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This page is about both Ys 1 and 2, due to them being pretty much very similar, and often bundled with each other.
If you aren't talking about both games, be sure to specify which one you're addressing.
User 1's NotesEdit
Add anything you feel like adding here.
Ys 1 and 2 are best played together. They're very similar, but 1 goes by pretty fast and 2 is an improvement on it. However, you won't really quite get what's going on in 2 without playing 1. On top of that, it's a bit hard to go back to 1 after playing 2.
Ys 1 is pretty simple, but has a decent bit of side-questing and a neat little pinch of non-linearity for a game made so long ago. Some of the puzzles can be a bit vexing at times, but there's nothing too hard. Outside of the main dungeons though, the world is rather small, which is a common complaint about Ys 1. The bosses can be a bit cheap too in earlier versions, due to slower gameplay versus 2 and later sequels. Thankfully, later re-releases made things faster and gave a fairer challenge. It's not going to win "Epic of the Year", but it's an amusing little game to play through at least once.
Ys 2 definitely kicked things up a notch. 2 is faster than 1 (this somewhat depends on the version you play), the world is many times bigger with more towns and people, the puzzles, dungeons, and bosses are more challenging, and there's magic! Magic, specifically fireball magic, kind of downplays the "bump-and-hump swordplay" from 1, but that may or may not for the better, depending on your outlook. It definitely gives more gameplay options to say the least.
As for which version to play, I'll break them down, and note a few things specific to some of them:
Ys 1 (SMS): It's better than the NES version, being more colorful and playing just a bit better. However, compared to all other versions after, it's one of the most bare-bone versions out there. Retro-buffs likely won't have much concern about this, but people fresh to Ys might, especially if they're coming straight from the games on Steam. Still, when boosted with the FM Patch (which also fixes a few translation errors like referring to Adol as "ARON"), the music sounds quite nice, if you're an FM-enthusiast. Without the FM patch though, the music is a bit tinny in places, though is bearable. I wouldn't recommend playing without it though, it's kinda hard to go back to PSG from FM.
Ys 2 (NES/FC): Currently not listed, but I'll get on to that later. Pretty nice, has a BIG speed boost compared to Ys 1 NES and SMS. The music isn't the best it could be, but still sounds quite nice. One issue though is that it's Japanese-only, so unless you patch it, you won't know what's going on, which turns into a problem later on with puzzles. Because Ys 1 and 2 on NES were released separately, you can't transfer anything from Ys 1 to this game. Kind of a given, I guess. Until the PC remix, this was the fastest version of Ys 2, even beating out the TCD version.
Ys Book I & II (Turbo CD): For the longest time, this was the definitive version of the 2 games to play. Nice 16-bit "grafx", some neat cutscenes, voices, and CD-based music which blasts through the speakers making you feel like you're playing some kind of heavy metal epic. There's also 2 gameplay speeds, for a slower-paced play or faster one. This speeds up both Adol and enemies though, so beware. The crowning achievement of this version though, is carrying over your levels and stats from the ending of Ys 1 over to the start of Ys 2. It's the only version I know of that does this too. This makes the games feel much more connected as a result. Unfortunately, you MUST to beat Ys 1 to play Ys 2. Not an issue if you've never done it before, but can be a bit tedious if you already did or know what happens in 1. Also, the only thing you keep is your levels and stats, no money or gear, except the books of Ys. Oh well. There had to be SOME catch, right?
Ys 1&2 Complete (PC): Probably the version that most people will play (through one means or another, if you get my drift). The fastest and smoothest version yet, and allows diagonal movement as well, making control less stiff and exploration easier. Best looking version and has some neat effects. It's the best all-around version, but unfortunately Japanese-only, requiring you to mess with some settings and apply patches to make it work and display English text.
Legacy of Ys: Books I & II (DS): Until Chronicles, this was the one of the only (official) ways to play both Ys 1 and 2 on the go, barring laptops. Unlike mediocre cellphone ports, the controls flow quite well, the screens are bigger, and it's more so based on Complete than previous efforts. There's 2 styles of play, one being a strange semi-traditional touchscreen mode, where you swipe to guide Adol, and he auto-attacks any foes mid-way, and the other being a more action-ish variant, where you control him with the D-pad and actually attack with a button. There's an extra dungeon and boss in Ys 1, along with an extra tier of gear as well, which makes a later dungeon segment a bit easier. Some issues with this, is that the visuals are zoomed in most of the time (except for some sections along with bosses), some backgrounds are uglier than on PC, and there's occasional lag for some bosses. There's some DS-specific extras as well, such as a weird multiplayer mode, but fuck if I know how that works. One neat DS-specific factor is a combo system which makes enemies drop some more gold depending on your performance. Quite handy!
Ys I & II Chronicles (PSP): Currently the best portable release of 1 and 2. More faithful to the PC version, so while it lacks the few bonuses from the DS, it's generally all-around superior to it. Being able to use different portrait and music sets adds a nice bit of customization as well. As it is widescreen, it allows more to display as well. In terms of translation, XSeed did a pretty good job on par with Atlus's. However, XSeed did include a few easter egg jokes, which may come off as weird to those not in the know, specifically "Ouch! What do you do?" (from Goonies 2 on NES). Don't worry, they never come up in the main game, so don't think they tried to "may-may" the script up or any bullshit like that.
That's about all I have to say on this.