In 2010, XSEED published the high speed action RPG Ys: The Oath in Felghana for the Playstation Portable. Catching a lot of hardcore action fans in the west off guard, the game garnered mostly positive reviews, with many praising its refreshingly straight forward yet deep gameplay. Our own Bob Muir loved the game, giving it a nine in his review. The game played fantastically on the PSP, making for an absolute must-buy. Truth be told, Oath was originally released for the PC in Japan when Falcom was a PC-only developer. Times changed and they slowly moved their development teams over to the PSP and Vita.
But fear not PC gamers, the world has not forgotten you! In a move that put smiles on lots of faces, XSEED has begun to sell games on Steam, with the first title being Ys: The Oath in Felghana.
As I've already played this game to death and agree entirely with Bob's review, there's no point in re-reviewing an already near perfect game. What I will do though is guide you through some of the changes and additions in an effort to explain why this PC release is worth spending $14.99 on even if you already took the dive on the PSP.
Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PC)
[Editor's note: The screen caps used in this article are from when you stretch the game to fit widescreen monitors. The native setting is 4:3.]
Ys: The Oath in Felghana keeps its story simple and to the point. Red haired legendary hero Adol and his wall breaking buddy Dogi make a surprise stop at the latter's home town, only to find that things are not looking too great. The kingdom is overrun with monsters and Dogi's old friend has changed in ways he can't even begin to imagine. Swept up into a conspiracy, Adol must once again take up his sword and lay the smack down on monsters and anyone else standing in his way. Somethings never change for our red haired chosen one.
If you're coming into this PC version with the hopes of playing through new story content or facing extra bosses, you should probably take a step back. This being the original version of Oath, you're not going to be finding that kind of additional content here. From a story standpoint, this is the exact same game as the PSP version and you'll be spending anywhere from eight to fifteen hours beating the living crap out of enemies. This time though, you'll be doing it in glorious 60 frames per second.
I know some of you are probably scratching your head and wondering why that's such a big deal, but in a game as fast as Oath, the difference between 30 fps and 60 fps is night and day. The game looks pretty good thanks to a strong, retro-like aesthetic, but it's the incredible smoothness with which it runs that really makes the difference. Those of you who have only played the game on the PSP will likely be surprised by just how pretty Oath actually is when running at the highest settings. If you're concerned about not being able to play the game on your low spec PC, I wouldn't worry too much. Oath was originally released in 2005 for Japanese computers, meaning pretty much anyone is going to be able to play it on decent settings. Hell, even my not-so-great laptop can run Oath well.
Musically, this is the same game you've come to know and love. The soundtrack is as blisteringly awesome as you remember, made better due to your PC having better speakers and audio capabilities than the PSP. When you hit Valestein Castle, prepare to have your ears blown off in a rush of musical brilliance the likes of which you have never experienced in an action RPG. Maybe I'm hyping it up too much but whatever; I maintain that Oath has one of the best action RPG soundtracks in recent memory. If you really dug the inclusion of English voice acting in the PSP version, I have some bad news for you. The Japanese PC release in 2005 didn't have any voice, meaning this localized version doesn't either. I know it was kind of hit or miss with some people, but it's worth noting that it's one of the few features missing.
Being on Steam, it'd be a shame if the game lacked Steam Achievements or Steam Cloud support, but fear not! There are plenty of cleverly named achievements to be had for all. Consider this a warning though; some of them are insanely difficult and not for the weak of heart.
Despite lacking the voice acting from the PSP release, Ys: The Oath in Felghana on the PC is the definitive version of this game. If you've played the game before on the tiny handheld screen and loved it, do yourself a favor and grab the download off of Steam. You won't regret being able to play the game on a bigger screen in glorious 60fps with crazy good sound. If you've never played Oath; what the hell are you doing? Why are you even reading this? Go buy the game and don't come back till you've completed it.
People who don't play Ys: The Oath in Felghana make baby Adol cry. Do you really want to see that?
I sure as hell don't.
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