Ys Strategy (Nintendo DS) Review

By Matthew Evans 19.07.2007 11

Review for Ys Strategy on Nintendo DS

We've all been through it at least one point in our lives, the point where we are more recognised for a single particular aspect than who we are. Word got around years ago that I actually know a thing or two about computers and from that point on I was always referred to as "The Computer Guy". Random Person 1: Damnit my computer won't work. Random Person 2: Well I know this computer guy, he's Liz's son. Random Person 1: You don't think Liz would mind us borrowing the computer guy? Random Person 2: Nah, shouldn't be a problem...

What does all this muttering have to do with Ys Strategy? Well feel sympathy for our hero Abel Renford, otherwise known as "The Red-Haired Warrior". Yes, in a game populated by characters with hairstyles of all colours including pink, green, blue and purple, you are the only one to be referred to by your hair colour. To further your indignity your companion, a blue-haired princess (because that's so normal) is always referred to by her name of Reonea. Come on, its not as if Abel is that hard a name to remember.

Do you know what the really sad thing is? That was the most interesting point about the game. Have your doubts about that last statement? To give further credence to the above assumption here is the prologue as stated in the manual.

"In the distant past it was said the one who possessed the moon would rule the world, as the moon rules the darkness. People tried to capture the moon's power in the 'Lunar Mirror', but its power was too great to be contained and it spilt over. This excess power transformed into the shape of gems that enhanced the power of the Lunar Mirror. People began to fight for possession of it. The King could not bear the sight of this, so he gave the five gems to five fairies who flew away with them. From that time on, the Lunar Mirror existed only as legend until the Romun Empire learned of its existence. In its drive to conquer the whole earth, the Romuns set forth with their armies to find the five gems and claim the power of the Lunar Mirror."

Screenshot for Ys Strategy on Nintendo DS

As if that wasn't generic enough and to further compound this game's faults, your character Abel Renford starts the game with....wait for it....AMNESIA!! Yep, the ultra-skilled, red-haired swordsmen can remember nothing but his name. Nobody saw that one coming did they. Or how about this to further this game from other "more-generic" titles; the place our amnesiac hero happens to reside in is also the first country the evil Romun Empire attacks to get its first gem. Is the An idiots guide to clichd storylines in games only available in Asia or can I find it in my local Waterstones?

I should mention we are still towards the top of a downward slope, "The most in-depth storyline on the Nintendo DS - almost a novel's worth of narrative" that's promised on the back of the box wasn't translated from its original Japanese. Well it may have but looking at the quality of this "narrative" it seems more like it was re-written by the developers pre-school child who is just learning English. I can only describe it as awful, infantile and LONG. By the time I got to the fifth map I'd spent a few hours going through banal text and its not even as if the font makes it easy to read...

In fairness it not as if the maps are something you'd want to rush towards, the gameplay is pretty abysmal. I was redecorating the basement so thought I'd pop the game on while I waited for the paint to dry, it quickly became the other way around. As with any generic game you spend the first part building up your base and army but in Ys Strategy it is such a long-winded, convoluted and slow paced process I found it more interesting to watch paint-dry. No, honestly, it takes a square meter patch of royal navy gloss wall paint less time to dry then it takes for you to build up a decent force in Ys Strategy. You've got to select the few workers you've got to gather resources, use those resources to build more workers to gather more resources and wait about ten minutes before you even think of building your first barracks. For some bizarre reason (probably to increase the total game hours played) it takes almost half a minute to build a single unit. Doesn't sound long does it? Well imagine a queue of ten workers, thats five minutes spent just building workers.

Screenshot for Ys Strategy on Nintendo DS

Other than the boredom the real problem with this lengthy unit creation is that if you start to lose a battle (very unlikely given the idiotic AI level) you cannot create men fast enough to replenish them and if your main attack force is destroyed you will not be able to build additional troops quickly enough to defend your base making it pretty much game over...unless of course you have a defence tower and some walls. The computer AI is so unbelievably stupid that it will attack a piece of wall instead of a defence tower that is decimating its troops. I don't use the term decimating lightly, a single tower can defeat five foot troopers and an enemy hero on its own. The entire game lacks any form of game balance that we've come to expect given the RTS genre's rich history.

Now you better prepare yourself as this upcoming point flies in the face of forum logic, Controlling the game is an absolute nightmare. The DS has a touch screen, stylus, additional screen as well as six buttons and a D-pad, it was quite logical to think of it as the spiritual home for console RTS games yet the first attempt at an RTS on the handheld completely fails. Ignoring the fact that in this game the touch-screen is so inaccurate that a blind spear-fisher has a better chance of hitting his target than the DS player, the control setup is so awkward and unintuitive it is beyond frustrating.

Screenshot for Ys Strategy on Nintendo DS

You select units by drawing a box around them but when you've got about twenty stick figures (there's no better way of describing this graphical mess) selecting just one is like trying to circle Waldo with a spirograph. Cancelling the selection isn't easy, especially for those with plenty of RTS experience as you have to hit a deselect button as just touching the screen will send the selected unit to that location. Assume we have selected the right unit and we want to send them off to another point on the map, we could either use the D-Pad which is painfully slow or we could press the 'L' button to swap screens, click on the mini map where we want the camera to go, press the 'L' button to swap screens again and then tap the screen with the stylus to send you group of men there. Now if we want a second group to accompany them press the 'L' button again, click on you base, press the 'L' button again and then select your troops...oh, did you forget to deselect your original group? Well guess what, the troops are coming home and you've got to do this all over again. Now rinse and repeat for every group of soldiers and with luck by the time you've given the orders to your last selection of troops the first ones are attacking the enemy and are getting their arses handed to them while they await back-up.

Quite simply the game is the worst thing I've ever inserted into a games console, there's nothing good to say about it, well I suppose while below par and mildly irritating the audio isn't overly offensive but then again if all you want to do is listen to something then instead of paying 29.99 for this crap go and buy HelloGoodbye's new album ZOMBIES!ALIENS!VAMPIRES!DINOSAURS! for some true enjoyment.

Screenshot for Ys Strategy on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 0 out of 10


Graphics you don't want to see, audio you don't want to listen to, a story you don't want to read and a game you don't want to play means its a title you shouldn't buy.




Rising Star





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  0

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 TBA   


Nice review Matt, but the score breakdown is just plain stupid.

A little immature in my eyes.


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I suppose you'd give it an 8 and call it average Marzy.

It's going to be shit and you jolly well know it.

I am still wondering why sound received a "2."

Sorry Marzy but I stick by my scoring.

The whole point of graphics is that they are there so you can play the game, the graphics in this game help prevent you from playing the game. It fails in that simplest of tests and is underserving of a single point. The same is true of the gameplay, if it doesn't make you want to play the game it doesn't deserve a point.
This is a

Matthew Evans [ Writer :: Moderator :: King of Impartiality :: Lord of the 15min Thread ] As the wind blows the sand to cover the camel's tracks so does time move to cover the Lord's.
Rejoice for the Lord will taketh his quarter and give much back to his followers.

And to reply to Robert, the reason audio got a two is because while the music is awful its not bad enough to be marked 0.

Matthew Evans [ Writer :: Moderator :: King of Impartiality :: Lord of the 15min Thread ] As the wind blows the sand to cover the camel's tracks so does time move to cover the Lord's.
Rejoice for the Lord will taketh his quarter and give much back to his followers.

No, but a '0' is plain stupid. It should at least get a '1'. How can you have a '0'? Doesn't it have anything on screen or any gameplay?

You have to give it something for doing it, a '0' means it hasn't got anything.

You can stick by your scoring, but in my eyes it looks stupid. I'm Sorry, but that's just my opinion.

Personally I felt it was indeed an abomination of a game, hence I passed up reviewing it at release in November last year Smilie Would have given it '2' overall, though...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

But take into account that your "average" game rates higher than my "average" game so it works out at about the same.

For me 5 is an average score, 10 is a must own with only petty problems (extremely rare) and 0 is reserved for games with no redeeming features, also extremely rare.
The 0 and 10 ratings are extreme marks, a 10 does not nessecarily mean it is perfect and 0 is not the opposite (imperfect is merely a lack of perfection). So a 0 is a perfectly reasonable score and shows that the game is pretty much unplayable in its current state, a 1 on the other hand would be a playable game that is down right awful.

Matthew Evans [ Writer :: Moderator :: King of Impartiality :: Lord of the 15min Thread ] As the wind blows the sand to cover the camel's tracks so does time move to cover the Lord's.
Rejoice for the Lord will taketh his quarter and give much back to his followers.

But take into account that your "average" game rates higher than my "average" game.

True, very true. I err on the side of leniancy, that I do :Smilie Well, the game never even broke the DS Top 20 and you can easily find copies lying around GAME...so I doubt many people bought it.

It's a real shame, though, as previous Ys games have been really good and also had fantastic soundtracks! :roll:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

It does look like an absolute mess. Nice one Matt. Well done for sticking with it long enough to review it!

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