Ys: The Ark of Napishtim

By on October 16, 2006

How has this port from the PS2 fared on the PSP? Find out!

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First Impressions
My reaction is

This is a charming RPG for the PSP. The reason being, there aren’t many ‘good’ RPGs for the PSP to begin with. YS The Ark of Napishtim is an ‘old skool’ RPG at its heart, with an engaging story line, automatic levelling up and satisfying hack-and-slash action.

The game, like most RPGs on the PSP is a port; this one of a PS2 game released back in 2003. Major changes, for those who’ve played the original, include no voice acting, and a small addition of mini-games. You start of washed up on some island, getting saved by a couple of elf-like people. Well actually they got elfish ears and a tail. Different from the human, that’s our hero, of course.

The game basically sees you discovering the island you land up on and figuring out how to

leave the place to return to your homeland. You talk to people, gain their trust, and all the while levelling up fighting monsters. You start off with a measly little sword but then gain more powerful swords with elemental powers like fire, lightning, etc. There’s one more, but I’ll keep it a secret. And that’s about it for the weapons of the game. Yep, three different types of swords! Additionally you get magical moves, by using O. There’s a simple yet very enjoyable move, jump executed by X. This really helps bring a variety to the Sword attack (using square), however the ulterior motive, jumping around like an idiot never gets tiring. 

The game has an outstanding BGM that really helps set your mood according to the situation. The same cannot be said for the Sound effects though, they sound like something out of a late ninety’s game. Unfortunate as it seems, that’s the case with the graphics as well. The environment looks really muddy, with the characters having a pseudo-3d design. Thankfully that’s the worst of it, whilst talking to different characters, beautifully drawn anime counterparts are shown on the text box. This brings another problem; the text is really small and illegible at times. The various monsters look nice and different, but it’s the boss monsters that really look striking.

Moving along, much of the game sees you battling these monsters to level up. Going from one

place to another will see you the same monsters, but significantly more powerful. To the point where you can die before you even land a single blow on your opponent! And with scarce save points, this becomes a real issue. However levelling up is fun, what with all the hacking and slashing. But what really hurts this game the most is the constant loads. Going from one area to another is pretty normal. But note that you will have to go back and forth between areas to level up, and with load times of 15 seconds this becomes a real problem. But even this seems like a cake walk compared to the constant loading between entering and leaving shops in a town, where talking to people is essential, although it’s not always that important. Think, walking into a town with 10 people all scattered in shops throughout, with 6 – 15 second load times entering a shop, and then again leaving the shop! Whatever way you look at it that is a lot of loading time. And it’s too bad because the story seems fun, but having to wait 15 seconds after every 30 seconds of gameplay is a bitch!

It’s bizarre that the developers had so much times on their hands, yet the game is plagued with the very problem that destroys most of the games on the PSP, frustrating load times. And what’s even stranger is that none of these problems were in the PS2 version. Sure you can listen to the BGM and replay the boss’s again in the mini-game but lack of voice over and excruciating load times cannot justify it. So here’s a game that hardcore YS fans should rather enjoy on the PS2 than the PSP. If you want a great RPG experience, there are other choices available, but to this day nothing as bettered Namco’s port of Tales of Eternia.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
7
Good hack-and-slash with fun control scheme.
GRAPHICS
6
Backgrounds look muddy, but character animation makes up for it a little.
SOUND
7
background music but bad sound effects.
VALUE
5
Completing the main quest will take 10 hours at most, not worth repeating the huge effort.
FUN FACTOR
6
OVERALL
6.2
The constant load times and its average graphics pretty much ruin an otherwise enjoyable game.

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