Feralia.net blog. episode 33: Fantasy Game Review: Ys: The Oath in Felghana

In my last entry (a review of Ys 1 & 2 Chronicles), I mentioned a Super NES game that got me started on the Ys series, Ys III: Wanderers from Ys. Today I wanted to take a look at the remake of that game, Ys: The Oath in Felghana. Since the original sort of holds a special place in my heart, I wanted to show a couple comparisons as well.
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Box art for the 1991 version which I first played
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Box art from the 2010 release.

Ys III originally came out in 1989. I didn’t play it, however, until the 1991 SNES port. The Oath in Felghana was released in 2005. Again, I played it later on the 2010 PSP release. (Technically I downloaded the PSP version on my PSVita through the PS Store, where it’s currently $14.99).

Like I & II Chronicles for PSP, the music has been redone and gives you the option to switch between the new music and classic versions at almost any point in the game. One of the few things that I wish would have been included is the SNES version of the music, which I played as a kid. The PC versions are great, but just don’t hold the same sentimental value for me personally. This really doesn’t detract from the game at all, though, and the music is great.

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Super NES
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PSP

The graphics have been updated nicely as well. And one big change from I & II Chronicles is the combat, which it back to a traditional hack and slash. All of the great RPG elements are retained as well. A major factor for me is that the combat was fun and fast paced, and never really got old.

In  I & II Chronicles, as I mentioned in my review, I had some pretty major issues with dungeons sections looking alike which lead to a LOT of getting lost. In Oath, the issue is still there at times, but not nearly as much. The different camera angle and more varied locations visually went a long way to address this. I did still use a guide a couple of times, but wasn’t tied to it like in the previous game.

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Another area where the game shined was the great story. I loved the fantasy setting and characters. The fully voiced cut scenes with great acting really lent a lot to the story as well.

This entry in the Ys series is another great one, which you can take on the go if you play it on the PSVita like I did. While I liked 1 & 2 Chronicles, I liked this one much better, especially for the nostalgia, story and gameplay. I’d definitely recommend it for fantasy and adventure fans!

-Clint

Posted in Blog

Feralia.net blog. episode 32: Fantasy Game Review: Ys I & II Chronicles

Ys I&II PSP
Back in the 90’s I played a game on my beloved Super NES called Ys III: Wanderers from Ys. It had a cool fantasy story, great music and was fun to play. Unfortunately it would be many years before I had the chance to research the Ys series and rediscover it. It wasn’t until a couple months ago, in fact, that I jumped back into the series. I decided to play them from the beginning, starting with Ys I & II Chronicles. I played the PSP version on my PSVita, but there are other editions as well, including Steam (PC). (The PSP/Vita version was just $14.99.) It’s a remake of the first 2 Ys games and includes remakes of Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished and Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter.

The first thing that stands out as far as the gameplay goes is the combat. Interestingly, there isn’t an attack button. I hadn’t played the original releases, so this was new to me. Instead of using a button to attack, you simply run into enemies. It sounds odd, but it was actually a lot of fun and made the combat super fast-paced. Your character (the red-haired Adol Christin) levels up quickly and there are a bunch of armor and weapons to buy or find, which boost his stats greatly. ys psp 2 B003U3WRY6.04.lg
The graphics have a nostalgic charm that fans of 16-bit games will love, and the anime style character drawings for dialogue and really nice as well. The music has a well deserved reputation for being really good, too. You can even switch between the default, newly remade music and older versions of the same songs, which was a really nice edition, especially for long time fans of the series.
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Another strong point is the story. I won’t get into any details for fear of spoilers, but I really enjoyed the fantasy story and think that other fantasy fans will, too.

The only negative I found personally with the game was that the dungeons are super easy to get lost in and often times look a lot alike as you traverse them. This combined with the top-down view and the fact that some areas are really, really big made many areas confusing, frustrating and tedious. This was easily helped with walkthroughs, but that also made it a bit of a chore at times.

But overall, Ys I & II Chronicles shines, especially for it’s graphics, music, story and charm. If you’re looking for a fun fantasy game with a handheld option, and are a fan of classic action JRPGs you’ll like this one.
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-Clint

Posted in Blog

Feralia.net blog. episode 31: Featured Artist: Jason Powell/Killerkatt Artworks

One of my favorite things to blog about recently, something that I want to make a regular thing, is featuring my favorite creators, whether it be musicians, artists, fellow writers, or creators of any kind, really.

Today’s feature is an artist who has been one of my favorites for a long time, Jason Powell, also known as Killerkatt Artworks.
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“Self Portrait/Stand Alone Complex” © Jason Powell/Killerkatt Artworks
Jason is from the Washington DC area and has several very cool art styles. He’s done album covers for hardcore punk rock bands, posters and fliers for a ton of shows, building murals and a ton of awesome paintings and drawings on different media, just to name a few.
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“Kill Your Idols” © Jason Powell/Killerkatt Artworks
One of my favorite qualities of Jason’s work has always been a photo-realistic feel that his paintings have, capturing the energy of live performances. The styles vary, though, and include more abstract pieces, as well as some that are super fun, and others that are black and white and done with pencils and ink.
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“Robots” © Jason Powell/Killerkatt Artworks
Other pieces hint at a deeper influence of both philosophy and the workings of the human mind, which I’d like to get into more with an interview soon. I’m also a fan of the use of lighting and colors. Some are bleak and dark, while others are beautiful and dreamy.
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“Thrallstale” © Jason Powell/Killerkatt Artworks
The pictures show here are just a few of my favorites from Jason’s website. He also has a ton of work not yet pictured on the site, and has been hard at work on many more projects recently! I can’t wait to see more as he releases them!

-Clint

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Con catch up!

I haven’t updated for a while because I’ve been busy with both real life and creative stuff, so I wanted to do some thank you’s to everyone who stopped by our booth (as well as the staffs, too) of our most recent cons: Baltimore Comic Con, Shobuocon, Hampton Comic Con & Anime USA!

It was great meeting new people and also awesome that some of you stopped by to talk about the book after having read it! I appreciate the support! Also, I hope that you guys reading for the first time enjoy it!

Stick with me, because I’m still hard at work on Feralia projects and will have a couple announcements to make soon!

-Clint

Posted in News

The Incredible MAGLabs

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I’m late on this one again but definitely wanted to mention the great time at MAGFest Laboratories this past weekend. It was nice to be back for our 5th year at this smaller edition of MAGFest (counting when it was called MAGFest 8.5 and MAGClassic before becoming MAGLabs). Thanks to everyone who grabbed a copy of the book and stopped by to talk about it – I really appreciated it!

If you haven’t attended MAGLabs, be sure to check it out next year. It’s a much different experience than any other con or festival we do, featuring not only video games and music but tons of other activities and crafts as well! There was a ton of stuff for kids also!

-Clint

Posted in News

Feralia.net blog. episode 30: Featured Artist: C Jakes Draw

One of the cool things about working at so many cons is that I get to meet a lot of fellow creators who are really talented and cool. Two weekends ago at Fairfax Comic Con I was fortunate enough to meet C Jakes Draw. I was instantly drawn to his booth by a particular picture (which I’ll mention in a bit) but loved every piece he had!C Jakes Draw copy
© C Jakes Draw. www.cjakesdraw.com

Pictured above are two of my favorite pictures of his. I’m really liking his style. They’re both original characters, and the one on the right, Zoe, is the one who caught my eye. I was super excited to buy a print of her. The characters are from a project C Jakes Draw is working on entitled Project Rebirth. I’m really looking forward to it. His other art is great, too. Click the picture to visit his website. He also has great art from Marvel, DC, video games and anime that are great. Check him out!!

-Clint

Posted in Blog

Thanks GEXCon!

GEXCon was a nice time. It was cool to be able to return after missing a year. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! I hope everyone who picked up a copy of the book enjoys the story! Next up (this weekend) is MAGFest Laboratories! Hope to see you there!

-Clint

Posted in News