The Final Return to the Isle of Seiren.
No matter how often I play Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, I can’t seem to get enough. For it’s probably final release, Ys VIII tackles the Nintendo Switch, marking its second take on the portable market. How does Adol’s return to the forsaken Isle of Seiren hold up on Nintendo’s hybrid console? Is it worth revisiting if you’ve played it on PS4 or PC? Are there any game breaking glitches that won’t be fixed for a month or two? We’ll take a look at all of these burning questions after a brief Ys VIII introduction.
Should you have lived a life of radio silence since Ys VIII slashed its way onto the PS4 in 2017, the action JRPG finds Adol, the red headed hero, and other marooned members of a seafaring vessel, the Lombardia, washed ashore a cursed island. After figuring out the true horror of such a dilemma, Adol and the survivors must band together to discover a way to make it to freedom, all the while searching the island for more stranded passengers. During Adol and his party’s various expeditions, he begins to uncover the secrets of the island’s past and what happened to the giant and once marvelous civilization that preceded him a world ago. All in all, it’s a very cool premise that will last a good 60+ hours, and searching for all of the castaways makes for worthwhile endeavor.
So how does it play on the Nintendo Switch? The good news is that Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana functions properly. There was a day one patch that resolved some text issues (none of which I experienced during my pre-release review), but otherwise the game ran without any game breaking glitches (here’s looking at you, PC). With that said, there is a bit of bad news. Ys VIII really pushes the Nintendo Switch to its fullest, and I often found that gameplay suffered from frame rate issues and a really ugly display. When on my Sony 4K television (the one I use for my Switch, without HDR), the game is ugly, almost pixelated. The handheld version looks a bit nicer, what with the smaller screen ratio, but compared to the PS4 and PC, this version pales in comparison. It’s not really close.
The advantage, however, that one gets from the Nintendo Switch is the ability to carry Ys VIII with you everywhere. Of course, if you own a Vita, you’ve had this option since 2017, too. Visually, the Switch holds up better than the Vita, of course, but the comparisons are fairly similar (the Vita is a bit more pixelated while the Switch version looks crisper and has better colors; you can also see the original translations compared to the altered localization). In the handheld department, at least, the Switch seems to be the winner. Check out 2 Old 4 Gaming’s comparison video of the Vita and the Switch below.
If you haven’t read either of our reviews, I’d recommend clicking on the link to find a more in depth look at the combat, visuals, sound, etc. To touch upon it briefly, Ys VIII offers players a fast paced and addictive action JRPG experience. You’re able to attack (with the ability to switch between characters in order to match weapon type with enemy weakness), dodge, guard, and utilize skills and special skills to dispatch your foes. The combat of Ys VIII perfects the action RPG format Ys has incorporated since its inception; Ys VIII is developer Nihon Falcom’s magnum Opus.
The one aspect that always strikes me about Ys VIII, though, is its incredible soundtrack. Again, Nihon Falcom created a masterpiece with this game, and the soundtrack is no different. Each track fits the atmosphere of the game, from the devastation of waking up on an abandoned and forsaken island to the serenity of building a peaceful little settlement to the intense combat, each tune works in impeccable fashion. It remains one of my favorite video game soundtracks of the current generation.
If you’ve been searching for a solid JRPG – hell, a solid RPG – for the Nintendo Switch after Breath of the Wild or Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you absolutely must try Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. If the Nintendo Switch is your first and only opportunity to play this gem, take it and run. You won’t regret playing this once in a generational JRPG. The game holds up under scrutiny, even if it does pale compared to the might of the PS4 or a PC. Still, portability is a plus, and it’s a feature worth celebrating. Even if you’re on the fence about Ys VIII or JRPGs, this one just might be great enough to win you over. Owners of the PC or PS4 version might consider this one, too, if they’re seeking for the definitive portable version. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is a masterclass of JRPGs, and it’s one of the best Nintendo Switch games available.