Approximate Release Month: January 1992
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Tonkin House
Publisher: American Sammy
It’s amazing how Ys III: Wanderers From Ys can make one small design decision and make me hate it.
In most action RPGs, when you hit an enemy there’s feedback of some kind; the enemy flashes, the enemy is pushed back, there’s a sound effect, and so on. Multiple forms are necessary because the game shouldn’t want the player to miss important information in the audio/visual din of a fast-paced action game. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a perfect example of a game that does this very well.
Ys III lacks good feedback, to its detriment.
Notice how when I hit, the enemy isn’t pushed back. The enemy only quickly flashes when I strike it. As you can tell in this video, there’s barely any audio cues either.
This is the primary reason I hated the time I spent with Ys III. You just hold down the button and trade blows with the constantly respawning enemies. The feedback problems apply to the player character, too, as it is very difficult to tell when you’re taking damage if you’re not watching the HP gauge like a hawk. I ended up grinding several levels to become stronger than I’m supposed to be and purchased better items in town just to make the awful combat easier in the very first dungeon. Blessedly, you can save almost anywhere.
Nice graphics and catchy music aren’t enough to make up for the fundamentally unsatisfying gameplay in Ys III: Wanderers From Ys. Unless you’re on a classic Ys kick, you’re better off playing Ys: The Oath in Felghana, the PlayStation Portable and PC remake.
Tomorrow: After this game, Lagoon should be a step up. I hope.