A good thing is headed to the Nintendo Switch. Specifically, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is coming to the platform. This is a port of an admirable entry in the series that came under fire for translation issues when it launched outside of Japan. Now, nine months later, a version that does it all at the cost of a slightly reduced performance is here. But while it may not look as great as, say, the PlayStation 4 version, it does a lot of things right.
The first thing that struck me is Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana on the Nintendo Switch can be quite consistent. I tended to play more in Handheld mode than Docked, and it ran at 30fps consistently. If I entered a busy area, like the Seiren settlement, and moved the camera around quickly, I would notice lag. But if I entered into a boss fight or area with a multiple enemies, the game usually kept up. The controls were responsive and I did not have to deal with any frame rate dips at moments when they would be the most devastating. For example, back when I went through the Laspisus boss fight on the PlayStation 4, before patches, I noticed some lag when the boss would flop out of the marsh and attack. This fight seemed to be smoother on the Nintendo Switch in Handheld mode. Some temporary dips exist, but they are manageable and the game still registered my inputs accurately when they happened.
Generally, I felt like things in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana on the Nintendo Switch looked rather good. Character models looked noticeably better than the PlayStation Vita version and things generally look good. Not as good as the PlayStation 4 version, where environments can be a bit more detailed and it seems like improved textures display better. On the Nintendo Switch, I felt like ground and enemy textures and may not have always been as crisp. The shadows were the things that felt worst to me. Party members and enemies have better and more distinct shadows in the PlayStation 4 version, and on the Nintendo Switch version I noticed flickering and blurriness in the shadows cast by trees.
Graphics and frame rate aside, there are plenty of times when I hopped into the Nintendo Switch version of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana and felt like this was the version to play. Even though it may not be the prettiest or offer the smoothest frame rate, each time I was reminded by what this version has to offer out of the gate. It has the improved localization, which NIS America worked on for months, though some minor grammatical and translation errors exist in supplemental dialogue. (I also noted one untranslated line.) Someone coming to the game for the first time will find it to be much more charming with character reactions more suited to situations and a large chasm instead of a big hole. (Shout out to the Archeozoic area!) It runs very well on the go. You have all these costumes and customization items to choose from without having to pay extra or wait. The loading times are practically nonexistent, and it looks the same regardless of which mode you choose when you play.
It is also filling a hole. The Nintendo Switch is not quite rolling in RPGs just yet. There are games like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Atelier Lydie & Suelle, I am Setsuna, Lost Sphear, Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory, The Lost Child, Nights of Azure 2, Romancing Saga 2, The Longest Five Minutes and the Kemco ports of its mobile games available right now. But there is still a need to offer more games in the genre and establish the system as something people will want to play 40-60 hour games on. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana helps further that agenda and give people more options. It helps pave the way.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is the kind of game that feels good on the Nintendo Switch. It may not hit all the hallmarks, like a version played on the PlayStation 4 Pro would, but it offers a performance that was mostly stable, looked good for a handheld, has the best translation possible aside from some errors that should hopefully be fixed soon and offers fun extras. Plus, it gives people another RPG option on a system where such games are only just finding their footing. It has found a nice place for itself.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana will come to the Nintendo Switch in North America on June 26, 2018, in Japan on June 28, 2018 and in Europe on June 29, 2018.