Review: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA (PlayStation Vita)
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA: Official GBAtemp ReviewPlayStation Vita 1,970 view 6 likes 20 comments
- Release Date (NA): September 12, 2017
- Release Date (EU): September 15, 2017
- Release Date (JP): May 15, 2017
- Publisher: NIS America, Inc.
- Developer: Nihon FalcomCorporation
- Genres: Action RPG
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
- Also For: Computer, PlayStation 4
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Aboard the “Lombardia” passenger ship, we’re reunited with Adol Christin and the ever-faithful Dogi who are both heading to the continent of Eresia in search of, you guessed it, new adventures.
Like the adventure-magnet this duo is, before you can even look up the meaning of Lacrimosa (Latin for "weeping" by the way), the ship is under attack by some giant tentacles that sink the Lombardia.
As he comes to, Adol realizes that, of course, he has been shipwrecked on the shores of the cursed island that they set out to evade while sailing; "Isle of Seiren".
Like every cursed island, everyone who’s been (un)lucky enough to visit never came back to tell the tale, let alone send postcards, and skeletons are littered around the island to testify.
Oh and to fill in the trope, the Isle of Seiren is infested with a hostile fauna ranging from rabid dogs to dinosaurs to frickin’ dragons. No joke.
On the island, you’ll have to help Adol look for other castaways, set up Castaway Village, while exploring the island and finding a way to escape.
What about the blue-haired girl all over the cover art, you ask? Well, that’s Dana who shows up in Adol's dreams and is actually a vision from the island's ancient civilization. Being able to see into the future, Dana is herself aware of Adol’s presence on her side of the timeline and you’ll be swapping places between the two at times, in order for Dana to help Adol progress.
While it is an interesting mechanic, Dana’s section takes quite some time to be fleshed out and even then it does not feel as compelling as it was intended to be.
The game, like others in the Ys series, mostly focuses on combat which you’ll be doing for the most part of the adventure. It's surprisingly simple with one attack button but combined with the use of skills, blocking and dodging, things spice up and become more technical. For example blocking right when an enemy strikes will activate “Flash Guard” which nullifies all damage and all attacks briefly become critical hits, while dodging before an enemy’s attack will activate “Flash Move”, making you briefly invincible.
To aid you in combat, the Skills mechanic is present. Up to 4 different skills can be equipped at a time per character, which are powered-up attacks that require Skill Points to be unleashed, and your choice of skills increase once learned in battle and unlocked.
Each character also has one of three different attack types - Slash, Strike, and Pierce - and using the right attack type against an enemy will activate “Break” which will lower the enemy’s defense, thereby making them vulnerable to all attack types.
During battles, you’ll manage a party of 3 members with the player controlling one character who can be swapped on the fly with any of the others and the other 2 members will be controlled by a surprisingly effective AI that can even trigger “Break” for you.
Ys VIII adds a certain layer of “realism” to being castaways. In Castaway Village, a barter system has been setup where you’ll trade items you’ve found while exploring with the local merchants that offer other items and weapons that are more useful to you. Additionally, in the makeshift village you’ll be able to take side quests and improve your relationship with the other castaways which not only help to flesh out the NPCs but they can also help you in certain situations later on. Fun additions like the fishing mini-game, growing crops and cooking meals further add to the game's atmosphere.
There’re also the addition of wave-like attacks by hordes of monsters that threaten the village but these sometimes feel out of place. For example, you might get an alert about an imminent attack on the village while you’re on an errand on the other side of the island, but have to stop right in your tracks and travel back. There is indeed quite some backtracking while on the island but luckily the fast travel feature allows you to bypass this monotony and get you where you need to be in a jiffy.
Not only is Ys VIII a huge game, taking easily over 30 hours to complete the main quest (completionists can count even more), but the world it takes place in is huge with lots of places to explore while charting out the map, discovering hidden treasures and items. However, the graphics for PS Vita version are not very striking and at times the environment can seem poorly rendered.
Additionally, I’ve experienced some drops in framerate, which while they are not game-breaking they are nonetheless noticeable.
Ys or No?
I set out to play Ys VIII with an open mind since I never really got into the series. And this opus, despite its cliché setting, slow story progression and drops in framerate, proved to be quite entertaining, rich in features and not at all unfriendly to newcomers to the Ys saga.
Not sure if intentional or lost in translation...
+ Solid combat system
+ Feature-rich game enjoyable on the go
- Clichéd plot
- Slow story progression
While the game itself is entertaining, its plot feels clichéd from the get-go and the story itself progresses quite slowly in this 30+ hour game.
Ys VIII is a feature-rich game with easy enough controls to be able to be picked up by veterans and newcomers alike.
It's a massive game with lots to do and explore.
out of 10
(not an average)
A great new adventure awaits fans of the series and those looking to try out Ys for the first time should have their fair amount of fun.