Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (PC review)

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Ys: The Ark of Napishtim is the sixth installment of the series and the fourth released on Steam. The game was originally released on the PlayStation 2 in 2005 by Konami and a year later on the PlayStation Portable. It was the first game in the Ys series to transition from 2D gameplay over to 3D. The Steam version adds a few improvements from the original release including improved visuals, Steam achievements, and a few gameplay changes.

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Ys: The Ark of Napishtim takes place on the Canaan Islands, a mysterious island that is surrounded by a powerful vortex that can destroy vessels and has many inhabitants. After being found lying unconscious on a beach by Olha, a priestess of the Redha tribe, Adol is given time to heal before being asked to leave by the tribes leader telling him Eresians (humans) aren’t welcome in the village. Adol soon encounters a monster attacking Olha and saves her, opening a path between Redhan Village and Port Rimorge, where other Eresians have settled after finding themselves stuck on the island as well.

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There has always been something fun and exciting about playing the Ys games, and The Ark of Napishtim is still as fun as when I first played it back in 2005. Ark of Napishtim is an action RPG that can be compared to Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, where players find themselves traveling between multiple areas of the Canaan Islands. Some areas are not accessible until later, causing them to travel back and forth and sometimes returning to dungeons to continue on. Like Zelda II, the Ys series doesn’t always tell you where you need to go next, which can get frustrating, but luckily the Steam version allows you to transport between areas you’ve already visited.

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One thing the game will have you do quite a bit is grind. Enemies get tougher as you progress and enemies do a huge amount of damage. Adol can find and buy some armor and shields, but leveling up and powering up your swords by farming Emel is key. Luckily spending some time in the next dungeon and saving quite often can yield some quick level gains, but be prepared to do it a lot.

While I enjoyed the camera system and stage designs, there is quite a bit of platforming, especially to reach some pretty tricky chests. It takes some practice and correct timing.

Adol can also carry healing items and use them during battle, as well as equipping accessories that yield different effects. The accessories are scattered all around Canaan and are found in chests and some given by NPCs.

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Even 10 years later Ys: The Ark of Napishtim stands out as a great game. The challenge and adventure is only enhanced by some great visuals and the soundtrack. It is always set perfectly to the current tone of the game. Bosses are pretty fun and challenging, and the game is a perfect mix of action and patience. You might have moments where it can get annoying and frustrating; for example, the Boss Rush Time attack mode. The feeling of completing the game and finding all the items hidden in the dungeons is worth the challenge… and not getting wrecked in Catastrophe mode.

4.5 out of 5 NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

Title: Ys: The Ark of Napishtim
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: XSEED, Marvelous USA
Platform: Steam
Rated: T
Release Date: April 28th, 2015

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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.