Games

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana – Review

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It’s been a while since YS has had a recent entry. Back in 2013, we received the Ys: Memories of Celceta on PS Vita and it was praised an action packed, accessible action JRPG adventure that all RPGamers with a Vita needed to check out.

Lacrimosa of Dana pushes further by releasing on to PS4 as well! The title also acts as the series’s 30th anniversary title for when it started back in 1987.

So there’s a lot weighing on the entry, and I’m happy to say that it totally lives up to a great addition to the YS series.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, once again, puts us in the shoes of Adol. This time he’s accompanied by Dogi, as the two take on being sailors.

Captain Barbaros, who’s the captain of their ship, tells Adol the story of a mysterious island that pulls in ships that get too near to it.

Of course this acts as the catalyst for Adol’s next adventure as the ship is attacked and all on board are tossed into the sea. Eventually they make their way to a deserted island.

Your adventure truly begins when you’re tasked with searching for the survivors. That’s not it though, since this is a Ys game, you’re also tasked with mapping out the island.

Early on, you’ll come across Captain Barbaros and a few survivors who have collected enough to create a place which will act as you game hub called Castaway Village.

While the story is good, it’s really the combat which makes Ys so addictive, and Lacrimosa of Dana is no exception.

Early on you meet two of your first party members, Sahad and Laxia. The mechanics feel very familiar if you’ve played Celceta, as you’re able to switch characters on the fly, which helps to give you strategic advantages against different enemy types.

Your equipment also acts as an important element as you’ll want to swap them out for advantageous elemental vulnerabilities and debuffers.

What also makes the combat fun, as it did in Celceta, is its difficulty scaling. Initially, I decided to challenge myself and put the difficulty to above average.

Punishment came early on as I went in thinking I could just hack and slash my way through enemies. Dodging, you learn, is important. Swapping characters is just a important at times as well.

This is why Ys never gets boring – you can’t lull yourself into a mindless hacking and slashing affair, or you’ll eat up your healing items quickly.

The game does however have a nice difficulty scale for those who don’t want to be challenged as much, or who need to learn the mechanics and control scheme a little more.

Speaking of controls, I have to say that initially the button layout felt rather … wonky. Many times early on, I accidentally swapped characters when I meant to guard, or I opened the menu when I meant to jump.

There’s two ways you can deal with this: you can either memorize the controls and learn by process, or you can do what I did, which is toy around with the control scheme and switch up the buttons.

It’s overall a minor annoyance in a great JRPG experience.

While Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana wont be winning any awards for greatest graphics, what is presented on the PS4 looks high resolution and beautiful.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with the details added to character costumes, and the lush environments you traverse on the island.

If you’re a JRPGamer, you’ll fall in love too!

 

Currently a grad student, professionally awkward person, writer, and all around total geek. His works are featured on PeculiarBeings.co, PopGeekly.com, and his personal blog lifeonthehighwire.wordpress.com.