Best Vita RPG
The Ys series has finally received the Western attention it deserves thanks to XSEED, but coming into 2013 there were still two Ys games without official English releases. That count is now down to one thanks to XSEED's release of Ys: Memories of Celceta, a complete redo of Ys IV by Falcom. Playing similarly to the fantastic Ys Seven, Memories of Celceta is a feast for action RPG fans. The game wastes little time throwing the player into a large area to explore. Thanks to new skills, new party members, and subtle improvements to the combat, this isn't just Ys Seven in a new location. Moving to the Vita has given the game a nice graphical upgrade, and the sound and music shine on the system as well.
The Ys games ran beautifully on the PSP, and the same is the case here with a crisp frame rate and short area transitions. Hordes of enemies and the series' typical massive bosses don't slow things down at all, and provide plenty of challenges. The Vita may be lacking in content, but that doesn't mean that the content it has isn't worthwhile. Memories of Celceta proves just that, providing another memorable entry in the fantastic Ys series and one of the best action RPG experiences in 2013.
Dragon's Crown is one of those games that took us by surprise and hit all the right notes for the RPG and beat 'em up fans amongst us. With its rich combat experience and smooth control on the PlayStation Vita, the game could be enjoyed solo, with friends online, or with complete strangers thanks to a seamless implementation that let the AI immediately take over a party member if someone dropped from the game. Thanks to reward multipliers that stack the longer a dungeon excursion lasts, it has an addictive quality that makes it easy to sink quite a bit of time into the game without realizing it. Breathtaking graphics back up the rough and tumble gameplay. Dragon's Crown is so easy to invest time into, be it on the big screen or on the go, that it was one of our favorite games of 2013.
Fans of old school games on handhelds who enjoy taking their adventure anywhere they go found a gem in Dragon Fantasy Book II. It's a great game to take on the go because you never feel lost and there is a surprising amount to explore considering its short play time. Sometimes you need a wonderfully simplistic game that doesn't take itself too seriously for long bus rides to and from school or work. Dragon Fantasy Book II is not without its flaws, but it's a great portable game for those who need a break from the long-winded RPG experience.
by Michael Apps, Sam Marchello