Today is a big day for RPG fans gaming on the PlayStation Vita as the latest entry in the epic Ys series, Memories of Celceta, finally arrives. To celebrate, XSEED Games has offered up a brand new launch trailer, as well as a bunch of new details concerning the portable adventure.

Coming from Nihon Falcom and localized by the team at XSEED, Ys: Memories of Celceta is actually a re-telling of the series’ fourth entry; one that, until now, has never made its way to the states. As mentioned in this week’s PSN update post and reiterated this morning via the PlayStation Blog, however, this is far more than a reskin of a classic title, as Memories of Celceta has been built from the ground up for the PlayStaiton Vita.

The nice thing about the Ys series is that, even though Adol Christin is the traditional main character (he with the fiery red hair) and the stories take place within the same world, the games can easily be played on their own in any order, as most of the stories are self-contained, take place in brand new regions and often star a new cast of characters. In other words, Memories of Celceta is perfect for series veterans and newcomers alike.

This is especially true as, due to a less-than-successful visit to the Celceta Forest, Adol finds himself suffering from a bit of amnesia at the beginning of the game. I know, I know, that’s an old RPG trope, but it certainly helps to make a reintroduction to the world and systems make more sense from the plot perspective. Also, you’ll spend much of the game tracking down Adol’s lost memories, so it serves to progress the story and unravel various mysteries, too, rather than give an excuse for having someone re-teach Adol how to fight.

Gaming Blend received its review copy of Memories yesterday morning so, unfortunately, there hasn’t been nearly enough time to plow through this epic RPG and put a review together in time for today’s launch. Since the embargo has officially come and gone, however, I can at least give some hands-on impressions from my first several hours with the game. You can either run with that or wait until our full review finally drops, most likely after the holidays.

Memories looks like a particularly well done PS2 game in action and features some absolutely gorgeous cutscenes, character art and menus. While there’s plenty of side questing, crafting and looting to be had, the main focus of the story early on is mapping out the Celceta Forest region, a massive region crawling with monsters, resources, dungeons and the occasional boss fight.

Combat is solid, allowing you to string attacks together, guard, unleash special moves and abilities and even switch between party members on the fly. Having items and some abilities mapped to the touchscreen works especially well, as you’re able to quickly bring in a potion and get back to fighting without ever taking your eyes off the screen.

Other nice little touches help make the game especially player-friendly, including the introduction of fast travel early on, checkpoints that are spread out enough to be challenging but not unfair, the ability to stand still and automatically heal up slowly outside of battle, swimming that doesn’t suck, back-touch commands to quickly alter the behavior of your party, etc.

I’m only a handful of hours in, but already I’m enjoying Memories of Celceta quite a bit. If your interest is officially piqued, you can pick the game up for the Vita starting today. Otherwise, look for our official review in the near future.

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