Y’s VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. A totally unexpected surprise.

Gratch
The new Wolfenstein didn’t click with me at all, so I figured I’d try the new Y’s game. I haven’t played anything in the series since the PSP days (and wasn’t crazy about it then), but the reviews are good, so why not?

I’m absolutely blown away at how much flat out fun this game is. It puts you in the shoes of Adol Cristin (of course), starting out as a sailor on a cruise ship. The ship gets attacked by a huge sea creature, you wash ashore in a deserted island, and spend the rest of the game exploring the island and searching for survivors. As you find people, they are added to your base camp, which gets more and more developed as the game progresses. You start out with nothing but a campfire, but soon add a trading post, a medic, a blacksmith, and all sorts of other shops and amenities.

The game plays like a perfect mix of Xenoblade’s exploration (without the obtuseness), Tales series action combat (but far easier to understand), and Dark Cloud 2’s crafting and development. The combat is absolutely brilliant, combing basic attack’s and special moves that are leveled up the more you use them. Each of the three party characters has an attribute, as do enemies. There’s a rock, paper, scissors dynamic with attacks, and you can switch between party members at any time to match up the right skills. There’s a fluidity and pace to the combat that is perfect, and it’s an easy to learn, tough to master system that is just plain fun.

Since it’s a deserted island, you don’t use gold to buy weapons. Instead, you gather resources and trade them to the blacksmith for upgraded gear. Basic mats can be exchanged for higher level ones at the trading post, and the advancement loop of gear and crafting has been perfectly balanced so far.

In addition to having a huge map to explore (10.5 hours in and I’ve only explored 26%), you can upgrade your town structures, go fishing, defend against beast raids, take on side missions, do nighttime exploration (which is crazy tough), and a whole host of other activities. There’s always a ton of things to do, and you always feel like you’re progressing. The story is nothing to write home about and the voice acting is so-so, but the cast of characters has a ton of charm. I found myself really looking forward to finding the next castaway, just so I could see their personality.

The graphics are serviceable, with stiff character models in cutscenes, but a fantastic looking world and extremely fluid combat animations. The music deserves a special mention, as it’s outstanding.

My only real gripe is that finding you ur way around can sometimes be really difficult. It took me about 6 hours before I figure out how the map system works, and even then, it can be tough figuring out where to go. The game also starts really slow (the whole first hour on the ship is lame),so make sure you have a little patience at the start.

I’m kind of amazed at how much I’m enjoying this one. Maybe it’ll get too hard or frustrating further in, but it’s been an absolute blast through the first 10 hours. Probably my 2nd favorite game of the year, only behind Horizon. Funky name aside, I highly recommend JRPG and action RPG fans give it a look

Comments

  • 22 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • rittchard
    GT Member
    Did you play this on PS4? Wondering if it would be good on Vita...
  • Gratch
    GT Member
    I'm playing on PS4, but I imagine it would work just fine on Vita as well. While they're nice, there's nothing taxing about he graphics at all.
  • Dante Rising
    GT Member edited October 31
    I don't know....I want to believe, but Y's on the PSP left a very bad impression on me. And I love JRPGs.

    The metacritic scores are surprisingly good for a JRPG, but the reviewers are bipolar on the story. Some are saying the story is stilted and suffers from a poor translation, others call it an engaging narrative with excellent pacing.

    <edit> Gah! i was about to pull the trigger, and am now riddled with indecision after reading this on Amazon:

    "An Amazing Game mangled By NIS.
    This game, while great in its original form in Japanese, features classic NISA localization. That is to say, NISA did an awful job in translating this game. The writing is often noticeably in shambles and appears as though they did not even try to quality check the product.

    I will say they promised to retranslate the game, however, that is just to save face with fans. The game came out not too long ago and the announcement happened just recently. Their projected release for the patch is in November. They have to retranslate the game, which is fairly long, in just a month. That is where my skepticism is shown."
  • Gratch
    GT Member
    I find the story to be interesting, but it's really not the highlight. It's provides enough context to get from one point to the next (and the characters all have a ton of personality), but it's certainly not going to win any writing awards. I haven't noticed any egregious translation issues, but it does have that weird, overly formal English writing style that you see in many of the lower-budget JRPG titles.

    That said, I'm only 10 hours in and maybe it goes off a cliff later in the game. But from what I've played, the story has been fine, if maybe on the "kinda underwhelming" end of the spectrum. Thankfully the excellent exploration and combat more than makes up for it.
  • EddieA
    GT Member
    I don't know....I want to believe, but Y's on the PSP left a very bad impression on me. And I love JRPGs.

    The metacritic scores are surprisingly good for a JRPG, but the reviewers are bipolar on the story. Some are saying the story is stilted and suffers from a poor translation, others call it an engaging narrative with excellent pacing.

    What didn't you like about the PSP Ys games? The Ys series has two divisions - the modern games (Ys 7, 8, and Memories of Celceta) and the classic games (everything else). If you're a fan of JRPGs and don't mind fast action battle systems, I think you'd like Ys 8.

    As for the story, I think the main issue is the translation. The story and characters are supposed to be really good, but the less-than-stellar translation robs them of some of their impact. Hopefully, the new translation will help, but it's still worth playing as it is.
  • MonkeyFinger
    GT Member
    So this "new translation" is part of this release, or something that is coming in the future?
  • EddieA
    GT Member
    So this "new translation" is part of this release, or something that is coming in the future?

    It's supposed to be released as a free update sometime in November.
  • Dante Rising
    GT Member
    EddieA wrote: »
    I don't know....I want to believe, but Y's on the PSP left a very bad impression on me. And I love JRPGs.

    The metacritic scores are surprisingly good for a JRPG, but the reviewers are bipolar on the story. Some are saying the story is stilted and suffers from a poor translation, others call it an engaging narrative with excellent pacing.

    What didn't you like about the PSP Ys games? The Ys series has two divisions - the modern games (Ys 7, 8, and Memories of Celceta) and the classic games (everything else). If you're a fan of JRPGs and don't mind fast action battle systems, I think you'd like Ys 8.

    As for the story, I think the main issue is the translation. The story and characters are supposed to be really good, but the less-than-stellar translation robs them of some of their impact. Hopefully, the new translation will help, but it's still worth playing as it is.

    It has been such a long time, I don’t recalll exactly why it left a poor impression upon me,. I think it was because the story was threadbare, and I had played much better action RPGs so the combat seemed lacking to me. I’m sure part of the problem was the the PSP wasn’t the best design in terms of control, since it lacked analog sticks.
  • MonkeyFinger
    GT Member
    EddieA wrote: »
    So this "new translation" is part of this release, or something that is coming in the future?
    It's supposed to be released as a free update sometime in November.
    Thanks.
  • Dante Rising
    GT Member
    Coming to the PC, also. I may need to wait for that 4K resolution goodness.
  • EddieA
    GT Member
    The new translation and PC version have been delayed until early next year.
  • Dante Rising
    GT Member
    EddieA wrote: »
    The new translation and PC version have been delayed until early next year.

    Looks like I jinxed myself. Props to NIS for doing the right thing with the translation.

  • Gratch
    GT Member edited November 10
    I hit what appears to be the halfway point last night. Finished Chapter 4 (of 6), 20 hours in, party between levels 40-42, and a fairly major plot arc was wrapped up.

    Still really enjoying this game, and it's probably my 2nd favorite game this year behind Horizon. Both the combat and exploration elements are truly fantastic, and the story has gotten significantly more interesting over the last 5-6 hours.

    It's odd to me that they're completely revamping the translation and voice work. While it's not great, it certainly hasn't been a deal-breaker for me. It's very easy to understand what's going on, the characters all have a ton of personality, and I've only seen one or two obvious mis-translations. It's actually a little bit endearing, tbh.

    My only gripe at this point is that figuring out how to get from point A to point B can still be extremely difficult, even with multiple maps (world map, area map, mini-map, etc.). There are so many twists, turns, dead ends, and other obstacles that navigation can certainly get frustrating. The game also isn't always particularly clear on what to do next, although you usually stumble across it pretty quickly. Hopefully that's by design and not sheer luck. :)

    Those are pretty minor gripes in the scope of what has become a fantastic game though.
  • EddieA
    GT Member
    According to this, the text and voice acting will almost all be redone for the new translation. I'm about 8 hours in now, and I'm kind of torn on whether I should keep playing or wait for the update.
  • Gratch
    GT Member
    For whatever it's worth, I haven't found the voice work or translation to be an issue at all. Outside of the occasional awkward phrase, it does a fine job of telling what is becoming a really interesting story. It's not nearly as bad as it's being made out to be.

    That said, if I was only on the fence about the game (or have a really low tolerance for stilted dialog), I suppose it might be worth waiting.
  • Gratch
    GT Member
    Hitting the home stretch now. Just started the final chapter, party is around level 60, 90% map completion, 32 hours (takes around 40 to finish).

    Any non-Horizon year, this would be my GOTY. it's that good.
  • Gratch
    GT Member edited November 13
    A few additional thoughts, because I was too tired to post them last night. :)

    1. I think the main thing that makes this game so great is that the pacing is absolutely perfect. I haven't had to grind at all. The enemies have, so far, been a perfect level of challenge throughout the entire 30+ hours. There's always something interesting to do, but none of it feels like busy-work or padding. Boss battles are challenging, but feel fair. The story is doled out in a way that has kept things interesting and compelling throughout. Interceptions and Suppression missions are a fun diversion and challenge (and always come at just the right time), but aren't frequent enough to get stale. The way the game flows has been truly excellent.
    2. I wish there was a different way to trigger the Extra attack (ultimate skill). It's triggered by hitting the R1 and L1 at the same time. Problem is, L1 is for dodging (an absolute must), and special attacks are triggered by holding down R1 and hitting a button. I can't tell you how many times I've triggered that Extra attack on a non-boss enemy by accident, forcing me to refill that gauge before going up against a boss.
    3. The skills are all great, but I'm still not entirely sure how they level up. I think it's by killing enemies (i.e. you kill X enemies with that skill to level it), but the game never makes it very clear. Need to read up on that.
    4. The fishing mini-game is excellent. You don't have to worry about having the right bait or upgrading the fishing pole. You simply see a fishing spot, cast, and do a button-mash mini-game. It's always fun, but isn't overly complex (looking at you, FFXV).
    5. I'll admit that the translation has become rougher the further in I get. There have been some really strange lines over the last 5-6 hours, that I required me to give some thought to figure out what they were actually trying to say. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but I'm starting to see why they're doing a complete overhaul.
    6. The cast of characters is fantastic. Each one of the castaways you rescue has their own personality, likes, dislikes, and upgrade paths. It's been fun to work on maxing them all out. Granted, they're all living anime tropes, but at least they're interesting ones. :)
    7. Advanced Skills allow you to equip a certain number of items that give additional benefits. I.E. breathing underwater, double jumping, walking over swamps, lighting up dark areas, etc. It adds a fun strategic element to exploration, without feeling overwhelming (something I always struggled with in Zelda games).
    8. I'm finally hitting the point where upgrading equipment requires some deliberate focus on gathering materials. Up until now, I was able to find just enough of what I wanted to upgrade all my weapons (see point #1 about perfect pacing). The materials are becoming more rare and tougher to find...we'll see what effect that has.
    9. Dana's solo segments aren't quite as interesting as the party-based gameplay, especially in the beginning. However, once she rescues enough fairies and gains all her abilities, she turns into quite the badass...which makes those sections much more fun.

    The caveat to all of this is that I'm playing on Easy level. I'm sure that has an effect on the pace of the game, but I have found it to be near perfection so far. I've read that the last chapter is more heavily story-focused, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how this all ends up. I also recognize that much of my enjoyment of this game could simply be a case of "right game, right time". I've wanted to play a good JRPG for ages, but nothing has really captured my interest. It probably won't sway anyone who isn't a big JRPG fan to start with, but for those that are, it's certainly worth a look.
  • Dante Rising
    GT Member
    Are there various difficulty levels to choose from Gratch? And if so can you change it mid-game? I’m glad to hear what you said about the game balance. Too many Japanese RPGs are far too easy, with the exception was of a few bosses. I love a moderate challenge throughout the game.
  • Gratch
    GT Member
    Yes.(easy, normal, hard) and yes (you can change at any time). Easy is the perfect level of challenge for me, but I imagine you’d want normal or hard.
  • Gratch
    GT Member
    And done. 37 hours, level 78, 93% map completion. Ending felt a little rushed (but was still very satisfying) and the translation really started going off the rails towards the end. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.
  • MonkeyFinger
    GT Member
    I had pulled down the PS4 demo of this but then ended up deleting it figuring I would never end up playing it. Perhaps I should grab it again...
  • Dante Rising
    GT Member
    Demo??? Sweet!
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