Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana - Review

Author: Biagio "Shinx" Etna
Date: 2020-07-31 00:23:31
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana arrives in Europe after a year from the Japanese version for PsVita, reinforcing that propensity for narrative deepening already seen in Ys SEVEN and Memories of Celceta, despite the latter suffering a rather fluctuating rhythm. The latest born in the Falcom house, on the contrary, manages to keep the player constantly on the rope, thanks to the fresh and charismatic characters, and a fascinating and well-told story. Adol Christin, historical protagonist of the series, is embarked on the ship "Lombardia" as a sailor. An inevitable series of nefarious events will lead him to the island of Seiren, where he will join an improbable and hilarious heroic caravan. Once the basic controls are learned, Ys VIII opens like a fan, showing an immediate and rewarding game structure. After the very first solitary excursions, we will soon check a team of three characters, with the possibility to freely explore the environments and fight against enemies in real time. A very interesting feature is the management of the survivors, who will form a real village to care for and defend. Side quests make the settlement bigger and bigger, and consequently more difficult to manage. In some moments of history and in many sub-quests, in fact, we have to perch with our people and counter the attack of the enemies, in a sort of tower defense. The various materials collected around allow us to make the village safer by building certain tools, adding much in terms of depth and fun. Returning to exploration, the hikes are strictly on foot, however it is possible to activate cerulean rocks and use them as a practical teleport. Despite the relative freedom of action, many areas of the island are initially inaccessible and the only way to reach them is to increase the number of survivors in our village. The enemies fight each other in real time, and each protagonist is equipped with a basic feature: a cutting, pounding or blunt weapon. The opponents, lockable at the push of a button, will show their vulnerability, prompting us to change the fighter on the fly. At our disposal, besides the basic attack, a series of skills, to be "mapped" on the four keys of the pad. The clashes are always excited and there is no shortage of shots, somersaults and jumps, in a frenetic whirlwind that has nothing to envy to a real action. In this regard, we also have the opportunity to produce ourselves in perfect parades and evasions at the last moment (Flash Guard and Flash Moves), capable of giving us, respectively, an increase in critical hits and a sort of bullet time at the Bayonetta. Staying on the subject, the hard mode is highly recommended, to enjoy a tight but never unfair playability.

The slightly more than technical part is enhanced by a remarkable aesthetic taste.

The narration, conveyed "silently" also by the numerous multiple choice dialogues, is always careful to put the accent on the protagonists, making them decidedly charismatic. The technical side, alas, does not shine: luckily the Japanese frame shows all its undeniable charm thanks to a masterful use of colors and light effects. If, therefore, the artistic direction and the sound can be said to be remarkable, the same thing does not extend to the merely graphic sector.

The Falcom title is certainly not bad to see, on the contrary: many views of the island, the effects of light and the general fluidity make it aesthetically pleasing. However, it is clear that the technical basis is at least backward, with basic and squared environmental structures, mediocre textures and some rather bare scenarios. Nothing takes away the merit of a more than decent adaptation, especially in light of the beautiful anime-style cut-scenes and the audio sector, truly wonderful.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is video game material in some ways raw, but still very precious. A title clearly clinging to a past generation, but which manages to impose itself thanks to a robust gameplay and a narrative rhythm punctuated with enviable attention.
A dive into the past practically essential for all fans of the genre.

I downloaded Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana thanks to a code provided by the distributor. I played it on a PS4 PRO, with a Samsung LE32B460B2W / XXC TV for about 34 hours. The secondary activities of the title and the various levels of difficulty bring longevity well beyond 40 hours. The game has dubbing in English and Japanese and English subtitles.