[PS4] YIIK: A Postmodern RPG Review
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG (YIIK is pronounced why-two-kay) is a turn-based RPG set in a weird town in which you’ll make some friends and solve a supernatural mystery. Find out if you should rush to buy it or wait for a sale in our YIIK: A Postmodern RPG review!
The game is a colorful 3D Japanese-Style RPG. It is set in the 1990s and is based around a mystery in a small town. There are eight characters who are message board friends. They work together to investigate the mystery around a missing viral video star called Sammy Pack, who goes missing in a supernatural event. The player can control the characters in turn-based battle where normal everyday objects are used as weapons. The combat consists of turn-based moves with timing based actions which can increase the damage of an attack. There are six dungeons to explore which include battles, puzzles which have to be solved and traps that have to be avoided. There are approximately twenty-five hours of gameplay.
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG starts by asking a few questions about our gender and name. It then goes on and on asking you to name most of your real-life friends, which at first I thought was going to end up being a trivial throwaway section, but there were so many questions asked that at some point I was like “okay, can I just set all those to default and start playing the game”?
YIIK is set on April 1999, with the main character Alex wandering around town when he receives a strange phone call that will change his life. As we explore the different places, we see a lot of different pop culture references to the late 1990s. The story then goes into some weird territory, and 15 short minutes into the game I was already confused and didn’t know what to do. If you play this one then you better be ready to get lost in the game because no one will hold your hand in YIIK, and if you miss an objective in a dialogue with an NPC, well, good luck finding your way out of that one!
For instance, the first thing that we must do is reach the mall in order to fetch some food. It isn’t clearly explained WHERE the mall is, and I got lost right at the beginning of the game because I thought it was in a neighboring city. I then fought enemies in an arena which is right next to the first city, with monsters being level 5 while the main hero is, of course, only a lowly level 1. I thought that these combats were hellish but thought I had to do them right away – which after finding the mall, it became clear that this was an objective for later in the game. If the arena is an objective for later in the game, then why was it closer than the main objective?
Now, with YIIK being a turn-based RPG, we have to talk about the battle system. Before starting, do make a note that every battle encounter is unique and scripted, so there is only a set number of fights available in the whole game. At first, I was confused by the battle system, but even after playing the thing for several hours, it never stopped feeling as if the whole battle system is too weird for its own good. Each character has a unique attack, and each attack is a quick-time event, and the timings is really aggressive, so you’ll most likely miss half/most of the attacks, which in turn just makes the battles longer than they should be, and they’re already long as is to begin with.
The battle pacing is incredibly slow as you have to constantly wait for either the game to load (more on this later) or wait for the characters to be ready to attack. Somewhere along the way, we learn that the battles can be fast-forwarded by pressing the R2 button (which will naturally make you miss more quick-time events), but then again, instead of moving up the battle speed with a trigger, why couldn’t it be quicker? This isn’t also the first game to use quick-time events in the battles. Super Mario RPG tackled this perfectly 20 years ago, as we only needed to press one button at the right time to make a critical attack or defend from an attack, but without any consequences, if we missed the timing. If I could summarize YIIK battles, I’d say they were long, boring, and needlessly frustrating.
Another missed opportunity in this game is that it often relies on precision platforming, but the camera angle is always placing you at a disadvantage from your point of view. In the first few hours of gameplay alone I met more than a few of these segments that were quite frustrating and hard to complete.
As for the game’s presentation, the visual game engine is below average, giving this one a weird look that is not going to be everyone’s cup of coffee. As you explore, you can see the boundaries of the world being textured with a very low polygon count, which honestly isn’t that big of an issue considering that’s what the team was going for. The soundtrack is jazzy which is fitting for the experience, but the voice acting was below average. I also need to mention the loading times which I teased earlier. They are incredibly long as you’ll need to wait for as much as 11 real-life seconds (I clocked it) every time a battle encounter is met, and another 10 seconds or so every time you exit from one back into the world. And this is with the PS4 console’s fan going into overdrive as soon as you start playing and until you close the game.
Finally, I thought that this game lacked polish. For instance, the save file name is weird (has a sort of code appended to it instead of stating the character location for example), and the playing time tracked by the game isn’t accurate, running at least two or three times as fast as real time. Another example is when a character loses all of his HP since the game mentions that said character has perished, while in fact its more like said character has fainted since you can bring everyone back “to life” instantly with an item called “smelling salts,” which obviously isn’t strong enough to bring characters back from the dead.
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG tried to do something different onPS4 but just forgot to pack in the fun factor that someone expects when diving into a video game. Each time I encountered a fight, the battles became more and more tedious, and the story didn’t catch my interest. I was curious to see how the game would unfold and to give this one a chance, but the frustrating battle system totally broke the experience for me. The game certainly didn’t manage to stick its landing, so a couple of patches and updates are definitely needed to improve the overall experience.
This YIIK: A Postmodern RPG review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Ackk Studios.