Because of its Prequel status, this page assumes you have played Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen and Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished The Final Chapter. There will be spoilers for those games.
Ys Origin is an Action RPG Prequel of the Ys franchise, developed and published by Falcom and was released on Microsoft Windows in Japan on December 21, 2006, while XSEED Games published the localization and released it on May 31, 2012 for Steam. Origin was also ported to the PlayStation 4 on February 12, 2017, the PlayStation Vita on May 30, 2017, the Xbox One on April 11, 2018 and the Nintendo Switch on October 1, 2020.
Taking place seven hundred years before the events of Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen, the ancient "Kingdom of Ys" on the island of Esteria is led by the twin goddesses Reah and Feena. Through the "Black Pearl", a powerful artifact that gave rise to the kingdom, its citizens can use magic and perform miracles. When demons suddenly encroach upon the land, bringing swift devastation, the goddesses use the Black Pearl to raise Ys into the sky in order to stave off the demonic threat. Unfortunately, the beasts began constructing the giant "Darm Tower" where they continue launching their assault.
As war continues between the survivors of Ys and the demons, the goddesses seemingly disappear, taking with them the Black Pearl back to the surface. The "Six Priests of Ys", the goddesses' servants, task a search party of knights and sorcerers to secure Reah and Feena's safety and bring them back. However, the only place the goddesses could have went to is none other than the Darm Tower.
Ys Origin retains the 3D game-play used in Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim and Ys: The Oath in Felghana. As a chronological Prequel, it is the first game to not feature Adol Christin as the game's protagonist (outside of bonus game modes like Time Attack and Arena Mode). Instead, three characters and their respective stories serve as the overarching narrative of Ys Origin:
- Yunica Tovah: Granddaughter to Priest Tovah, one of the Six Priests of Ys, she is the ancestor of Goban Tovah from Ys I. Armed with a battle axe, Yunica cannot use magic, but will acquire magical weapons that contain spells that can be cast. Her game-play is reminiscent of Adol's from The Ark of Napishtim and The Oath in Felghana.
- Hugo Fact: A magic-user who launches magic missiles with aid from magical Attack Drones, he is the ancestor to Ys I Big Bad Dark Fact.
- "The Claw": A mysterious white-haired warrior who has joined with the demons, wielding Wolverine Claws, and is pursuing the twin goddesses.
Ys Origin has the following tropes:
- Artificial Stupidity: Some demons who use ramming attacks against the Player Character sometimes charge and then fall into a hole going to the floor below.
- Bad Future: Inverted - Origin shows Esteria's bad past. The surface below Ys has craggy rocks, lava flows, and noxious gas everywhere, except near the Roda Trees, which are essentially oases of lushness in the ruined land. Contrast how it looks 700 years later when Adol arrives, where the surface has recovered and become a small country called Esteria whose fields are lush and has a port town by the ocean, and some descendants of the Six Priests of Ys live there, with Goban (a Tovah descendant) assisting with Adol's raid on Darm Tower and Luta Gemma assisting with the same thing within the tower. In addition, after Adol visits Ys and finishes his journey there in the second game, Ys returns to the surface, reuniting Ys with Esteria.
- Big "NO!": Toal, when the goddesses go to sleep at the climax.
- Chaos Architecture: Darm Tower is described as having constantly shifting floors by one member of the search party.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hugo tends to be rather snarky when talking to his enemies.
- Doomed by Canon: Toal's plan to keep the goddesses from needing to seal the Black Pearl by destroying it himself was never going to work. In fact, this applies to all three routes of Origin as those who have played Ys I will know the demons aren't defeated permanently until Adol arrives 700 years later.
- Dual Boss: Zigzagged - Vagullion is presented as this during Hugo's route, but one of the demons chases after Epona instead. However, the second half of this fight has Vagullion split into two.
- Aloof Big Brother: Toal to Hugo; in Toal's route, it becomes obvious that he cares a lot about Hugo beneath that aloofness.
- Foregone Victory: Hugo's second fight with Pictimos, where he gets a big power boost. If you somehow manage to lose, you get an achievement.
- Golden Ending: XSEED Games refers to The Claw's route as the canon Golden Ending of the game and it's not hard to see why. Toal's father Cain Fact fuses with the Black Pearl and becomes the demonic Darm, whose body is destroyed and sealed within the Black Pearl by the goddesses, including themselves. In addition, the final illustration at the end of game says "To be continued in Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen", the next chronogical game in the franchise and it only appears for this character's route. Finally, the penultimate illustration in The Claw's route is Toal leaving behind his Silver Sword by the Roda Tree, the very weapon Adol finds in Ys I, thus explaining the origin of the sword and why only it can hurt Dark Fact. Ultimately, The Claw is essentially the most important character in the franchise, whose ties to Ys I (and, by extension, Ys II), wouldn't have gotten Adol anywhere.
- Guinea Pig Family: Cain used his sons as test subjects to see whether they can handle being turned into demons in order to see if he himself can handle demonic energy before fusing with the Black Pearl and becoming Darm.
- Heroic BSoD: Yunica enters one after failing to prevent Feena from getting captured.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- In Yunica's route, Roy pulls this to save her from a trap set up by Zava.
- A sizable part of Toal's route is him and Reah each trying to make one on behalf of the other. Unfortunately for Toal, Reah succeeds by sealing herself with the Black Pearl at the end of the game.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The mid-level boss fights of the Guilty Fire level for Yunica's and Hugo's routes are intended to be Unwinnable. You can beat them if you level up enough, but all you get out of it is an achievement and a slightly different scene after the battle (which has the same net effect on the plot).
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens to Dalles at the end of Toal's route by Cain.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Hugo's main issue with his older brother Toal throughout the game. In Toal's route, it turns out that he was aware of Hugo's talent in magic and turned down the position as heir of the Fact family so Hugo, who is more talented, can inherit it.
- Item Crafting: Origin has weapons getting enhanced with Cleria and armor getting blessed with Spiritual Power.
- Long Song, Short Scene: The game features a jazzy remix of the song "Tension", whose original version was played on the upper floors of the Darm Tower in Ys I. As opposed to how the original was used instead of "Tower of the Shadow of Death" as Adol climbed further up the tower (thus giving it plenty of usage), Origin has its version used for a single boss fight.
- One-Man Army: Toal; Justified when he, along with Saul Tovah, fought against the entire army of demons in order to buy time for the palace of Ys to float to the sky before Origin begins.
- Self-Recovery Surprise: Pictimos will consume its flunkies to regain its Hit Points. In addition, this boss full recovers exclusively in Hugo's route
- Shout-Out: One Roo in the game is named "Rootkit", a type of malware.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Played with via the Darm Tower's fourth area being a Shifting Sand Land, yet its environmental properties mirror this trope.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: The "Cleria Sword", which the Golden Ending reveals is the Silver Sword from Ys I, is the only weapon that can defeat the Final Boss in The Claw's route, given to him automatically right before the fight.
- True Final Boss: Cain as Darm, who only appears when Dalles is defeated via playing as Toal.
- Unknown Rival: Rico Gemma is surprised to learn that a Roo also knows how to strengthen weapons with Cleria ore. Hilariously, he declares that he won't lose to them in performing this function, though the Roo most likely has no idea who he is.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Painfully Subverted - Toal's plan to destroy the Black Pearl will mean certain death, while Reah wanting to seal the Black Pearl will cause her and Feena to lose their powers and sleep for untold centuries. Partway through the game, Toal discovers Taking a Third Option that doesn't require one of them to make a Heroic Sacrifice for the sake of the other, but doesn't explains what it is. After the final battle, Reah implements her plan regardless as Toal lies wounded and exhausted from his fight with Darm, begging her not to, leaving the third option forever unspoken and unexecuted.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Hugo is partially motivated by the high expectations that his father Cain set for him. Downplayed with Toal, who broke away from the family teachings, but tells Cain that he wishes they can someday reconcile their differences. Unfortunately for the brothers, their father is a self-serving Jerkass who sees them more as tools than family, meaning they'll never gain his respect.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In Yunica's and Hugo's routes, the ultimate fate of some supporting characters is never mentioned, such as Toal and Epona in Yunica's route and Kishgal in Hugo's route.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Dalles; his hair color is slightly blue, but he has the personality down pat.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
- After the demonic essence Dalles gave to Hugo is activated, he literally goes Drunk with Power. The latter's speech also becomes distorted and is indicated in the English translation with unusual capitalization. Fortunately, it goes away after Epona snaps Hugo out of it.
- Subverted with The Claw: despite having demonic essence flowing within his body, he manages to hold onto his sanity through Heroic Will Power.
- You Killed My Father: Unusually for this trope, Yunica didn't know about this until Kishgal tells her that he was the one who fought and killed her father.