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Video Game / Ys SEVEN

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The eighth primary installment of the Ys franchisenote , Ys SEVEN was originally released in 2009 exclusively for the Sony PlayStation Portable, until it was ported to Microsoft Windows in 2012, but only for China. However, XSEED Games released a worldwide Steam version in 2017.

Set after Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, series protagonist Adol Christin and his traveling companion Dogi journey to the "Kingdom of Altago", located west of Xandria on the continent of Afroca, where they are commissioned by King Kiemarl to investigate the unsettling increase of natural disasters plaguing Altago. The two discover an ancient shrine dedicated to one of the "Five Great Dragons" that watch over Altago, and is granted its power. Spurred on by the warning he receives, Adol must locate the four remaining shrines if Altago is to avert a prophesied disaster.

The first Ys title to introduce an active party system, players have the ability to form a party of three allied characters where they control the lead member while the AI commands the other two. Unlike previous Ys games where elemental weapons are used, damage in Ys SEVEN is determined by the type of weapon wielded by a party member via "slashing", "striking" and "piercing" attributes. Furthermore, characters can perform different attack skills by filling a skill gauge as they damage enemies. Finally, by blocking at the last moment before an enemy attack connects, a "Flash Guard" will activate, wherein no damage will be incurred against players, while granting them a Critical Hit for the next successful attack dealt at enemies.

This game has the following examples:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: While the Level Cap is 99, Experience Points earned per monster decreases with each level to the point that even leveling from 65 to 66 can take an hour. Most people beat the game (on Normal) at around 60.
  • Aerith and Bob: Used for siblings Mustafa and Cruxie - "Mustafa" is a real Arabic name, thus it fits for someone from a fictional location based on a part of North Africa. "Cruxie", however, is a name that doesn't sound like something someone from North Africa would have.
  • All in a Row: All current party members are displayed as the player moves about.
  • Arbitrary Head Count Limit: Despite having six playable characters in the party, only three characters can participate in a battle.
  • Asshole Victim: Prime Minister Orbus is one of these when he is murdered despite advocating the destruction of Old Town where Altago City's poor residents live in order to replace it with spaces for merchants.
  • Artifact Title: SEVEN has nothing to do with the eponymous Ys, nor does it involve the franchise's Myth Arc.
  • Authority in Name Only: After the king is killed, Aisha discovers that she has no real power as the Prime Minster and his son take control of the day-to-day affairs of government and the military in Altago and outright ignore her when she tells them to discontinue the policy decisions they make for personal gain.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • Subverted with Scias and Tia - they only acted kind and helpful as part of their disguise, while not to avert suspicion, as it was to ensure no one saw the warning signs of the Winds Of Destruction outside of the slowly growing Titanos attacks. When Alicia tries to imply this, she gets coldly laughed at for thinking so.
    • Double Subverted when Scias admits to respecting the king and when Tia reveals that Maya's illness is part of her motivation to cleanse Altago.
  • BFS: A couple of Adol's Strike-type weaponry fit the bill.
  • Big Bad: Tialuna, the Maiden of Demise, with Rul-Ende, The Root of All Existence as the Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Boss-Only Level: The Moon Dragon is fought immediately without any dungeon to go through.
  • Boss Subtitles: As per the series, and mixes it up a bit with one boss having the subtitle "big bug beast".
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Played straight due to Adol's role in the plot as the Dragon Warrior.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: After getting the last crest from the Sea Dragon on Ruin Island, Adol's party returns to their ship only to be attacked by a giant Titano. Just in the nick of time, the Dragon Knights show up to save them; unfortunately, that is only half-true - they are actually here to rescue Aisha and arrest Adol for "kidnapping" her and assassinating King Kiemarl, who was murdered mere moments after Adol the latter's bedroom!
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Ys SEVEN gets a lot darker once players complete three of the sanctums. The Wind of Destruction arrives at Altago, the city is in chaos and people are afraid, and the majority of the Dragon Knights are slaughtered by Scias, who is revealed to be King Kiemarl's assassin. As if that isn't enough, it's revealed that Scias is working for Tia, who's the Eldress of the Moon tribe and wants to destroy Altago.
  • Character Development: Raud starts off as a Jerkass who uses his status to cause trouble about in Altago City, but after the death of his father, he starts cleaning up his act and by the end of the game even becomes Maya's official guardian.
  • Continuity Nod: The adventures in The Ark of Napishtim are mentioned when the party meets with Geis.
  • Cute Mute: Maya, who hasn't spoken since the death of her parents, though she's still capable of uttering sounds. She communicates through gestures and facial expressions.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Ys SEVEN goes out of its way to explain why there's no good at being The Chosen One because it sucks. Furthermore, characters revealing they are Evil All Along can come from all directions, including party members and Adol's staunchest allies made throughout the adventure.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Flash Guard can be a lot harder than dodging in most cases since it requires good timing or the player will take critical damage. Successfully guarding creates a window of time in which the player can land guaranteed Critical Hits, which can be used to maximize normal skill and Extra Skill damage.
  • Disappears into Light: After the Root of All Existence is defeated, the Dragons and Tia disappear into the light afterwards.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Ruins Island acts as one before the story goes through some major shifts.
  • Disney Death: Cruxie dies from Iskan Fever after the party meets with Angue-Barl, but is soon resurrected with the Flame Dragon Stone and joins the quest on behalf of her brother.
  • Drop The Hammer: Mustafa uses hammers, as does Cruxie when she replaces him.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Lampshaded when a man asks Adol to go find some earrings for him after the village elder already told him (and everyone else in the village) about Adol and how important he is, "Strange men with weapons are the best at finding lost earrings, right?"
  • Duel Boss:
    • Adol is challenged to a duel by Geis, as he wants to test his strength.
    • Ygses Toluga is a Titano that Adol fights by himself as part of his execution.
    • Played with the Final Boss: Adol has to fight the top section by himself while his party members fight the rest of the body parts.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This was the first game in the series to use a party system with Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors for combat, and it has a few differences from how it would work in later entries. For example, players need to hold down the attack button to use a Charge Attack, but future installments would have it charge automatically. Another example is that attack skills can only be acquired by equipping specific weapons and can only be used independently of said weapons after performing them enough times. In later games, attack skills are automatically learned via level up or using a previous skill enough times and can be used regardless of weaponry.
  • Evil All Along: Tia and Scias reveal themselves as the villains of the game when is engulfed by Wind of Destruction.
  • Foreshadowing: Done subtly, but the fact that Adol makes it to port on a boat without any sort of Sinking Ship Scenario and Dogi becomes a party member rather than be relegated at the Only Shop in Town like previous games should be the first indicators that Ys SEVEN isn't going to be a typical Ys story.
  • Full-Boar Action: The second boss battle is against a large boar named "Es Gallion" in the Shannoa Forest.
  • Fugitive Arc: Happens after the Disc-One Final Dungeon, where the heroes, especially Adol, get framed for the king's murder.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: The Wind of Destruction acts as this, purifying Altago by wiping out all life on it, including the land itself to begin anew as a blank slate, if the world balance is broken.
  • Genocide Backfire: The Big Bad is the head of the Iskan tribe, which had been virtually wiped out centuries before by the royal family of Altago when they decided to turn the land from a coalition of five tribes into the current kingdom.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Old Waterway is filled with these, and at the end of it, Adol and company have to fight an even bigger one named "Valisa Luti".
  • Gone Horribly Right: The five tribes of Altago all have their own roles to fulfill, such as Edonas having the role of increasing the land's prosperity and Iska ensuring that the priorities of the other four are balanced. Unfortunately, Edonas took their goal of prosperity too far, leading them to force the Iskans into hiding in order to take their land. As a result, the balance of Altago is ruined to the point of causing the Winds of Destruction.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Sigroon replaces Aisha for some time in the latter's absence and fights the same way, right down to weapon usage. This also happens with Mustafa letting Cruxie fight alongside Adol as he stays behind to keep watch over his village.
  • Harder Than Hard: Nightmare difficulty significantly boosts enemies' Hit Points and damage multiplier, while reducing item capacity, SP gained, Extra gauge speed, gold drops, enemy stun time, and the player's damage multiplier.
  • Heroic Mime: Aside from battles, Adol has no written dialogue, but his interactions are relayed to the player ("Adol explained X" and so on).
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first fight with Scias - players can knock down this character's health a little bit, but once a certain point is reached, all attacks stop dealing damage and players must allow the boss to win.
  • Item Crafting: Players can create certain equipment and items by gathering the right synthesis materials.
  • "Just Frame" Bonus: Activating Flash Guard just before an enemy attack hits the player character will negate the hit, remove the Cooldown on Flash Guard, fill the SP and Extra gauges, and guarantee Critical Hits for a short time. If the player guards too early, the enemy's attack will deal critical damage instead.
  • Kangaroo Court: Subverted - the evidence against Adol with regards to King Kiemarl's death is actually pretty damning. He is proven to have been the only person in Kiemarl's presence at the time of his murder, that he has ties with Altago's political rival nation (The Romun Empire), his constant insistence that he's "just an adventurer" is already suspicious in the eyes of many, the whole reason he even comes to Altago is due to his ties with an infamous crime lord, he vanishes from the kingdom at exactly the same time as Aisha's "abduction", and the "stolen" Royal Seal is found in his possession.
  • Lazy Backup: In spite of the entire party being freely switchable outside of boss battles, not to mention appearing in cutscenes within isolated boss arenas that lack physical exits, if the lead three party members are knocked out, it's game over.
  • The Magic Goes Away: The defeat of Rul-Ende causes the Dragon Gods' disappearing from Altago forever along with the Wind of Destruction.
  • Marathon Boss: The final fight consists of four phases, all but the first of which takes a long time. The entire battle can easily last upwards of an hour.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Rul-Ende, the Root of All Existence, is neither good nor evil. Instead, it is merely a representation of Altago's current (lack of) balance, which is why it takes the form of an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Noob Bridge: By the time players get to the third or fourth boss, Big Bug Beast "Zeran Fith" and Rock Monster "Ghilda Ros" respectively, they may have spent upwards of 15-30 minutes on each if they haven't level up attack skills on any character. This is understandable as skills start off no more powerful than normal attacks, damage-wise.
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: Compared to Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin, the player can take a lot more hits before dying, especially if they use items. However, bosses tend to take longer to kill, resulting in longer battles of attrition.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Aisha sports these when she ventures off from the palace as King Incognito.
  • Permanently Missable Content: A number of Sidequests must be completed before a certain event in the story renders them unfinishable.
  • The Reveal: Tia and Scias are Evil All Along, while Adol's role as the Dragon Warriors is to represent all of Altago's hope and act as a Living Sacrifice for its destruction.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Aisha is not content on just sitting in the palace as she actively investigates the on-goings in Altago to help her father.
  • Screw Destiny: The latter half of the game uses this as the characters' motivation after they learn the truth about Adol's real role as the Dragon Warrior.
  • Sequential Boss: The Final Boss consists of fighting the Big Bad with the current party. The rest of the party then takes on the more dangerous villain with three characters taking on the first stage which Turns Red, a different three characters taking on the second stage which also Turns Red and Adol heading into the last stage alone, which consists of two parts. Better hope those healing items lasts.
  • Shout-Out: Now with its own page.
  • Shy Blue-Haired Girl: Tia has many of these elements, until she Subverts it by sitting in judgment over all of Altago.
  • Squishy Wizard: Mishera can deal good damage, but cannot take much punishment, especially at higher difficulties.
  • 20 Bear Asses: Nearly all of the optional Sidequests require players to fetch a certain number of a particular type of item. Justified as they're being asked to fetch things for researchers and merchants who want to study Altago or have goods representing each region or tribe.
  • Vicious Cycle: Altago has been wiped clean several times before the game's events and is now gearing for another.
  • Wham Episode: The Reveal of the Big Bad pulls this off in spades because it's the one character most players do not suspect - Tia. All of a sudden, Non Player Characters who were enemies are now victims, while several NPCs thought as allies are now out for the party's blood. Even the characters can't believe what just happened.
  • Whip of Dominance: Altago's official executioner Ursa is a sadistic and domineering woman who prefers a whip as her personal weapon. She is also in charge of capturing and taming monsters, which she does with her whip. The coliseum, where she resides, is even described as a place of gratuitous whipping.