Game Review: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (Nintendo Switch)

Despite numerous setbacks Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana joins the ever-growing-catalog of Nintendo Switch titles but is it worthy of your time? Well let’s explore what this variation of the game has to offer.

Title: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Falcom
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Resolution: 1920 X 1080
Audio: English & Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (3.2 GB)

Our View:

Developed by Falcom, as well as localized and published by NIS America outside of Japan, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is an action-RPG experience that goes nowhere before it gets anywhere. Disappointing for sure but if you are willing to stick around for a lengthy period of time you’ll soon find a story that is both unique and rewarding; but I digress that’s only if you stick around.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana begins with Adol working aboard the ship known as the Lombardia which is ferrying different passengers from Xandria to the island of Eresia. Regardless; this information is useless as after interacting with the various passengers in the diners lounge the ship is attacked by an ancient beast and as such the ship is destroyed with the crew and passengers separated.

It’s at this point Adol wakes up on the mysterious island known as the Isle of Seiren; an island that is rumoured to be filled with monsters and is notable famous for its curse which sees ships sailing past it destroyed; and the crew stranded. So far this ‘rumour’ seems to be true and now Adol must set off on an adventure to find the missing members of the ship as well as a way to escape the island.

It’s here where Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana throws its biggest disappoint, or hurdle if you prefer, as for the next countless amounts of hours players must explore the island, thus creating a map of it, while finding survivors of the Lombardia. This is one of the ‘key aspects’ of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana  and during this timeframe players will explore new areas, defeat monsters, make new friends and open up areas at the base camp.

By finding new characters on the island the base camp will expand with new options; such as Weapon Crafting, Item creation and a Quest Board (for side quests), and acts as a way which for new weapons and equipment being obtainable. This base camp is the ‘key place’ on upgrading your character but in order to unlock these new abilities requires a large invested time in the game is required.

That’s not the only disappointment (although I’m told this is the norm for a Ys game) as for me during this timeframe of self-exploration the storyline goes into a stalemate; with no incentive for the player to carry on playing. Exploration can be slow and at times tedious; but the world is filled with various monsters that can be ignored or attacked depending on your preference.

It’s your decision on how you want to play the game; fortunately for those that stick around during this rather ‘mundane’ portion of the game will be rewarded with an ever-developing story that involves Dana and a mysterious curse that could put the whole world at risk. I won’t spoil the story; but its worth investing that time of exploration.

Most games tend to have a ‘hook’ that grabs the attention of the player; this is usually a plot point or an ever-developing story but in the case of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana that hook is the gameplay itself with the story being an afterthought.

Naturally those eager to uncover the truth of the story will stick around; but those who have doubts may just stop playing altogether – me included. Fortunately the gameplay of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is strong with combat being simple and effective to use; even during those difficult boss battles.

In Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana players form a team of three characters and each character can be customised with different equipment and weapon sets with new items being found during exploration or purchased from the shop at base camp. Gameplay wise players are free to attack enemies that appear on the map, as this is an action-RPG after all, and the player can instantly change between any of the three characters that’s part of your team.

In addition these characters will attack nearby enemies and, more importantly, if the player controlled character dies you are instantly switched to the next character in your team. This makes encounters a little easier to deal with as not only do AI team-mates attack but it also means that you have three chances of surviving an encounter.

Of course healing items and healing magic exists within the world of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana so a combination of balancing team-mates health and switching between characters can help in the more difficult scenarios. In addition to regular combat attacks, of which can be chained together to create combo attacks, specialised attacks (known as Skills) and magic can also be used in addition to team styled attacks. Each character has a unique style of fighting, with even more specialised and unique skills per character, so controlling the different playable characters is recommended to keep things fresh and entertaining.

A mundane start to a rather entertaining storyline combined with a simplistic and fun combat system with a half decent soundtrack is what Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana has to offer; but this Nintendo Switch release does have some disappointing aspects that I didn’t encounter in my experience with the PlayStation 4 version of the game. For starters when playing the visuals look questionable with a strange filtering and texture system that makes individual pixels noticeable on screen as well as shadows being given a flickering motion.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is not the most visually appealing game, even by Nintendo Switch standards, but it is a game that looks better in TV Mode than it does in its handheld variation as in handheld a blurred styled effect can sometimes occur making the screen look washed out. Even with these issues, and its rather drawn-out-start to the story, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is a fun game that plays exceptionally well on the Nintendo Switch and has lots to explore for both action-adventure fans and those of JPRGs.

Score: review-stars-4

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is available for the Nintendo Switch in both physical and digital forms. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is also available for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Windows PC.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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