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Ys VIII: Lacrimosa Of Dana

Posted by GG Goblin On August - 30 - 2017

Taking Adol on another adventure.

Barely a week will go past without another JRPG gracing one console or another, which is no bad thing for fans of the genre. However, I can’t help but feel that JRPG fatigue is a real thing and that all of the JRPGs seem to be molding into one. While different games may vary in quality, it is becoming more and more difficult to actually find a game of this genre that stands out from the rest. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, the latest in the long running Ys series from Nihon Falcom, bucks this trend with exciting exploration, enjoyable combat and a cast that players will actually remember once the lengthy tale is done.


Fans of the Ys series will already know the lead character Adol Christin, but Ys VIII doesn’t require any previous knowledge of the series and is just as inviting to new players as veterans. This adventure begins with Adol, along with a selection of other characters, on a ship that suddenly gets attacked by monstrous tentacles from the sea. Despite the best efforts of the crew to fight back the monstrosity, the ship goes down and Adol eventually wakes up alone on an unknown beach.

It doesn’t take long for Adol to find other survivors of the shipwreck, along with all manner of monsters roaming the island. It turns out that this may be the mysterious island of Seiren and happens to be home to some particularly large and imposing beasts that Adol and his party will have to deal with at some point.


Fairly quickly, Adol is given the overall job of mapping the island and finding any other survivors that may have washed up elsewhere. While this is going on, the other survivors will be setting up a base camp of sorts as they all work out how to get off this monster-infested island. The base camp acts as a hub of sorts, with various different stations gradually set up as survivors are found that will allow Adol to trade materials and the like that have been found while exploring, for new equipment and upgrades. Also, the more survivors that are found, each of whom come with their own little stories and requests, the more benefits that the player will get in other aspects of the game. This could be to open up new areas of the island for exploration, or to help with defending the base camp from waves of monsters in a mini game.

There is a lot more to the story than just finding survivors and getting off the island. Seiren has plenty of mysteries of its own to explore, not least of which revolves around the titular character of Dana, who starts appearing in Adol’s dreams. While there may be a lot of familiar aspects to the story, the small cast of recurring characters makes everything feel relevant and exciting. The main characters may suffer from the usual JRPG tropes, but have more personality than usual and are enjoyable to play with. Overall, the story in Ys VIII is memorable, which is more than I can say about many JRPGs of late.


Of course, all of this will be for nought without a decent combat system to take care of all those nasty monsters. Fortunately, Ys VIII doesn’t disappoint with fast paced battles that require a certain amount of skill. Players control a single character, while the AI controls the other members of the team, and players can switch between the team members on the fly with a press of a button. There are three different fighting styles in the game, and different monsters are weaker against certain styles, making switching important. Skills are unlocked over time which allow for more impressive attacks, and block and dodge abilities can give the player an advantage if timed correctly. The combat system is quite easy to learn, and doesn’t seem as bloated with different techniques as some other JRPGs. But that doesn’t mean the game is a pushover, and some of the more tricky monsters will prove testing even at the standard difficulty level. For those who fancy themselves masters of the system, there are plenty of options to increase the difficulty.

Visually, Ys VIII is fairly average. While it is certainly not the worst looking JRPG on the current generation of consoles, it is a long way from being the best. The character models and animations are all good, and the monsters are cool (in a Monster Hunter kind of way), but the environments are fairly bland and lacking in variety. Still, it doesn’t have any bearing on the actual gameplay, so it is easy to overlook.


Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is a JRPG that focuses on exploration, and the small number of characters makes everything feel much more intimate. The combat system is simple to learn, but deep enough to offer a challenge even at the normal difficulty. Even the story manages to be enjoyable without getting bloated and overly complex. In a sea of JRPGs, Ys VIII is an island that JRPG fans would do well to get shipwrecked on.




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