It's been a while ever since a game got me hooked and YS Origin succeeded at doing so. Having said that, the game is far from flawless.
Ys Origin plays similarly to dungeon crawlers (including YS I+II). You explore floors, fight monsters in real-time and try to find your way to the next floor. Unlike dungeon crawlers, it doesn't feature any kind of puzzle-solving, but it does include platforming. You don't have access to any map, but it's not necessary as each floor is quite linear (almost frustatingly so at some cases where you end up with obvious paths and invisible walls). The lack of a map also extends to the complete lack of an overworld; the whole game takes place in the tower, similar to how Diablo 1 and Torchlight 1 take place almost exclusively in the dungeons, so those of you expecting an overworld similar to other RPGs, sorry, but there is none.
You have a choice of two characters; an axewoman and a mage. I decided to go for the mage, who is different than your typical character in a melee weapon-based game, in that you are mostly ranged (in a way reminiscent of shoot-em-ups. The mage even has 2 drones that fire alongside him), but at times, you'll have to get close and personal. One thing that I wish they would have added is an auto-fire button to minimize the pain caused by the constant button-spamming... or at least increased your damage (or decreased your opponent's health), because there can be some serious sponge at work here. As it stands, the game is not particularly challenging (on normal), but it can be a pain. Instead of making the enemies sponges, they could have instead increased the damage of the monsters and make the health drops rarer. Sure, monsters deal more damage and health drops do actually get rarer on hard, but the monsters also have more health, while you gain less XP and deal less damage; not exactly my idea of a fun challenge. Only the bosses proved to be a challenge, at least till you figure out their patterns. I enjoyed the game despite the issues (killing monsters never gets old, especially when you get stronger and can kill them easier) but, alas, there is one more problem...
... the crashes. It's very telling that the game keeps a backup data in the case of crashes, which is useful, because the game contains no autosave or checkpoints and relies completely on save points (The good part is that you can just use an item to instantly teleport back to said save point. But if you forgot or got cocky...). The function is not very
useful, though, because it saves before cutscenes and, you guessed it, there were crashes during cutscenes, which means that the backup function will force you to watch the cutscene again. It's too bad that the game contains no way to skip cutscenes (which, while not long, can be annoying during those circumstances), something that would be very useful during the confrontation with the final boss, as I ended beating the crap out him 5 times, before the game decided to not crash (hint: disable movie playback and just watch the damn video on youtube). I'm not sure if it has been fixed on GOG/Steam, but the Humble DRM-Free build was certainly not fixed. It's certainly the most crash-happy game that I have played in a while. Now, to buy Oath in Felghana or not? It's pretty expensive, so I'll have to think about it. Hmmm....
For the time being, let's update the list