Gave up at the final boss, but I really liked the arcade-esque difficulty of this game before dodge rolls came along and poisoned every single action game ever.
Most bosses feel unique and require you to pay attention to the moves, usually there's something really subtle about how you need to move to avoid the attacks. Things like bullet movement or boss limb movement actually matter since you need to not touch them! (Vs. just roll through it)
I like that harder difficulties add in new moves, too. The dungeons are simple and some have a few platforming ideas to them, they generally had a good pacing even if the structural ideas weren't that profound. I guess if I have a complaint it's that due to the leveling system (which mainly serves as a kind of dynamic difficulty for bosses - if you're too weak, grind a bit to have an easier time). The regular enemy designs are all neat too, but I feel they rarely get to shine because you're either too low-level to engage them safely (there are like, no checkpoints in this game so you almost never want to take risks in the long dungeons). OR, you easily outlevel and just spam your way through fights.
In that sense, this feels like an arcade game that's kind of ruined by RPG mechanics - even if you try to engage the enemies in a fun way, you naturally level up and everything dies too easily. I think every Ys game has this same problem. Sure, you can feel more powerful as you level up, but I think they could have limited that to just the bosses (some kind of thing you can grind for to power up slightly if you really want a slight edge against the bosses).
All the bosses were cool, but bosses have a few issues - like ones who don't have openings until you get a certain sequence of random moves (final boss!) - these are kind of tedious to fight because there's a lot of waiting.
This game has a ton of additive-blend particle effects, which makes reading the arena particularly confusing, especially when the attacks use huge particle effects - the hitboxes are vague and imprecise and you have to just intuit where you're moving (the fire serpent felt particularly bad here.) I also don't like the 'really fast rat human' type bosses like Chester 2 where you either boringly skirt around ridiculously fast attacks until you get a tiny opening, OR you just grind to get more DEF/HP and spam attacks when you know you won't take as much damage.
There's an unpleasant imprecision to flashy boss attacks - part of why this game is so fun is that enemy attacks and the top-down 3D perspective feel really readable - and those flashy attacks feel like they go against what makes other parts of the game good.
Anyways, I like this Ys the most out of the top-down 3D ones (Oath, Ark, Origin). I wish there were more made like this! (Rather than going down the dark, RPG-heavy dodge roll path, like Celceta, 7 8 and 9 did... not really interested in playing those (I played a bit of 8))
Reviewed on Apr 30, 2022