Just RPG - Reviews, PC and PS2 Walkthroughs, Previews, and RPG News!





HOME

Reviews
Previews
Walkthroughs
Strategy Guides
Articles
Interviews
Editorials
Links
About Us
Past Issues

June 14, 2011
March 22, 2011
Feb. 28, 2011
Dec. 14, 2010
Nov. 23, 2010
Nov. 9, 2010
Oct. 26, 2010
Oct. 6, 2010
Sept. 21, 2010
Sept. 14, 2010
Sept. 7, 2010
Aug. 31, 2010
Aug. 24, 2010
Aug. 17, 2010
Aug. 8, 2010
June 15, 2010
January, 2010
Dec. 21, 2009
Past Issues

Age of Conan: Unchained
Dark Souls
Dreamlords: Resurrection
Final Fantasy IV In-Pack Items
Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword
League of Legends: Co-op V.S. AI
Final Fantasy IV
Duke Nukem Forever
Divine Souls Open Beta
inSANE
Mass Effect 3 Unveiled
League of Legends: Cassiopeia
League of Legends: Trundle
King Arthur: The Druids
Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom
RIFT Closed Beta
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Magicka
Pandora Saga
DC Universe Online Screenshots
Fallout: New Vegas Add-On Content
League of Legends: Lux
Bloodline Champions: The Nomad
Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania
League of Legends: Battle Training
League of Legends: LeBlanc
Iron Cross
Prinny 2
Crusade Kings 2
Lionehart Kings' Crusade
Borderlands Game of the Year Edition
Castlevania Harmony of Despair DLC
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Spiderweb Software's Birthday
League of Legends: Swain
Gormiti: Lords of Nature!
Disgaea 4
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
League of Legends: Magma Chamber
League of Legends: Sona
War of Angels
King of Kings 3: Mage
Legend of Edda
Lionheart:Kings' Crusade
Cladun
Dreamlords
TERA
League of Legends
Silkroad Online Battle Arena
Grand Chase Thunder Hammer
Aika Global
The Shadow Sun
Saw ll: Flesh and Blood
TERA
Neverwinter
League of Legends
Castlevania Harmony of Despair
Smash Your Food
I SPY Spooky Mansion
Hexyz Force
World of Tanks
League of Legends
Mass Effect 2
DOFUS 2.0
DOFUS Screens
FFXIII Box
Puzzle Chron.
Gyromancer
Warhammer OL
Star Trek OL
Lost Saga Scr
Marvel DLC
League Legends
Poxnora
Demon's Souls
League Legends
League Beta
Fort Zombie
Arc Rise Fantasia
Arc Rise Screens
Mimana Iyar
League Screens
Marvel DLC
Free Realms
Adventures To Go
Fusion PR Group
Demon's Souls
AdventureQuest
Witch's Tale
League Legends
Half-Minute Scr
Half-Minute
Freaky Scr.
Valhalla
Dragon Quest
Vandal Hearts
Mytheon
Risen
Gemini Lost
Freaky
Gyromancer
FF Crystal
Dragon Quest
Star Trek OL
Fort Zombie
Disgaea 2
FF Crystal
Champions OL
Wizard of Oz
Star Ocean
League Legends
Valhalla Scr.
Dragon Age
Marvel Ultimate
Risen Website
League Legends
Adventurequest
Final Fantasy
Agarest War
Agarest War Scr.
Demon's Souls
SMT: Persona
Pangya
Dragon Age
Warhammer
Mana Khemia 2
Runes of Magic
Cursed Mtn.
Cursed Mtn. Scr.
Freaky Creature
Phantom Brave
Runes of Magic
Aion Goes Gold
Free Realms
Wizards Exec
Freaky Creature
Arma II
Champions
Aion CG Movie
Marvel Ultimate
FFIV Dev Diary
Steambot Chron.
League Legends
Phantom Brave
Runes of Magic
Champions
Champions Vid.
League Legends
League Trailer
Risen Screens
Freaky Creature
Star Treak DAC
Phantom Brave
Demon's Souls
Geneforge
The Witcher
Free Realms
Runes of Magic
Demon's Souls
Aion Screens
Fallout 3 DLC
Marvel Ultimate
PuchiPuchi Virus
League Legends
Fallout 3 DLC
Mytheon
Wizard of Oz
Oz Screens
Marvel Ultimate
La Tale
Asda Story
Avernum 6
Battle Fantasia
League Legends
Adventurequest
Warpforce
New Nintendo
Aion
FF Crystal Chron.
Mind Twist
Little King's
Stan Lee, Marvel
Elf Island
Ether Saga
Wizard101
Demon's Souls
League Legends
FFXI Trailer
Champions Online
Free Realms
Aion Preorder
BioShock/Elder
Silkroad Online
Warpforce
Warpforce Scr.
Runes Screens
Runes of Magic
League Legends
Marvel Ultimate
FF XIV
Knights
Asda Story
Champions
League Legends
Runes of Magic
FF XIV Online
Time of Shadows
Kingdom Hearts
FF IV
Demon's Souls
Lunar
League Release
League Trailer
Cross Edge
Runes of Magic
Phantom Brave
Crimson Gem
DC Universe
Freaky
SMT Devil
Steal Princess
Steal Screens
Wizard101
SMT Devil
Runes of Magic
Warrior Epic
Fallout 3 DLC
League Legends
League Screens
Bounty Bay
Bounty Bay Scr.
Ragnarok Scr.
Ragnarok Online
Runes of Magic
Time of Shadows
Time Scr.
Steambot Chron.
Adventures
Adventures Scr.
Warrior Epic
Sacred 2 Ships
Disgaea 2
Last Rebellion
Mana Khemia 2
Sakura Wars
Witch's Tale
Runes of Magic
Runes Screens
Class of Heroes
Sacred Trailer
Valhalla Knights
Wizard101 Gift
Freaky Creatures
Playboy Manager
Blizzcon 2009
Champions
Little King
League Legends
Wizard101
Wizard101 Scr.
Neverwinter
Warrior Epic Beta
Elder Scrolls
Warrio Epic Beta
Sacred 2
Utopia Kingdoms
Wizard101
Tweet in Games
Star Trek D-A-C
Champions
Champions Vid.
DragonSky Scr.
DragonSky
Free Realms
Free Realms Scr.
FFXI Vana'diel
DC Universe
Warrior Epic Scr.

 





Developer:
Falcom Corporation
Publisher: Konami
Platform: PS2
Release Date: February 22, 2005

by Aaron Slater




Looking back on the year 2005, it has been a great year for old series to reappear on western shores with new installments. Dragon Quest VIII, with its large advertisement campaign, has been generally well received, especially when compared to the rather lukewarm reception that Dragon Warrior VII received. The Shining series returned to consoles with two installments this year, the lackluster Shining Tears and significantly better Shining Force Neo. And of course, who could forget the triumphant return of the Ys series with its PlayStation 2 installment Ys: The Ark of Napishtim.


Wait! Oh yeah, that's right. Apparently quite a few people forgot about the return of the Ys series, which is rather sad considering that Ys: The Ark of Napishtim is a great game that suffers from a few problems that keep it from being a classic.


Ys: The Ark of Napishtim is actually the sixth entry in the long-running Ys series. While the series has mainly stayed in Japan, gamers outside have received a few entries here and there in the form of the first three games. The Ys series chronicles Adol Christin (also known as Adol the Red for those in the know) and his many adventures and misadventures in a typical action RPG form. This particular installment reunites us with Adol while he is on the run from the Romun Navy. In order to escape them he boards a ship belonging to a familiar face from one of his past adventures, and they set sail. Unfortunately, this voyage is ill-fated, and the ship is sucked into an inescapable sea oddity known as the Great Vortex of Canaan. When he comes to he finds that he has been rescued by an elf-like people known as the Rehdan. When he hears of their plight and how no one has been able to escape from the Great Vortex, he sets out on a quest to find the cause of this anomaly. Little does he know that this quest will involve tremendous bosses, cunning monsters, mountain climbing, ancient deities, fairies, and many other conventions. The story is easily one of the game's strong points, as it is handled in a simple enough manner that what might have been considered trite instead comes off as charming. The characters are all developed just enough so that the player will enjoy interacting with them and seeing how they are involved in the mysteries of the Great Vortex.


Uncovering the mysteries of the Great Vortex is as fun as it is interesting. The Ys games have always been rather simple games with only the basic moves, and this entry is no different. Adol moves around with the left analog stick, jumps with X, uses items with the triangle button, and attacks or interacts with the environment by using the square button. Nothing in the basic moves is too confusing, and combinations of the above-mentioned actions can result in different types of attacks which can be useful against any of the many enemies Adol encounters in the course of his adventure.


Adding to the simple nostalgia of the Ys series is the fact that Adol only has two stats to worry about, Strength and Defense. Both of these stats increase as Adol levels up, and can be further enhanced through equipping Adol with different shields, armor, and any of the three swords at his disposal. Yes, in this adventure, Adol will encounter three swords, each with their own elemental alignment, attack animation, and spell accompanying them. Each of the three swords can also be leveled up by using the collectible resource known as Emel that enemies will drop. Leveling up the swords increases their strength and at some points will level up the magic associated with each sword. This system is great because it keeps the fighting mechanic and the weapon system streamlined, but it cheapens the boss battles as all the player has to do is level up the correct sword enough to do large amounts of damage.


As has always been the way with the Ys series, bosses are large and seemingly insurmountable foes that have many different attacks that must be memorized, and weaknesses that must be exploited. Unfortunately, one trait of the series that did not carry over in the eight-year hiatus between Ys V (Japan only) and Ys VI was the challenge that the bosses have almost always presented. The bosses are no cakewalk, but they are much easier than they should be. Instead of having to exploit a boss's weakness or learn specific patterns, most encounters boil down to having the correct sword leveled up high enough to do a lot of damage, and having Adol leveled up enough so that his HP will not run out in the midst of a fray. While most of the bosses are susceptible to this strategy, some bosses offer an insane amount of challenge regardless of how well prepared Adol is. Since there are very few bosses that walk the line between easy and insanely tough, the difficulty of these encounters seems a bit out of sync, especially when the dungeons and areas leading up to the bosses almost always pose a challenge to the player.


Yet another shortcoming regarding gameplay comes in the form of a specific move that has gained a bit of notoriety, the dash jump. With most of the moves in the game being so easy to utilize in the heat of a battle or at a whim, one would think that the dash jump would be just as simple to pull off. The move is basically a combination of the "dash slash," a simple move to pull off, and a jump. Unfortunately, the move is nowhere near as easy as it is to pull off, as it requires more luck than talent. The dash jump works selectively, which makes utilizing it much more of a hassle than it should be. In my experience with the game, playing through the normal storyline, I may have used the dash jump once, but in order to get some of the secret chests which can make the game easier and the experience a bit more rewarding, the dash jump is vital. If the problem with the dash jump was simply limited to the dash jump, it would be understandable, but at times activating the regular jump can be a little tricky, especially when a series of jumps must be used. One way around this problem is to wait a second in between jumps instead of creating a long chain of jumps, but even this does not entirely alleviate the problem. While the jumping mechanism does not detract from the overall gaming experience, it is an annoyance that will irk some players who try to get the most out of their gaming experience.


In spite of the gameplay, the audio and visual aspects of Ys: The Ark of Napishtim are equally great. The Ark of Napishtim is the first Ys game to step into a fully 3D world, and it makes this transition without a hitch. The worlds are lush and detailed, dungeons are foreboding, the backgrounds are vibrant in color, and the character designs as well as the enemy designs are very pleasing. The introductory cinematic is gorgeous to look at as well. While the game certainly will not win any awards, the graphics hold true to the Ys series and are a pleasure to look at. The characters are also enhanced by the beautiful anime portraits that are used for the major characters in the game. The anime portraits for each of the characters are beautiful, and help to bring each character to life. The audio is on par for an action RPG, the music is fitting, and the sound effects sound realistic enough. There is voice acting, and for the most part the voice acting works for each of the characters. It certainly is not the best voice acting, but I had few problems with it, and found that the voices tended to fit the characters that they were pinned with.


All in all, Ys: The Ark of Napishtim marks the return of the Ys series to US shores with a solid RPG experience that suffers from just a few problems. Had the jumping mechanism been tightened up, and the challenge of the game been enhanced a bit more so that the strategy for bosses did not become power-leveling, the game would have been just as great as its predecessors. However, in spite of the shortcomings, Ys: The Ark of Napishtim has a charming story, engaging characters, nice audio and pretty graphics, and is an RPG experience that is wrapped in nostalgia. If you enjoy simpler adventures, or just action RPGs in general, you should find much to enjoy with Ys: The Ark of Napishtim, but if you are looking for a more complex RPG you'd best look elsewhere. Ys: The Ark of Napishtim is a solid throwback to classic gaming and a worthy successor to the Ys line, with just a few problems that hold it back from being more than just a great game.


Final Grade: 86%




All materials 2000-2010 Just RPG
RPG Network: Free MMORPG | RPG Music