic attack’s and special moves that are leveled up the more you use them. Each of the three party characters has an attribute, as do enemies. There’s a rock, paper, scissors dynamic with attacks, and you can switch between party members at any time to match up the right skills. There’s a fluidity and pace to the combat that is perfect, and it’s an easy to learn, tough to master system that is just plain fun.
Since it’s a deserted island, you don’t use gold to buy weapons. Instead, you gather resources and trade them to the blacksmith for upgraded gear. Basic mats can be exchanged for higher level ones at the trading post, and the advancement loop of gear and crafting has been perfectly balanced so far.
In addition to having a huge map to explore (10.5 hours in and I’ve only explored 26%), you can upgrade your town structures, go fishing, defend against beast raids, take on side missions, do nighttime exploration (which is crazy tough), and a whole host of other activities. There’s always a ton of things to do, and you always feel like you’re progressing. The story is nothing to write home about and the voice acting is so-so, but the cast of characters has a ton of charm. I found myself really looking forward to finding the next castaway, just so I could see their personality.
The graphics are serviceable, with stiff character models in cutscenes, but a fantastic looking world and extremely fluid combat animations. The music deserves a special mention, as it’s outstanding.
My only real gripe is that finding you ur way around can sometimes be really difficult. It took me about 6 hours before I figure out how the map system works, and even then, it can be tough figuring out where to go. The game also starts really slow (the whole first hour on the ship is lame),so make sure you have a little patience at the start.
I’m kind of amazed at how much I’m enjoying this one. Maybe it’ll get too hard or frustrating further in, but it’s been an absolute blast through the first 10 hours. Probably my 2nd favorite game of the year, only behind Horizon. Funky name aside, I highly recommend JRPG and action RPG fans give it a look