Adventure of the Adolescent
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana follows the story of Adol; the famous silent protagonist who finds himself shipwrecked on a cursed island. With his fiery witts about him he sets off to reunite with his friends and uncover the mystery surrounding the strange island whilst establishing a temporary home and finding a way to escape with them.
Along the way you will meet some characters who were on-board the ship and friends who you had separated from who all join your fray. Searching the island you uncover new secrets and enemies and as you progress further into the story, you will explore further on the island.
Like previous instalments in the series veterans will undoubtedly adjust to its real-time battle system. Those unfamiliar with it however will have no issue. You have a standard attack and special skills which can be assigned to keys. Special attacks use SP which can be regained by using a normal attack or a charged attack. Using Special attacks will fill an Extra gauge which allows characters to launch an even more powerful attack; these are absolutely stunning to look at and worth using at every opportunity.
The game allows control of any of your characters while the AI handles the other members of your party. The AI I have found is actually really good as none of my comrades take a real beating during fights whereas I do but this is down to my play style and getting right in on the action. I soon learned it was apparent I needed to tone it down. I found myself playing on a harder difficulty anyway and many times came close to death in many small fights and even bosses could take me out for the count in just one hit. Dodging and running is key especially for those harder difficulties. If you do feel things are too hard you can always adjust the difficulty; there are quite a few to cater to all types of players.
The variety in battles is great; each character is suited for taking down certain types of mobs for example Adol’s attribute is slash which is best for taking out soft-bodied enemies. Other party members will have poor damage output on certain mobs. Enemies all have weaknesses; especially boss battles. These will require some specific timed attacks to find the weak spot and with bosses being as strong as they are can create some very intense fights with little margin for error. Jumping is fluid and dodging is instant; even in midair you can roll out of a bad decision and if you are hit then you was simply too late. The battle system is one of the smoothest I have come across and definitely the most fun I have had in a while. The game has a lot of battle options but it is never overwhelming even when learning new battle controls a couple of hours into the game and it still retains a simple to use interface.
In the early stages in the game you will establish a home; a base of operations if you will. Here is where the characters will meet for safety and where you can do many things such as crafting new items; to do this you must venture out and collect items from the wild. You can collect hides from beasts and food from trees and ores from mines; these all of which will help you in surviving the harsh environments of the island.
One thing I found unusual is the transitions between maps you will get the quickest load screen I have seen especially for a game that gives hints during these load times. What I found odd is that the option to have these enabled means the loading times are longer but I am never able to read tips as the next map has already loaded. These tips and other information can all be found in the Journal so it is better to look there.
The games voice overs while not spectacular are good for the most part. There are not too many instances where talking is present and many cut-scenes require you to read the text. I am good with this as the music is enjoyable throughout the game. The characters have their own distinctive personalities. On top of this Ys VIII’s environments are beautiful and vibrant at the best of times; a bit too much if you ask me if you take into consideration that you are stranded on a cursed island. It is full of hostile monsters though so it must be bad. So what are you waiting for adventurers? The mysterious Island awaits!
A PlayStation 4 Review Code was provided by NIS America