Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana has finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch and with it, we’re finally getting a chance to see the game come out with all of its previously released DLC. After a boat crash, meeting some new friends, and exploring the world, we’re ready to review our latest adventure with Adol and friends.
+Runs incredibly well on the Nintendo Switch, offering both handheld and console experiences in a single go.
+Animations and graphics are just as one would hope
+When in handheld mode, the game doesn’t eat away at battery life, unlike other titles
-Enemies and text can be slightly hard to see when in handheld mode
Since Nihon Falcom established the Ys franchise in 1987, we’ve been sent off countless times with Adol and friends, adventuring through various lands and stories to enjoy. Through that time, we’ve had a chance to see what trouble he could get himself into, what his friends are capable of and just how far he could go in order to keep those around him safe.
However, since 1995, we’ve been without a core entry within the Japanese-exclusive franchise. Since then, Ys has seen a rebirthing, a reinvested interest from JRPG fans around the world with the current golden age of Sony and the PlayStation Vita. Now that Nintendo’s here, it seems that that golden age has spread and that the Ys franchise has found a new following to be had. Since its launch in 2017, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana originally saw its launch on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.
But during that launch, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana wouldn’t see a launch on any other platforms to be had, but rather, would remain absent outside of the Nintendo and Xbox brands. Flashforward to earlier this year and Nintendo has finally seen this critically-acclaimed title make its way to the Nintendo Switch, almost an entire year later. Now that we’re finally here, it seems that NIS America has done a lot of work to make this version entirely possible. During our initial period with the game ahead of its release, we had to take a step back, working to play through it once again with a varied amount of fixes having been made.
Surprisingly enough, the changes made worked best in the interest of the fans. We saw our framerates grow quite a bit smoother, gameplay elements seemed just as they were on the PlayStation 4 (of course, they would be, as this is technically a Definitive Edition of the game). Luckily for us, we’re happy with the version we got to play and just how well it actually handled on the Nintendo Switch, which is fantastic, brilliant, and all around an absolute blast.
Much as many of us know, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana starts out with Adol Christin and his friend Dogi working aboard the great ship Lombardia, a passenger vessel that many have set sail aboard as they travel across the Gaete Sea to Eresia. Sadly, our time aboard this ship is brief in the starting bit, as things go south rather quickly. After all, that does tend to be what happens when a rather enormous Kraken attacks the ship, tearing it asunder before sending the passengers to be scattered across a mysterious, but gorgeous, tropical island.
After the brief introductory tidbit, things kick off rather quickly in the cursed Isle of Seiren for our adventurers. Your goal put before you is simple – explore, find other survivors, unravel the mystery of the island and eventually escape until a wrench gets thrown into your plans. You will eventually find your dreams invaded, troubled by the visions of a young woman by the name of Dana and why she has become a part of your adventure.
Just as some may assume, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana isn’t shy of its use of anime-like plot lines and clichés, but even with these small and recognizable tropes, it’s still a rather genuine and interesting experience to invest your time into. Toss in the extremely unique cast of characters, beautiful territories to explore, anime-like experiences to enjoy, and you are an absolutely enjoyable game to play. But since this game has been out for quite some time, we’re not actually going to review the game’s story itself, but rather, a more technical aspect – how the Switch version actually plays as many are already familiar with the games RPG mechanics such as combat, story, and itemization works.
For an amazing overall review, we highly suggest the review by The Digital Fix for the original release of the game.
Graphics and Performance
When reviewing a game that’s been out for around a year on the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita, the first thing you are going to wonder is how the graphics and performance manages to work. So let’s talk about those very facts, as already seen by this sections heading. Graphics and performance are a huge thing when it comes to gamers. They love great looking games, but they also want great looking games that play rather well.
That’s where Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana and NIS America come to play. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, while at 720p and 30fps while on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode and 1080p and 30fps while on the dock. While in both docked and in handheld modes, it does seem that Nihon Falcom did enable the use of Dynamic Resolution Scaling, which allows their graphics engine to back down and up the resolution of the game on an as-needed based on hardware performance.
Fortunately, the game runs smoothly whether you play docked or in handheld modes. Before during the pre-day one patch, we couldn’t have said the same during some of the most intense moments in the game, but luckily, it paid off waiting to publish our review as we haven’t noticed any degradation in performance during some of the most intense moments in the game.
Instead, the graphics stayed as one would hope, pristine, only blurring while running about the semi-open world. Everything remained immaculately detailed, almost on par with the PlayStation 4 version of the game, just minus some of the sunshafts you might be used to seeing.
So, the sound discussion is an odd one to consider. Some of us wonder how sound should be reviewed in a review such as this very one. A lot of it comes down to the overall performance of the game. Due to how hardware works, one might be wondering if there were any corners cut to ensure the game met the quality of a current-gen title or if the game performance worse than one would expect. Oddly enough, nothing here was cut, nothing at all for that matter.
Instead, the sound is as good as one would expect from a high-quality game such as Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. Whether you play the game in Japanese or English, the voice dubbing is spot on, delivering an anime-like experience you would hope to have and enjoy. This includes weapon attack sounds, the soundtrack, and even ambient audio. They don’t come out blended together or causing disturbances often seen in handheld games.
Battery time, is it problematic?
When it comes to the battery duration on the Nintendo Switch, some games can be rather hit and miss, and sometimes, just sometimes, you’ll find yourself better off being docked while playing a game. With Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, that’s not the case. The battery managed to hold up rather fine, often giving plenty of time with the game before heading to the dock, setting the Switch into it, and carrying on my merry way.
However, I do want to note, the Switch’s battery did last between 4-6 hours with Ys VIII, which is an admirable feat as most of the games we’ve reviewed have eaten through the Nintendo Switch’s battery life, giving us a mere 3-4 hours tops, which is rather different with Ys VII, to say the least. So it is worth noting that you will need to charge at some point while exploring the dangerous Isle of Seiren.
As one would expect, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is an enchanting and incredible game to behold. Its story is an absolute delight, allowing you not to focus on sequential story pieces, but rather, a story that expands the overall universe, stretching out further in order to give fans more to enjoy.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana – Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: Available Now
Now that it’s on the Switch, we can’t help but wonder if the Nintendo Switch will be the latest place to see the Ys series drop when new titles launch. If so, we look forward to it and thanks to the performance of this latest entry, we surely hope to see the Nintendo get some more love from Nihon Falcom.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.