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Ys Origin Xbox One review: A classic JRPG, modernized

Ys Origin recently came to Xbox One. Here's why this 12 year old JRPG is more than worth your time.

Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) are a rather rare sight on the Xbox One these days, and based on what we know of the future, there aren't very many coming soon, either. Luckily, though, the critically-acclaimed Ys Origin has been ported to the console from PC. Xbox gamers who love JRPGs will be happy to know that, despite a rather average story, the fantastic gameplay, visuals, and score make the experience more than worth the price of admission.

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Story: Serviceable, if nothing else

Without a doubt, the least impressive aspect of Ys Origin is the narrative. Playing as either the axe-wielding knight Yunica Tovah or the battle-mage Hugo Fact, you have to attempt to find a pair of Goddesses that went missing after saving the lands of Ys (not sure how to pronounce that) by raising them high into the sky, away from a rising army of demons. If you are unable to find them, then the monsters will eventually build their way up to the airborne homes of your people and finish them off.

The plot and setting are interesting enough to keep you playing, but there's nothing really gripping about it that hooks you in. In addition, the characters don't end up being developed that much, and while they do have a lot of personality, I found myself wanting to know more about them by the time the credits rolled.

Gameplay: Fight your way, with either magic or metal

The combat systems are where Ys Origin truly shines. Each character in the game fights in different ways: Yunica is a close-quarters brawling character, while Hugo tends to prefer fighting with magic at range, Each character is equally viable, though, and each one also can unlock their own set of unique abilities as you progress through the game that alters the way they fight. This keeps the gameplay fresh throughout the campaign.

In addition to your skills, you can also find different types of armor and weapons that increase the strength of both attacks and defense, as well as other statistics. When you're not fighting, there's a healthy amount of puzzles in the game to solve, and also plenty of secrets that can be found if you keep an eye out. You can also adjust difficulty of the game to suit your skill level, which is great if you are more interested in either a more relaxed or hardcore experience.

Presentation: Gorgeous through-and-through

As it's a JRPG, Ys Origin is heavily inspired by Japanese anime. If that's your thing, then you will absolutely love this game's visuals. Despite the fact the game originally released in 2006, this style looks quite nice, especially when backed by the power of the Xbox One and a modern television set. Colors are vibrant and everything is full of detail.

Even better than the visuals, though, is the phenomenal score. Jam-packed with emotion and depth, it's easy to tell that the people who created the soundtrack for Ys Origin poured their full heart and soul into it.

Ys Origin Xbox One conclusion

Despite an average story, Ys Origin solidifies itself as an excellent classic thanks to the fantastic gameplay and superb visuals and music.

Pros:

  • Excellent gameplay.
  • Flawless presentation.

Cons:

  • Average story.

Ys Origin is available on Xbox One for $19.99.

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This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using a copy provided by the publisher.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

6 Comments
  • I played Ys on the Sega Master System. I think it is pronounced lime "wise".
  • Nope, pronounced like ease. Played many of the voiced variants over the last 30 years in english and japanese.
  • The turbo grafix 16 cd rom version with us voice acting is ease. Ys book I & II is in my top 10 best games all time I will be picking this up. Also dotemu also makes a recreated hand drawn (think cup head) version of wonderboy 3 or Dragons curse. The master system and the tg16 especially had lots a gems.
  • The turbo grafix 16 cd rom version with us voice acting is ease. Ys book I & II is in my top 10 best games all time I will be picking this up. Also dotemu also makes a recreated hand drawn (think cup head) version of wonderboy 3 or Dragons curse. The master system and the tg16 especially had lots a gems.
  • Dotemu is asking what they should work on next. Go vote gate of thunder.
  • I wish the game focused more on narrative than the battle system