While I’m very happy about the release of a new Ys title, I do have some minor concerns. My only real gripe has to be with platforming aspects of the game. Able to jump for only the second time in the series’ history (Wanderers being the only other occasion), Adol can now tackle Alundra-esque dungeons that require extensive trial and error. Unlike that classic action/RPG, however, Ark of Napishtim's jumping is slightly off. This makes simple jumps much harder than they should be and can lead to quick frustration when several must be done in succession (especially when you’re trying to reach an elusive chest). Thankfully, there aren’t too many platform-heavy areas, and the dash-jump move helps to alleviate the problem. Even so, there’s no excuse for such an important part of the gameplay to be so loose.
Further compounding this is the lack of a moveable camera. A few minutes in some of the more challenging platforming sections will give players flashbacks to Landstalker or the aforementioned Alundra. Though manageable, the camera really should have been adjustable, even if only slightly. This is more of an annoyance than a real problem, and while it’s obvious the developers took care to ensure that the flow of the game didn’t suffer, the experience still seems a bit dated because of it.
Don’t let my foolish quibbling scare you off. At its core, Ark of Napishtim is still an Ys game, despite the minor facelift and gameplay refinements. The characters are still as charming as ever, and the presentation is wonderfully old school. That’s what has always made the adventures of Adol Christian so much fun, and his latest outing is no different. As the first new Ys game since the underrated Ys V on the Super Famicom (has it been that long?), it deserves to be played and cherished. Falcom has already announced another entry in the series, to which I eagerly look forward, though it remains to be seen if Konami will pick it up for a domestic release. It would be a shame if they passed, as action/RPGs in the classic mold are becoming increasingly scarce.