Ys Seven is unsearchable on the forum, and I couldn't find a thread so here's a new one!
Ys Seven was released for the PSP in mid-August 2010 in North America, and almost a year ago in Japan.
Ys Seven (イースVII) is a Japanese Action RPG developed and published by the Nihon Falcom Corporation and the seventh installment in the Ys video game series. It was released in Japan during 2009 for the Sony PlayStation Portable and was released by Xseed Games in North America on August 17, 2010.
Dogi and Adol reach the Capital of Altago in an attempt to find more adventure. While exploring the town, they get into trouble trying to save two sisters who were being harassed by the local Dragoons. They are thrown into the cells but thanks to their reputation as adventurers, they get a request from the king to help him investigate some strange earthquakes going on lately, as his men have not been able to find anything. On their way, they find out the Five Dragons are awakening once again to prevent a great evil, lending their power to Adol to help stop it.
Some of the characters:
Adol "The Red," a famous swordsman and adventurer.
Dogi, Adol's buddy, a huge punching machine. Seriously look at how huge he is.
Tia, flower girl, lives in Old Town.
Maya, Tia's younger, mute sister.
Raud, asshole deluxe, bad cop, a commander of the Dragon Knights.
Scias, good cop, another Dragon Knights commander, from Old Town.
Kiemarl, King of Altago. Seems like a good guy. Mysterious illness.
Ursa, executioner at the coliseum. Appears to wear only belts.
The story is pretty serious business, as it usually is with Adol. Somehow he always manages to get roped into saving everyone from the ultimate evil, and he always wins. There's a lot of text and after six hours I've yet to hear anything voiced. You can skip the text by mashing O but you can't skip the in-engine cinematic cut scenes. Various characters will join Adol and Dogi on their adventure, bringing different attack styles, special attacks, and party buffs to the group.
Combat is fluid and fast-paced, and with up to two companions in tow, plays a lot like Secret of Mana (but faster). Since it's an Ys game you don't have the luxury of just mashing attack, because you'll die if that's all you do. You've got to take care to dodge special attacks and use the right weapon for the job. Early on you learn that some enemies are vulnerable to cutting attacks, and others to fists. Tap O to switch characters when you find an enemy that's not taking damage from your currently-controlled character.
Bosses are awesome. Huge guys, usually with a smallish weak point and thousands of HP. You win by using a lot of dodging, pattern recognition, and endurance.
The music is really great. It's usually guitar + violin and feels at once epic and rocking. I really liked the music in Ark of Napishtim and this game's soundtrack is easily as good.
Each weapon has a special attack you can learn from it, a'la Final Fantasy 9. Skills are powered by SP that you gain from attacking enemies, and especially from using your charge attack (hold X to charge). You bind the special attack to R + a face button, and using the skill levels it up. Once you've 'learned' the skill you can use it without the weapon being equipped. Leveling up skills by using them also makes them more powerful. Some are really handy like Dogi's starting three-hit combo, and some are not so handy like Adol's leap attack, which is easy to miss with.
Controls are straightforward. You play with the analog nub or d-pad, and face buttons do most of the work. Most of the controls can be defined by the user in the options menu. I found making the dash/dodge button be O instead of  to be a good change. One command covered in the manual but not in the game is the Flash Guard, a defensive move done by tapping L+R together (hit R first though, otherwise you'll use up your limit break move).
Visually the game works very well. Everything is clear, except occasionally the font. It's probably one of the best-looking PSP games. The characters and monsters are stylish and easily-identifiable on screen. The menus are concise and informative.
Have some more screenshots:
Approaching Altago by ship.
Dragon Knights' patrol ship.
Fighting in the starting area. Here you can see the blue SP gauge filling up, the drops from enemies, and the combo info.
Gathering iron ore and spring water. You need these materials and dozens more to craft all kinds of stuff.
These are the widgets you're looking for.
Pretty big, and look at how many HP he has.
Some enemies can briefly be stunned.
Limit break-style attack. Consumes the yellow bar at the bottom right.
I don't know why but this turtle is explosive.
Also because this quest is bullshit and even I missed it, let's just make this clear right away. To get quest 7, go to the bar in Altago AFTER you get permission to go to Segram. This is the only missable quest in the whole game that works this way. Quests 1-6 and 8-12 can all be failed if you don't do them before the halfway point and 13-20 are before finishing the game. 7 is the only one that you can fail before any of those points.
(I still liked it)
Give this a read.
It's really easy as well, once you get the quest you can't not complete it. The reward is pretty lame though. It's just that now I have one quest that says failed and it's so stupid because it wasn't my fault. I had already talked to everybody in town, it's just I did it before I got the letter. That's bullshit, the guy should've been there as soon as I found out I needed to go to Segram.
Is it mostly more attacks, or do they do considerably more damage? Because I think if they do more damage I could maybe do hard, but not nightmare. I'm not good enough at flash guarding for that.
Oh yeah, could someone tell me the name of the boss song for the first boss after the "halfway point"? Because it is so metal and kickin rad that I need to hear it again.
Quickly (not quickly) on Ys 3: I got the PC remake (Oath in Felghana) imported and fan-translated (I can't read Japanese), and it's fucking INCREDIBLE compared to the original (or well, the Sega Genesis version; which is superior to the SNES version because of the music being more full). If I had to guess, they made it play like the games do now or for a while? It's definitely much more actiony and platformy and back to the top-down kind of look. The story is much better too. The ring stuff was replaced with three bracelets that do three specific attacks which is better. My favorite part of it though is (no surprise) the music. Oh my God the music treatment is so fucking good in the remake.
As for the link, good lord, the first two games have been on like every freaking video game format. Maybe I should play 'em on my DS! (Should I?)
... and on the remake of Ys 3 some more, the fan-translation bugs me for a couple reasons. First, Dogi apparently curses a lot and I'm not convinced he's actually like that (unless he is because hey, what do I know). Second, the font used for the translation is Comic Sans and I don't know how to change it.
Also I don't think Ys 1 and 2 on DS are very good? I think they had some strange issues. It's coming out on PSP as well though, so I think that's going to be the best version.
In any case, that's another thing I can add to the list of, "Okay, the PSP is mostly good for ports / remakes."
The PSP version would be a close second. The DS one is supposed to be pretty mediocre.
I sold my PSP months ago because of financial troubles.
I've been trying to save up money and telling myself I don't need a PSP since I already have a DS, PS3, 360, Wii, and a good gaming PC and there is plenty else out there to play.
But god dammit.... Ys 7 and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep are going to force me to buy another PSP and grab them.
How's the music in this game by the way? What kind of music is it exactly?
The music I don't know how to describe, but once shit gets real in the story it starts to get into awesome rock music to pump you up. The first time they do it is against that one boss and I have to find that song because it was so rockin.
Falcom tend to alternate between synth, symphonic and rock. Though even if a game's not appropriate to rock out to, the jdk band will invariably do a rock arrangement of its themes.
Ys 2 theme, To Make the End of Battle
JDK Band arrangement of To Make the End of Battle
edit: And then you get crazy Japanese people with violins.
^Wait for the guitar solo. Mind blowing stuff.
You know, one of the things I love about Ys is that the bosses aren't gimmick bosses like most Legend of Zelda bosses. Just knowing what to do doesn't make it vastly easier - you've got to pound on them with everything you've got, and dodge like your life depends on it.
I know I'm buying 7 (does it have a subtitle? Is this a remake of Mask of the Sun? Could I find answers to these questions and more by checking Wikipedia myself?), but I can't decide if I want to buy it as a dl title or see if I can find it at Best Buy or Gamestop. Best Buy is unlikely to have the collector's edition, but I'm not sure if I want to go that route anyway. I suppose if I get it from the PSP store I can be playing it inside of an hour, but I'd have to delete Jeanne d'Arc from my memory card to make space...