Updated: 6 days ago
Game: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
Company: Falcom, NIS America
Console: Nintendo Switch (2018)
[Launched initially on Vita (2016) then ported to PS4, PC]
I’ve had the opportunity to play Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, a game part of the Y’s series that started back in the late 1980’s. DISCLAIMER: This RPG (Role Play Game) is the first I’ve played from the Y’s series. Going by the previous games the main protagonist is always Adol, a youthful adventurer exploring all lands he encounters but in Y’s VIII there are TWO protagonists: Adol and Dana.
Y’s VIII starts with a young man named Adol and his fellow castaways on the infamous Isle of Seiren. The protagonist searches for survivors and together create Castaway Village defending it from prehistoric creatures. While searching for survivors and figuring out how to get off the island Adol has shared visions with a woman from an ancient civilization, Dana. Dana the other protagonist is able to see the future through Adol and realizes the prosperous kingdom she calls home is no more. She undertakes the mystery of why, how, and when the pinnacle moment happens to prevent the destruction of her home.
Adol – Red headed adventurer
Dana – Maiden of the Great Tree, mysterious woman of Adol’s visions
Laxia – Noble woman knowledgeable of primordials, exotic creatures native to the island
Sahad – Fisherman with a boisterous personality
Hummel – Sniper skills, a man of few words
Ricotta – Young girl grew up on the Isle of Seiren, has a can-do attitude
Castaways – essential for Adol and his team to progress
And others can’t mention b/c spoilers
There is always SOMETHING to do: story, find fellow castaways, complete quests, improve barricades, improve equipment, discover locations, harvest, grind, trade, hunt, cook, brew medicine, protect base from raids, treasure hunt, and etc. It is necessary to harvest ingredients for new equipment or medicine. Loot left by defeated enemies can be used for trade or upgrade weapons, in other words grinding has other rewards besides experience points.
There are the basics A to “attack”, B to “jump”, Y to “change characters”, X to “target”, R “block”, L “dodge”. When battling enemies, the player has a group of three characters. Each character has a specific type of damage either slash/pierce/strike. All enemies have a damage type that they are weak against: Slash -> Soft Enemies, Pierce -> Aerial enemies, Strike -> Armored enemies.
Attacks generate SP (skill points). There is a SP gauge for the use of skills learned through battle. A player will learn a variety of skills and have the freedom to assign up to four skills to A/B/Y/X. Hold R to use a skill assigned to A/B/Y/X. Remember skills cost SP and the SP gauge needs to be refilled by attacks. A skill can be leveled up by every use, this strengthens the skill to the point of maxing it out, but that takes a lot of use.
Then there is an EXTRA Gauge. This gauge is generated by skills. Once its filled hold R+L to unleash the EXTRA Skill of a character, a very powerful attack like going *Super Saiyan for half a minute. Each character has his/her own unique EXTRA skill, its cinematically awesome.
Flash Move is activated by pressing L at the right moment to evade an enemy’s attack. You will gain temporary invincibility and increased mobility.
Flash Guard is activated by pressing R to block an enemy’s attack right when it connects. The player will gain invincibility, SP and EXTRA gauge will fill, and all attacks will be critical hits for a short time.
Timing is key and not easy. It is best to master these advanced tactics early in the game because they’ll be a tremendous help with boss fights and areas infested with enemies.
Raids & Hunts: AKA horde/survival mode when the player must stay alive and protect base from increasingly difficult waves of enemies until the end. During the game the base will get attacked by beasts. Adol and his team will protect an area while the rest of the castaways protect another. At first these raids will seem long and tedious because you’re at a lower level. As you level up defeating enemies gets easier.
Sub-characters will also assist in your area during raids. Opportunities to raise approval rates with each castaway helps, as their approval rates increase their assistance gets stronger and thus also ends raids quicker.
Y’s VIII is noob friendly but there are challenges in battles such as Status Effects caused by enemies. There are different types causing specifics:
Poison -> Lose HP over a short duration
Paralysis -> Attack/Jump disabled, lowers speed
Darkness -> Blurs vision
Freeze -> Disables actions
Burn -> Lose HP rapidly
Bleeding -> Suffer high damage, dash disabled, and lowers defense/speed.
Players can equip accessories to resist (slows the accumulation of a status effect) or nullify (provides immunity) status effects. Another option is to treat the effects with medicine, MUST STOCK UP. A player needs to make medicine at Castaway Village with a doctor and to brew medicine a player needs ingredients. If you’re a player who collects along the way you’re fine but if you breeze through areas collecting will feel like a chore. I tend to stock up minimum 16 of each medicine.
What can be improved.....
The MAP: When you see treasure is in the area but can’t find it, the map won’t indicate its below or above unless you’re in a dungeon. I was looking for a treasure chest and it turned out to be in a cave underground, I was unable to reach the cave at that time and was mighty frustrated. Or there was a new place to discover on the left side of a mountain, kept missing the location because I didn’t realize I had to follow a small path leading DOWN to the left side of the mountain *face palm*.
GRAPHICS & AUDIO
DISCLAIMER! The Nintendo Switch is 30 FPS while PS4 and PC is 60 FPS.
The graphics matches Y’s VIII’s story, kind of like an anime (i.e. **RWBY). As the game progresses I anticipate for the next cut scene, especially Dana’s. When discovering a new place, the scenic views are phenomenal, details pop.
Each character has their own unique look, clothing and physical features portray personality and culture. i.e. the character Euron: stern demeanor gives off the impression of an authoritative figure, an
orderly yet rugged attire illustrates his affiliation with the Romun Empire military.
The soundtrack ranges from alternative to classical or a combination. There is a unique sound for every location. Unique music for different battles: new beast, raids, boss, etc. Listening to the sound track I can distinctly create an imagery of the scene paired to a song because I played the game so much. I’ve visited each location repeatedly to grind, harvest, find new areas, or grab treasure I missed.
Facial expressions are limited, thankfully voice actors succeed in delivering characters’ emotions and personality. It was really important for voice actors to be able to portray the characters’ personalities because they develop throughout the game, relationships evolve, and interactions transition from cautious strangers to “live or die” comrades.
-There is always something to do in Y’s VIII: story, search for castaways, explore, grind, collect/harvest, upgrade equipment/weapons, quests, etc.
-Story starts off mellow but as you explore the Isle of Seiren you uncover the island’s history and the significance of your presence. The story is not predictable.
-Tutorials are helpful and once you master advanced tactics, skills, and EXTRA skill slaying beasts will be gratifying.
-Music gets you pumped to grind and harvest which makes brewing medicine, upgrading equipment/weapons, and trading for better materials enjoyable and not a chore.
-The characters grow as you play, you build an attachment to them even the sub-characters.
* Super Saiyan: Alien species, Saiyan, power up. Reference from the series Dragon Ball
created by Akira Toriyama
** RWBY: American Anime series and game created by Rooster Teeth