Thank you, Ys: The Oath in Felghana, for providing a setting that was such a nice little getaway for the limited time I played. I know I will look back fondly on the lovely Redmont atmosphere and the mostly endearing townsfolk (you know who you are, less than endearing Redmont residents). I'm glad I finally had my introduction to Ys, and definitely want to return to it as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Oath in Felghana is considered an entry point into the series, and for good reason. You get to know exactly what the Ys series is all about in a very neat, contained format. It's really satisfying — the events in Felghana have a natural course and life, but you are welcome to learn more about Adol and Dogi's adventures. Knowing how the games were revamped, the series made cohesive, and that later games introduce party dynamics only makes having a solid, simple entry point more valuable. The visuals especially come together nicely.
And man, there is a lot to like here as far as gameplay. I felt like Felghana was challenging yet rewarding (on Normal mode, for reference). It also had some idiosyncrasies in control, movement, and battle that made me feel like I was playing an old-school action RPG. Maybe that's why I found some of the more 2D battles that called back to the original game slightly less challenging than some others? I can't say for sure. All I know is that a game that gives me that feeling and plays as smoothly as Felghana does is not a bad thing at all. I am eager to compare its gameplay directly to the other games and systems involved in the series.
Overall, I was pleased to be part of Adol, Dogi, and Elena's adventure. And Chester, well...
Ys: The Oath in Felghana has the honor of being the first Ys game I've ever completed, with the only other installment I've played being the poorly-received sidescroller Wanderers from Ys. I did not get very far in that game.
Overall, I had a great time with Felghana, though I admit that I did play it on Easy mode. The bosses provided a decent yet surmountable challenge, and blazing through dozens of skeletons, evil maids, and reptilian monstrosities was just plain fun! The platforming elements, on the other hand, had me pulling out more than a few strands of hair. I would probably rate my overall platforming skills a solid 2 out of 10, and a certain large, sprawling dungeon near the end had me close to quitting. I almost wish there were some sort of "auto-jump" option for those of us who lack the proper skills!
I enjoyed the simplicity of this game, finding it quite relaxing at times: no complicated skill-building, a very easy-to-learn (and fun) combat system, only a small number of items to collect, and a classic JRPG storyline. Quite honestly, I loved that this game had a fairly tight focus and wasn't padded with 100 pointless sidequests. Though it only took me around 16 hours to complete, all of those hours felt meaningful, and only a little bit of grinding was needed to beat some of the more difficult bosses. In any case, considering my busy lifestyle, short games are fine with me!
As far as the story is concerned, I really liked the fact that all of the NPCs were unique individuals with their own problems, personalities, and attractive anime-style character portraits. The Adol and Dogi dynamic, in particular, is something that I look forward to seeing more of in other Ys games.
All things considered, this short experience with the Ys series has definitely made me want to learn more about the characters and the world. Faraway countries that were only hinted at in pub conversations and monster descriptions have me very intrigued; I can't wait to go exploring!
"Brevity is the soul of wit / And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes." The long-winded and meddlesome Polonius says those lines with obvious irony in Hamlet, but Falcom truly took the lesson to heart 2005's Ys: The Oath in Felghana. Ys at large and Felghana in particular are resplendent with soul AND wit.
The Oath in Felghana, a remake of the third Ys title, Wanderers from Ys, is one town, eight dungeons, and twelve boss battles in under ten hours. The characters are memorable and colorful (but with only one redhead). The action is fast-paced and intense. Engaging in side quests or re-exploring old areas with new techniques is always rewarding. The challenge level is significant, but never unfair. The dungeons are well-designed. The music is incredible. Chester is a total dick. There is a lot to love here, maybe even including Chester.
My biggest complaint about the Oath in Felghana is that I wanted more. More characters, more dialog, more boss fights, longer runtime. Felghana is so much fun that I don't know when I might have started to feel bored of it, but that's probably by design. Felghana has little wasted space and never wears out its welcome, but perhaps if Falcom had added more fluff to this stellar remake I might have felt the tediousness of those outward flourishes. But I didn't.