Full disclosure: I know that Ys is a longstanding videogame franchise but I never played an Ys game before this one. I also know that Ys IX is out now, but I haven’t played it. I only -ever – played VIII. So I am speaking here as a complete newbie.
So what is Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana about?
Well, it starts with the main character, Adol, who is shipwrecked on a cursed island. He starts his new life by exploring the area, looking for other survivors of the shipwreck, and beginning a small castaway village. Ultimately the survivors hope to gather materials to build a boat to escape the island.
Not easy! The island is big, with large areas gradually unlocking, and exploration becomes more dangerous as you venture further from the village. The giant walruses of Towering Coral Forest still give me chills! And before long, the village itself is under near constant attack.
So what about the combat? The Ys action combat is fast-paced and fluid, and there is a lot of it. Sometimes there is too much.
Anyway, growing the village, assigning jobs to the residents, defending the village, and doing sidequests – all of that makes up only about half of this game’s story.
The second half of this game involves a mysterious blue-haired girl who seems to be trying to communicate something to Adol in his dreams. So who is she? And what is she trying to communicate? And just what in samhill is going on? That is the mystery that propels the story forward.
Now personally, I really liked the village-building part of this game. I loved seeing everyone come together and use their skills and resources toward a common goal. In fact I preferred this over the story of the mystery of the island, which comes into focus later in the game. I found that story a bit underdeveloped and underwhelming. Just my opinion, but after finishing Ys VIII, I wasn’t filled with mad desire to go play Ys IX, or any other Ys game.
Now, Ys VIII has three possible endings, and the ending you get depends on your reputation score, which you earn from interacting with NPCs and doing sidequests. There is the bad ending, the normal ending, and the true (best) ending. If the true ending is important to you, then you may want to complete as many quests as you can, and right away, because many do expire. As for me, my reputation score of 152 earned me only the normal ending. (Which was a little disappointing but thankfully there’s Youtube for that.)
So did I like this game? For the most part, yes I did. Do I recommend it? Yes, if you like action RPGs, I do recommend Ys VIII. Is it worth the price? Well, that’s up to each player to decide. I bought it when it was on sale in the eShop for $30, and honestly that was expensive enough for me.
Trailing Sleeves gives Ys III: Lacrimosa of Dana 7.5 / 10 bowls of soup: