While the PS2 was known for its lineup of amazing RPG’s, the PSP has yet to come into its own when it comes to the genre. With Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (who comes up with these names?), Konami was hoping to change that. Sadly, Ys’ lack of any depth has killed its chances at being that key RPG for Sony’s handheld, and frankly, wouldn’t make it on any other console. It’s a basic game that feels like something developed then shelved a decade ago, then resurrected because someone was hoping to make some money off their original investment.
Do you enjoy incredibly hard games? The kind that make you twist your PSP in a burning rage? Then maybe Ys is for you, but everyone else will find its old-school “make it hard as hades” gameplay as painful as stepping into a beartrap. The gameplay, is pretty basic, which is actually what makes it so hard – you wait for an area map to load (which happens so often, you’d swear this game was used as a patience test, not an actual game), come upon some bad guys, and start fighting. Problem is, some baddies may be a quick kill, while others may wipe you out before you’ve even realized the map has loaded. It’s frustration upon frustration as the bad guys get badder, and you aren’t leveling up fast enough to keep up. Speaking of leveling, it’s completely automated – you earn some points and viola – skills updated without any interaction on your part. Sure there’s plenty of magical stuff to pick up, and plenty of combos you can create, but it all feels like “been there, done that” after a few hours.
Ys’ graphics are passable, though the framerate often drops to unacceptable levels, making you feel as if your characters are walking through syrup. Some of the enemies seem inordinately small, and will have you reaching for your glasses at times. Other times, they look good, with an anime-inspired feel. The sound is passable, with a score that’s above average, and well, that’s all I can say about that.
What else is there to say about Ys The Ark of Napishtim? Not much, it’s a pretty basic slash and bash game with some ok graphics and decent sound. That’s about it, and frankly, it’s yet another PSP title that only the most ardent fans of old-school RPG’s could enjoy.
- Gameplay: 6
- Smash and bash, gain skills, bash some more
- Graphics: 7
- Nothing world class, but not an ugly game either
- Sound: 8
- Great score and good combat sounds
- Replay: 4
- Boring with a big “B”
- Overall: 5.9
- A tired port that received no real updates before being brought to the PSP. Pass.