Am I the only one who feels like both the summer and the summer games drought went by shockingly quickly? Whatever the case, among the PSP’s recent offerings was Ys Seven, the latest in Falcom’s infamously-hard series of action RPGs which sort of flew under my radar until I saw gameplay of Oath in Felghana. Even though Ys 6: Ark of Napishtim and Oath in Felghana are two of the only games in the series with 3-D platforming, I was surprised to see that Ys Seven has no jumping whatsoever. It makes me wonder if they put in the spammable rolling dodge to make up for that.
The first humongous nitpick I have is with the item creation system. It works exactly the way you craft items in Monster Hunter, right down to the overall types of ingredients- stuff carved out of monsters (but it’s generic bits and pieces instead of things unique to each enemy), herbs, fruit, rocks, what have you. You even gather resources from spots the same way, though in a surprising bit of detail you can see an item spot getting “used up” as you gather stuff from it. It’s not quite as blatant as the way Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce copied the central hub, village upgrades, single quests AND item crafting from Monster Hunter, but it shows that no effort was made to individualize the item creation.
The other part that seriously burns me up is the rock-paper-scissors damage resistance and immunity. Each type of enemy might be resistant or totally immune to a certain type of damage. Adol’s sword attacks and Dogi’s punches are different types, so you’ll see them dealing “Bad Attacks” to certain enemies. This part’s no big deal, because all you need to remember is to use Adol for fleshy enemies and Dogi for armored enemies. The first extra character, Elk, also deals slashing damage with his weapon, but at the point where Aisha joins you, it all goes south. Aisha uses a bow and arrows, so her attacks deal a new type of damage called piercing. Sure, she can fire arrows while moving, but shooting at armored enemies does absolutely nothing, and she’ll just score Bad Attacks against some of the fleshy enemies. The only ones Aisha is meant to damage are fast, flying enemies, like the big bugs that body-slam you. You’d think that her Somersault special move would deal blunt damage, but it doesn’t!
It makes sense that you have to use the heavy character to fight heavy enemies and the fast character to fight fast enemies, but it’s really not something you expect in an action-RPG. I also wish that whatever two characters I’m not controlling would actually use their normal combo attacks instead of just the first swing over and over again.