After adoring Ys: Memories of Celceta, I became quite interested in the adventures of the legendary Adol Christin. So I started up his “latest” adventure as he sailed the seas in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA. I say “latest” because this version of the game I am playing is a PlayStation 5 remake of the PlayStation 4 entry.
In Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA, we find ourselves with the ever-intrepid adventurer Adol as he and his semi-constant travel companion Dogi are on the ship Lombardia on their way to another adventure. Unfortunately, the ship runs afoul of a terrifying beast that not only destroys the ship but maroons the crew and the passengers on the Isle of Seiren, a cursed island that no one has ever escaped. As Adol and Dogi try and bring all the castaways together to survive the island and try and get off the island, they come to realise there is something happening on the Isle of Seiren.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA – build a better world
I adored this game. It builds on what makes the Ys franchise so engaging and then adds some interesting new elements. As you traverse the island and discover its many secrets, you find castaways who have skills that will make your castaway’s village a better place to live. Almost every villager has a skill that will help you in your quest on the island. There’s a blacksmith, a doctor who brews you healing items, and a farmer who gives you ingredients that can help you make dishes that give you various positive effects when you’re outing fighting.
Not only is the village filled with useful skills to help in the game, it is also filled with an interesting cast of characters. I found myself invested in every one of their stories. Whether it involves the noble Laxia who has some serious daddy issues to the enigmatic Kiergaard who has a disturbing past, the plot of the game and the characters within it are engaging and at times surprisingly emotional. There are 24 castaways to find and you will need them all to unlock every hidden treasure on the Isle of Seiren.
The combat of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA is intense and chaotic. It is the epitome of an action roleplaying game. Each of the 6 playable characters has several skills to master, and they all bring something to the table. Adol is the all-rounder (as usual) but the rest of the playable characters specialise in either brute force or precision combat. Some fight from a distance and others just have a bevvy of essence (magic) fueled skills.
As a PlayStation 5 remake, it runs smoother but honestly, the update in graphics is barely noticeable, at least to me. Frankly though it’s not a major problem for me because it’s still a highly enjoyable game. I myself believe just because you look pretty doesn’t mean your game is fun. I’m currently reviewing a gorgeous game that outclasses Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA. However, it is easily an inferior experience in gameplay and storytelling which Ys VIII: Lacrimosa DANA excels at. The improved graphics (even if it’s only slight) is simply the cherry on top.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA is another knockout game from the team behind the Ys series. Getting to follow Adol once again and meeting the new merry band he forms is thrilling. And what starts out as a simple story of survival becomes something so much more and it’s absolutely brilliant, I won’t spoil it here though.