Ys Origin

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Ys Origin Game Poster Image
Fun remastered role-playing game keeps old tech issues.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Story is about finding, rescuing Goddesses trapped in a tower, which is positive, though some might not like "damsel in distress" storyline. Also lots of combat limits positive impact of fighting evil.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play one of two characters who use might, magic to destroy enemies on your way to rescuing Goddesses held hostage in Devil's Tower. Your overall goal is to banish evil from land, but you use violence to do it. Not much learned about characters, but they seem brave, noble.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn, but some depth to the tactics needed to win.

Violence

Not overly graphic, realistic-looking, but lots of violence as you roam large worlds, fight enemies using weapons, magic, inch your way to towers. Blood can be seen on fallen enemies (and in some cut scenes). Shouts of pain heard. Camera angles, visuals limit impact of violence.

Sex

Some instances of female midriff exposure.

Language

Mild, frequent profanity includes "hell," "damn," "crap."

Consumerism

This is a remake of a 2006 game; serves as a prequel for half dozen other games in series.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ys Origin is a downloadable remastered version of the original fantasy role-playing game. The third-person single-player game has frequent violence and scenes with blood, but it's not overly graphic, in part because of the dated graphics and faraway camera angles. The game has some mild profanity including words such as "hell," "damn," and "crap." It also serves as the prequel to the long-running franchise, so some gamers may find themselves interested in the other titles in the series after playing.

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What's it about?

YS ORIGIN is a remastered Japanese action role-playing game that debuted in 2006. This third-person game is a prequel to the series, taking place 700 years before the events of the franchise's first Ys game that came out in 1987. Instead of the usual protagonist, Adol Christin, this time around you'll take control over one of two young and brave fighters -- Yunica, a steel-wielding warrior, and Hugo, a cunning spell-casting sorcerer -- who venture out to rescue Goddesses trapped in Devil's Tower. The goal of the game: Save the twin Goddesses and save the world from a demonic threat. Throughout this single-player adventure, you'll roam across indoor and outdoor locales, engage in battles against enemies, and unravel more about what threatens the world.

Is it any good?

This remastered role-playing game provides a fun, engaging experience, so long as you're willing to accept tech issues that are 11 years old. Aside from the combat sequences and especially the boss battles, this remastered game offers some good replay value. Each character has a unique skill, personality, and side to the story, and there's a third playable character you can unlock to play the adventure again with another weapon specialty. There also are some extra modes of play, such as a timed Boss Rush mode for an extra challenge and an Arena mode, where you'll face off against larger groups of enemies to test (and sharpen) your skills.

Visually, don't expect anything special here (hey, it's an 11-year-old game) and there are some somewhat long load screens and dialogue sequences you'll need to sit through -- but the combat is fun and frantic, and your goal is clearly defined and motivating as you learn more about your situation. But you do need to like these kinds of action JRPGs, as this won't likely win over those who want something meatier, more realistic, or with multiplayer support. Overall, though, it's a solid B+ port that's worth the investment to fans of the genre or newcomers looking for a long, deep franchise to explore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Since fighting is a major part of the gameplay, should parents be concerned about the constant combat your characters engage in? Is the fighting not that big of a deal because you're attacking monsters and the visuals aren't realistic at all?

  • Talk about nostalgia. Should DotEmu or other developers continue to bring classic video games back from the dead and enable them to be played on newer platforms? Is this a great way to preserve these works, so a new generation can play or longtime fans can experience it all over again on modern hardware? Or should publishers focus solely on creating new games instead of regurgitating older ones?

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