The Ys series has been around since 1986, appearing on many platforms.  However, the series has never gained the popularity of games like Final Fantasy here in the United States.  In Japan, however, the Ys series has gained quite a following.  Now Konami has decided to bring the latest in the Ys series, The Ark of Napishtim, not only to the PS2, but to its portable cousin the PSP.

In Ys, you play Adol Christin, a young red-haired man with an appetite for adventure.  In The Ark of Napishtim, Adol is riding on a pirate ship and ends up flying overboard.  He finds himself washed up on the shore of Rehda in the Caanan Islands, befriended by two elven natives of the island.  From there Adol explores the island and tries to get off the island.  A red fairy appears and Adol’s adventure involves solving a mystery behind the red fairy.

While the graphics in Ys are 3D, the game has a 2D feel to it.  Most of the game takes place on the island, so most of the time you traverse over tropical flora.  Sometimes you do travel over stone, sand, wood structures, and dirt, and the textures match accordingly.  Your path is laid out by raised areas in the environments.  While the paths branch out and you have several areas to explore, the environments feel static, with no movement except for the enemies on the screen.  The textures are muddy without much detail, especially in the jungle environments. 

Adol isn

The score in Ys is excellent.  A nice flowing melody highlights the music, with chimes adding accents.  It gives the game a joyful, playful mood.  It never overshadows the gameplay though.  A flourish of music plays when you open a chest and find an item or when you level up.  However, the sound effects could be better.  You get the typical sword-slashing sound when attacking, and most enemies are fairly silent, although some shriek when they are defeated.


The controls for Ys are simple enough, but there are some issues.  Moving Adol is done by using the D-pad or analog nub.  Jumps are made with the X button.  The Square button is case sensitive.  Most of the time the Square button attacks, and hitting the Square button three times performs a combo attack or uses a Sword Skill.  At other times, hitting Square activates a conversation with a person or examines an item.  Tools are used by hitting the Triangle button.  These are items for healing or temporarily increasing stats.  Switching swords is done with the L and R buttons.  Sword magic is activated by using the Circle button.

Attacking and movement at the same time causes different kinds of attacks.  Jumping and attacking while jumping up performs an upward thrust, while a downward thrust is done while hitting attack on the way down from a jump.  Moving, then releasing the movement and hitting attack at the right time performs a Dash Slash, while hitting attack and jump at the same time after releasing the movement does a Dash Jump.  These are tricky to do because the timing needs to be just right, but it gets easier with time.  You can

Ys is a game you

Ys can be completed in a relatively short time.  If you are an active RPG player, getting through Ys could take you less than fifteen or so hours.  This wouldn