Ys Origin (Xbox One) Review

By Gabriel Jones 23.04.2018

Review for Ys Origin on Xbox One

Centuries ago, the land of Ys was nearly wiped out by demons. As part of their undying pledge to protect everyone, the twin goddesses lifted Ys into the heavens, far away from the dangers below. However, the fiendish monsters were relentless in their pursuit, and constructed the massive Darm Tower, just so they could reach the floating island. As the battles raged on, the twin goddesses disappeared, possibly to seek a means of destroying the dread spire. A search and rescue operation was quickly organised. Among the search party were Yunica Tovah and Hugo Fact. Although young and inexperienced, their peerless bravery would become legend. In Ys Origin, experience the dramatic retelling of the first true heroes of Ys.

One of the toughest challenges of writing a review is trying to say what hasn't already been said. Ys Origin has been the subject of endless praise for well over a decade. Everybody knows that this game is a masterpiece, the standard by which all action RPGs should aspire to. At this point, there's not much else to say, unless desiring solely to preach to the choir. Still, for the sake of this review, perhaps some valuable insight can be dredged up. No promises, however.

Of the many notable aspects of this game, the first one that readily comes to mind is just how tightly-designed it is. All of the filler, fat, and other extraneous nonsense that plagues most titles have been stripped away. Everything that remains has been polished to a flawless sheen. There is purpose in every action, and skill alone is the sole determining factor as to whether or not the quest concludes in a satisfactory manner. Anyone looking for rare drops, or even the option to grind experience levels and trivialise boss battles, should stay well away. With that in mind, there's still enough leeway for players to take an extra few minutes, get another level-up or two, and make the toughest encounters just a little more manageable.

Screenshot for Ys Origin on Xbox One

In the race to offer the most polished action-adventure imaginable, no single element can be left behind. This is another aspect that this classic excels at. Over the course of their trek through Darm Tower, Yunica and Hugo will come across various artefacts. These forgotten trinkets unlock powers that are essential to progress, but not merely in a "glorified key" manner. With a mighty MP-draining swing, for example, Yunica can slam her axe into the ground, causing a massive lightning bolt. This single move has a host of applications. She can destroy armoured enemies with it, take down mid-air foes, and even deflect attacks. This same level of versatility is found in all of her skills. Switching between them to account for every possible situation is what keeps the combat so exciting.

Not to be outdone, Hugo's talent for magic is very impressive. His play-style, which relies heavily on firing at enemies from afar, is similar to arcade titles such as Mercs. Unlike Yunica, he can't stun his foes, locking them down with relentless attacks. Instead, he has to keep moving, using his special abilities to maintain the offensive. The hit and run tactics include dropping mines, deploying temporary shields, or channelling huge streams of fire from his "Eyes of Fact." Then there's the unlockable character, Toal Fact. He's Hugo's big brother and a big fan of claws. Mastering his style requires an understanding of evasive techniques and ruthless aggression. His most useful skill is a dash that can tear adversaries apart, while soaring through their defences. All three playable characters are appealing in their own way. Unlocking their full potential is a must in order to survive the harder difficulty settings.

Screenshot for Ys Origin on Xbox One

Every boss fight is phenomenal. The Ys series hasn't ever lacked for strong climatic encounters, but this entry clearly takes them to the next level. The battles are lightning fast and the toughest fiends rely on a wealth of creative attacks to keep players invested. Again, a large emphasis is placed on using each character's entire skill-set. Some attacks can be countered, others weaved in-between, and then there are the few that simply must be avoided at all costs. Crushing these difficult battles is made all the more rewarding by the fact that there aren't any health restoratives. Quaffing dozens of potions simply isn't an option. Furthermore, due to the incredibly polished mechanics, there are never any cheap deaths.

Ys Origin is also one of those games that just feels good to play. From the very first moment control is handed to the player, they are going to realise how smooth and natural everything is. The fluidity of movement is divine. It's also superb how every element of combat blends into one another. Little details, like the visual "tells" monsters make before initiating an attack, are brilliant. Even with so much happening on-screen, nobody will ever feel confused or overwhelmed.

Screenshot for Ys Origin on Xbox One

A title of this calibre deserves an exemplary port. After spending quite some time with the Xbox One port, which arrives courtesy of Dotemu, one can't help but feel a little disappointed. First off, there aren't any options to customise the controls. Thankfully, special moves are mapped to the Left Trigger, as well as the B button, so attacking while charging special moves isn't a thumb-twisting nightmare. Gamers who prefer to play without a vibrating control pad will have to go into the Xbox One's settings to disable vibration functionality, because there's no such option in this game. The load times are also ever so slightly worse than the PC version, although still nowhere near the point where they could be considered bad.

There is one other issue with this port: the stuttering. Whenever certain actions or effects occur, the screen will hitch for a frame or two. It's almost as if the game needs a sixtieth of a second to load a specific animation. It's hard to recognise at first, but will become readily apparent before long. While the occasional stutter isn't going to result in an untimely death, it's still baffling. On the plus side, at least it isn't constantly happening. The hitches are generally at their most frequent when a save is loaded, or if several minutes go by without incident, such as incurring damage.

Screenshot for Ys Origin on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

When it comes to action RPGs, Ys Origin ranks among the elite. It's fair to point out, however, that the Xbox One port could have been better. Sure, the slight load time increases and lack of controller options are nitpicks, but the original game was released in 2006. Surely these minor details should have been accounted for. More egregious is the stuttering. Although it doesn't go far enough to ruin the port, its presence is unjustifiable. Still, whatever the format, this phenomenal classic can't be passed up.


Nihon Falcom




Real Time RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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