Ys VIII Makes Players Appreciate Everyone’s Strengths

By Jenni . September 1, 2017 . 12:00pm

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In Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, Adol finds himself trapped on what seems to be a deserted island. After he and Dogi are hired to work on a ship in exchange for passage, a sea monster launches an assault during the voyage. A ragtag group finds themselves on an island known for being cursed and inescapable, Seiren. Given this being an Ys game in a long and storied series, and Adol’s reputation, people may not be too worried. But what also helps is how well the game sets up these multiple characters and their roles.


Like Ys VII, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana has multiple playable characters. Adol and his crew are attempting to create a map of the island to find out where everything is, fight beasts to make things a little safer, and find resources. It’s all organized rather well and encourages people to keep shifting people around. For example, you start with just Adol. He has a slashing attack that is quick and hits multiple enemies in his immediate vicinity. He’s your basic, well-rounded hero. I tended to default to him whenever possible, as his skills are versatile and even if he isn’t constantly causing breaks on enemies that hit weaknesses and take them out easily, he’s handling things well.


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The game doesn’t hesitate to quickly get other characters involved. Almost immediately after washing up on shore, Adol meets Laxia. Even though she’s essentially a fencer who deals pierce damage, she has ranged attacks that allow her to do things like throw knives. Sahad shows up shortly after. I like to think of him as the Dogi of the group, since Adol’s buddy doesn’t actually come along on these excursions. (He’s too busy at Castaway Village.) His strike damage is the most powerful you’ll get, period. He does double the damage of both Adol and Laxia, at the cost of speed and defense. (Ironically, his defense is half that of Adol or Laxia, odd considering his size and bulk.)


When Hummel, Ricotta, and Dana show up, they each find their way to be useful. You can only have three characters at most in a party at a time in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. (Though, on the PlayStation 4 version, it is possible to limit yourself to only one or two characters if you prefer a challenge.) Hummel wields a bayonet and deals pierce damage, just like Laxia, but offers a bit more range. Ricotta is the other striking character, and I must say that I appreciate the extra range she has with her mace whips and special skills. The traps she can send out, for example, are quite helpful. Then there’s Dana, who begins with slash damage like Adol, but eventually becomes a triple threat after she goes into a Gratika form with Wagmur’s power to deal strike damage with a club or Luminous form for pierce damage with Astios’ power and twin daggers. While most of them are rather personable, I found myself relying on Adol, Sahad, and Hummel as much as possible.


But where Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana really shines is when it makes you care about the people who aren’t always with Adol. Quite a few people have washed up on Seiren after the crash. Captain Barbaros is the first you’ll see again, but eventually you’ll also gather together other characters like Dogi, Aaron, Reja, Carlan, Kiergaard, Alison, and even a bird, Little Paro. Each one fills a role in the community, giving Castaway Village an excuse to have a tailor, merchant, doctor, teacher, and other important people. In addition to providing you an opportunity to get items and equipment, you can get sidequests to supplement the additional action.


ys viii reja


Where they all really matter is when it comes time to defend Castaway Village. Seiren is home to variant monsters, ones that are unimaginably strong and strange. While the makeshift settlement can give people a place to stay, occasionally these creatures will come to storm it. During such Interceptions, you’ll fight waves of enemies and defend it. You can also see the other allies there fighting too. So while Dogi won’t be by your side, due to his responsibilities in the hub, he’ll be there fighting in the background when defending the village with his team at a different entrance. Everyone comes together to play a part and any defenses you’ve set up will help protect things.


Little Paro will tell you the village is in danger. You head back to fight, controlling your party and trying to keep your last line of defense from falling. You get materials and items for taking part and this element is optional, as you can always rely on Dogi and his team to take care of the issue when Little Paro comes to alert you. It’s nice to have that option. You can trust in your fellow castaways and preparations, should you be too captivated with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana’s other elements.


It all comes together to make you appreciate members of the community. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana wants you to focus on what is possible when people all come together. Like Ys VII, it wants you to realize Adol can always use some help when fighting enemies and might not be as effective against every opponent, and it succeeds by giving five companions that deal different kinds of damage and have extra skills. Its village defense segments help show that even people who can’t help with daily, active attacks can serve a greater purpose. It really does feel like a group is coming together to survive and escape.


Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana will come to the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PC in North America on September 12, 2017 and in Europe on September 15, 2017. 

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