Last week, we reviewed a Steam game called Gurumin: a Monstrous Adventure from Nihon Falcom, creators of the action-RPG series Ys. Although Ys is a long-running and beloved series among old-school gamers, many Xbox players are unlikely to be familiar with it. Newer entries have largely appeared on PlayStation consoles and portables. Luckily, four Ys games are available on Windows PCs via Steam.
Windows gamers now have another Ys to look forward to, as XSEED Games has announced that Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim will be coming to Steam and GOG.com. We don't have long to wait either. The Ark of Napishtim will launch on April 28th. With several graphical enhancements and an all-new translation, this is one game that fans of classic action-RPGs won't want to miss.
Read on for our full preview with trailer, screenshots, and concept art!
A quick history of Ys on English consoles
The very first Ys game debuted on Japanese PCs way back in 1987. In America, it was released on the Sega Master System and eventually the Turbografx CD (bundled with Ys II). Nintendo DS and PSP ports would follow.
The first game introduced the series' primary protagonist, a red-haired adventurer named Adol Cristin. His initial quest was to discovered what happened to the ancient land of Ys, a place of powerful sorcery and immortal goddesses. In the second game, Adol reaches Ys and attempts to restore the goddesses to power. The best version of these two titles is Ys I & II Chronicles+ on Steam.
After the release of Ys III on Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Turbografx CD, the Ys series would not see another English release until Ys: The Ark of Napishtim arrived on PlayStation 2 and PSP in 2007. Napishtim became the first 3D game in the series, a trend followed by all subsequent releases. I very much enjoyed playing it between classes back in college!
Other games followed, including Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys 7 on PSP, and Ys: Memories in Celceta on PlayStation Vita. Plus several Steam releases, including the upcoming enhanced version of Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim.
The Ark of Napishtim
In this Ys adventure, Adol finds himself traveling on a ship when it suffers an attack from an aggressive military fleet. Our hero's ship turns towards unknown waters. A large storm catches the ship, throwing Adol overboard. He awakens on an island surrounded by the mysterious Canaan Vortex.
Because of the Vortex, few visitors from the outside world have ever reached the island. An elven race called the Rehda rescue Adol, although they distrust him. Another group of humans have colonized the opposite side of the island, where they scavenge and destroy the local ruins.
Soon a third faction enters the fray when the Romun army that attacked Adol's ship reaches the island. They seek the legendary Ark of Napishtim, which has the power to control the weather. Our hero will have to stop their plots and restore peace to the island before he can escape!
Ys VI is an action RPG in which Adol runs through forests, ruins, and other environments. He can slash with swords, jump, and use magic bestowed by the artifacts he finds. Jumping and dashing come in handy, as many chests with important items require platforming to reach.
Adol will explore intricate dungeons and fight massive polygonal boss monsters. The environments are also 3D, whereas the hero and non-boss characters are rendered sprites. Much like Gurumin, the soundtrack is fantastic (which you can hear in the announcement trailer included in this article).
New, improved, and coming soon
Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim originally debuted several years ago, so it's not the most impressive looking game you'll see. But American publisher XSEED has made several improvements to the original Japanese PC version that improve the experience for modern Windows gamers:
- Brand new translation
- Support for high graphic resolutions (presumably 1080p)
- True widescreen support
- Full controller support
- New warp points that reduce the need for backtracking (yes!)
- New Catastrophe difficulty level: Healing items can't be purchased or stored, so be careful!
- Unconfirmed, but likely: Steam Cloud support and Achievements
The Ark of Napishtim has extremely low recommended specs – it can run with only 1 GB of RAM but works best with 2 GB, and requires 2GB of storage space. Practically any Windows 8 tablet or PC should be able to run it.
We'll test Ys VI with the original Surface Pro when it launches on Tuesday, April 28. The game will cost $19.99/£13.99, but during launch week you'll be able to get it for 15 percent off.
In the meantime, you can catch up on the Ys series with the following Steam games:
- Ys I & II Chronicles – Windows – $14.99 – Steam Link
- Ys: The Oath in Felghana (Ys III) – Windows – $14.99 – Steam Link
- Ys Origin (series prequel) – Windows – $19.99 – Steam Link