Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (イースVI -ナピシュテムの匣- Īsu Shikkusu -Napishutemu no Hako- , Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim) is a Japanese Action RPG developed and published by the Nihon Falcom Corporation and the sixth installment in the Ys video game series. It was first released in 2003 for Microsoft Windows-based personal computers. Not counting the Eternal/Complete remakes of Ys I & II, it was the first new Ys game released by Falcom in eight years.
Ys was ported to the PlayStation 2 in 2005 and to the PlayStation Portable in 2006 by Konami for worldwide release. It was notable for being the first English release of the series since Ys III: Wanderers from Ys.
Ys VI expands on the mechanics introduced in Ys III and V in that players are given much more control over Adol including the ability to jump and control his attacks (in Ys I, II and IV, enemies were attacked simply by walking into them). Unlike previous attempts, the pacing is faster and control over Adol's actions are more tight and responsive. Other than these improvements to the action, the gameplay is structured similarly to past Ys games and other console RPGs. The same formula would later be used for subsequent Ys games.
Graphically, the gameplay takes place in areas presented in 3D graphics. Character, monster and minor bosses are presented using pre-rendered 3D sprites. Larger bosses are presented using full 3D models.
The story begins after Adol's ship is attacked by a fleet of Romun ships, forced to sail into a unknown area, they encounter a large storm. Adol is swept off the vessel while trying to rescue a fellow sailor and washed ashore by the vortex that surrounds the islands.
The initial release of the game was the "Limited Edition". After this sold out, Falcom released a standard edition of the game with some new features. Two new difficulties and a Time Attack mini-game where you fight through all the game's bosses were added. However, there was never a patch or upgrade released to initial buyers, so players wanting these new features had to buy the game again. Years later, Falcom would similarly add features to Ys Origin, this time, however, initial buyers were offered an upgrade disc for the cost of shipping. The "PC Vista version" is the same as the Standard Edition with support for Windows Vista.
Konami made several additions and changes when porting the game to the PlayStation 2. The most notable were the inclusion of both English and Japanese voice acting to all characters (including NPCs) and several new optional areas referred to as "Alma's Trials." While the Japanese voice acting could be selected in the NTSC-U version, the PAL version had all Japanese voice acting removed. Konami also added new FMV sequences, though the original animated sequences could still be selected through a code. Blood and gore effects were removed due to console games requiring a rating. Lastly, they changed the character and monster graphics from pre-rendered 3D sprites to fully-polygonal 3D models. While this allowed for much better animation it also changed Adol's appearance based on his equipment.
The PlayStation Portable port does not include any of the changes of the PS2 port except for the removal of blood and gore effects. However, the US and European versions came with their own set of bonuses including some extra fetch-quests that unlock a few mini-games and an image/media gallery. These were later included in a "Special Edition" re-release in Japan. However, the game is noted for having particularly long and frequent load times. All voice-acting has also been removed from this version.
Soundtrack releases for The Ark of Napishtim include:
- Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim Original Sound Track (2003): The complete soundtrack to Ys VI.
- The Songs of Zemeth - Ys VI Vocal Collection (2005): A small collection of vocal arrangements of Ys VI tracks. Included is a second disc which contains vocal-free versions of these arrangements.