Harsh Review - Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
Alright i'm gonna be straight up on the harsh part of this review. The translation sucked. It felt like watching a really badly subtitled anime most of the time, except in English. It made me wonder.. did the voice actors ever question what the hell they were saying? Did they ever get sick of saying the words "Ancient Species"? Who thought of the name "Archeozoic Big Hole"?.... Actually, I don't want the answer for the last one. The voice overs were very jarring at times, it really took away from the game a lot of the immersion. However, that is the end of the harsh review! That's all guys, thanks, bye. Good review from here on in.
This game is amazing. I wanna give a big shout out to Radical Reggie who suggested this game. I saw his stream of him playing it and thought, hm that looks good. Then I saw his review on Youtube with Metal Jesus and knew I had to have the game. Unfortunately the local EB Games NEVER stock Japanese RPG's, so I had to look online for it. I saw that a store over east had it and luckily my buddy Charles worked there and he hooked me up with the game for a great price. Once I got it, I couldn't get off.. I was 50 hours deep before I knew what happened.
The gameplay is incredible. It's smooth, accurate and just utterly fulfilling. You have complete control over your character and can easily switch between your main three characters and switch them in and out of your party however you like. I tended to pick the characters that felt the most comfortable to play, which were Laxia, Ricotta and Dana. The enemies all had mechanics that you had to learn how to deal with, including the bosses, which generally consisted of dodging or blocking at the right time and unloading damage on them whenever you could. Every action felt natural because it was just so easy to customize. If you didn't like a certain skill, you could swap it out and try a different one or try a different combo with your allies. I did have to remap the button combinations though, as the default ones were a bit frustrating and there was a lot of accidental skill usage here and there but the fact you could change the skills and abilities to whatever you want made the combat so much better.
I don't know how to explain the story too much without spoiling it, but it is pretty damn good.. at least the first 3/4 of the game at least. The ending does get a little bit convoluted and full of crap and words that don't really make sense.. but that is how most JRPG's end, right? The story goes a little something along the lines of you shipwreck on an uninhabited island, and spend the majority of the game finding survivors and setting up a base in an attempt to build a ship and get off the island. Every survivor you find has a unique skill set and helps develop the town in their own way.. Obviously, there is more to the island than it originally seems... but i'll let you figure that out for yourself. Basically it was the TV series Lost, but without the shitty ending. There were small sub-plots and mini quests you could do for the town inhabitants that were actually fun to do and didn't feel like backtracking or time wasting. My only gripe with those was that they were timed and you could only do them at certain parts of the game. If you missed doing it, then it's gone for ever and you can't ever go back and complete that quest. The completionist in me died at the end of the game when I found I missed 3 quests.
I'm only going to briefly touch on the art and design of the game. It's an anime in game form. The art design is amazing.. it feels like you are in an anime. It's not rigid and all of the models are expertly animated and complement the combat gameplay perfectly. The cut-scenes, although there are only a few, are awesome. The music is brilliant... I've found myself listening to mixes of the games music on Youtube a lot lately. It's just done perfectly. That's all i'm gonna say on those, you really need to go and play the game yourself.. go.
You can watch me play most of the game on my channel on Youtube. Unfortunately I only started streaming about 10 hours in to the game, so you miss the start a bit. I've since purchased quite a few more of the games in the Ys series, so I will definitely be playing through those soon.