The Xbox has noticeably had a lack of Japanese influenced RPGs for some time, something PlayStation have filled the demand for thanks to Sony’s roots. After the announcement of Ys Origin, this peaked my interest immediately as its a JRPG originally released for PC in 2006, so 12 years later this is very much welcomed if not a little late.

Despite a long wait for this to hit consoles, Ys Origin has aged very well offering a perfect mix of action, exploration and story with screen-filling bosses, unique platforming elements, and innovative puzzles. It feels refreshing to play such a title and doesn’t feel old in the slightest.

Ys Origin level design
Exploration is a rewarding experience in Ys Origin.

Featuring two characters with various fighting styles: Yunica and Hugo Fact. Yunica is able to wield axes and greatswords with ease. In addition to standard hack-and-slash combos, Yunica is also able to perform various aerial maneuvers such as the down-thrust and up-thrust from previous Ys games. Hugo Fact can fire energy from his wand and his Eyes of Fact alike, he can fill the screen with destructive power, mowing down all enemies in his path before they have a chance to get anywhere near him. Predominantly I played this review as Hugo Fact.

This is the first time Ys Origin is available in English as well, so the jump across the pond is a fantastically accepted port to Xbox One. I would very much welcome many Japanese-only titles here in the West and I think it’s something highly sought after by players today.

Ys Origin Boss
Bosses offer a nice variety break-up in gameplay.

Graphically, despite a few frame drops during cut-scenes and parts of the game, it looks great and doesn’t feel like a 12 year old game at all. Attacks look fantastic on-screen and with wide screen support, level environments are designed to be clever with plenty of puzzles to explore out of reach areas. Hit a pressure plate to unlock a door or use your abilities to jump across a distant ledge to a chest, there’s a lot to search around levels for. All in all, which is a rewarding experience.

Ys Origin Storyline
The storyline is heavily text-based, but wonderfully well written.
Expanding upon the gameplay elements introduced in Ys: The Ark of Napishtim and further developed in Ys: The Oath in Felghana, Ys Origin adds different styles of play with Metroidvania elements. The story is pretty solid as well and depending on your selected difficulty offers a challenge to the more advanced.
If that’s that enough of a challenge for you, there’s also an Arena Mode which pits you against hordes of enemies. Generally you’ll be playing the storyline mostly though. Another challenge could be the lack of a mini-map so you know where to go, as following story events to progress can often leave you wandering coridors.
Ys Origin launched alongside two other JRPGS: Earthlock and Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs in the ID@Xbox program. Could this be a turning point for Xbox to have more from this genre? I really do hope so, as consoles need to branch out into more niche genres like this and despite its age, the game feels so refreshing thanks to its intriguing gameplay and beautiful soundtrack.
CX Score
  • 80%
    Overall - 80%
80%

Summary

Pros

  • A fantastic JRPG with a beautiful soundtrack
  • Well written dialogue and storyline
  • Exploring every nook and cranny is rewarding
  • Cons

  • Frame drops on sections and cut-scenes
  • Replay value limited
  • Original had 3 characters, The Claw was omitted
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