Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand is the fifth primary installment of the Ys franchise, developed and published by Falcom and was released on the Super Famicom in Japan on December 29, 1995. Set some time after the events in Ys III: Wanderers from Ys, series protagonist Adol Christin and his traveling companion Dogi head for the city of "Xandria", located southeast from the continent of Eresia, upon hearing of the eponymous lost city of "Kefin" that had vanished five hundred years ago. Unlike his previous adventures that were set on Eresia, Xandria is located on the continent of "Afroca", which would be revisted down the line in Ys SEVEN.
Building on the Ys III game-play, Ys V retains having a dedicated attack and jump buttons, including defending with a shield rather than use the "Bump Attack" system, though it keeps the classic bird's-eye view perspective that Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen and Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished The Final Chapter had. Magic is also overhauled, where higher-level spells can only be cast by holding down a button, something that would be repeated later in future games. Finally, magic and physical skills are leveled up seperately rather than simultaneously.
In a twist, Falcom released a second version called Ys V Expert with increased difficulty less than three months later on March 22, 1996 for the same platform, published by Koei instead. A Video Game Remake for the PlayStation 2 would be released on March 20, 2006, but the developer would be Arc System Works, while Taito published it. To date, Ys V is the only non-Spin-Off Ys installment to not receive a localization.
Ys V has the following examples:
- Black Magic: The Philosopher's stone in Ys V is powered by human sacrifices.
- Checkpoint Starvation: In the Very Definitely Final Dungeon of Ys V, you have to fight three very tough bosses, with no save points in between. Unlike previous games where you could save anywhere, this one only allows you to save at inns in town.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: While generally averted in most entries of the series, Ys V has quite a number of collectibles which can be found by bumping into things in peoples' houses.
- The Magic Goes Away: The defeat of Jabir and the destruction of the philosopher's stone cause the end of the mythical kingdom of Kefin and its alchemy.
- No Ontological Inertia: The city of Kefin was sealed away five hundred years ago. A key part of the villain's plan is unsealing the city without the entire place and its population spontaneously aging 500 years the moment they return. Thanks to a MacGuffin Adol received early in the game, he is able to get the civilian population out without them rapidly aging, while leaving the city and the surviving villains to the ravages of time.
- Oddball in the Series: Ys V made many changes and added elements to the formula, some of which didn't stick in its successors.
- Taken away from its PC origins, Ys V is the only installment where a cartridge-based platform (SNES) was its only release platform. Later games like Ys SEVEN and Ys: Memories of Celceta were also first released on dedicated platforms, but they were usually ported to PC down the line with visual improvements. This platform change wound up limiting the Ys V's graphical capabilities. Also because of this, rather than the pseudo-orchestral, CD-quality soundtrack Ys had become famous for, Ys V stuck to an all synth score, although it still sounds alright.
- Dogi, Adol's long-standing partner, is not in this game. The PS2 version added him back.
- Lore-wise, Ys V is oddly divorced from the other games. The game doesn't have an opening of Adol moving on from his prior adventures (like Ys III: Wanderers from Ys and Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys) and references to other installments are none, which might be part of the intended exoticism of the game's setting. This direction was ignored in the next game, Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, which started to feature many references to previous games. Once again, the PS2 version of Ys V also added references to other games.
- Point of No Return:
- The town of Felt in gets buried by a sandstorm after the return of Kefin.
- Kefin and The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in V (at least you can't save after the second one).
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: In Ys V, the philosopher's stone that powers the kingdom of Kefin requires human sacrifices.
- Private Military Contractors: Adol tries his hand at being a mercenary in this game. Dorman, his boss in this game, hires him to stop an environmental disaster, but he is betrayed by Dorman and is forced to kill him when he decides to kill Adol. Dorman is only interested in Kefin's alchemy to conquer the world.
- Put on a Bus: This is the first main installment where Dogi doesn't appear at all (later followed by Origin, but that game was justified for being a distant prequel). His presence was so missed, the PlayStation 2 remake brought him back into the picture again.
- Retool: Disregarding Ys III (which was more Genre Shift since it didn't have the classic bird's-eye-view perspective), Ys V is the game to remove the "Bump Attack" mechanic and have a dedicated attack and jump buttons. The bump attack won't return in the series after this, except for remakes. It also overhauled magic system, and elaborated on a relatively unexplored portion of the Ys setting and lore.
- Treacherous Quest Giver: Dorman, who hires Adol to go on the main quest, is actually one of the villains.