Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana just dropped and we were given some time in advance to see what we thought of it. Richard gave it a spin, so take a look at his thoughts!
I love RPG's. I absolutely love 'em. I've been into games since I was 6 years old and I can't remember a time where I wasn't obsessed with them. If you were to ask me what was it I loved about them so much, you'd best stick the kettle on and find a comfy place to sit because you've left yourself open to a three hour diatribe about the intricacies of a good RPG game. If you're lucky, I'll have my overhead projector with me and I'll be able to use a sweet slideshow to back up my points.
I even love the bad RPG's, and God knows there's a lot of them. That's why this particular review isn't going to be entirely scathing. I've been playing Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA. An RPG/Hack 'n' Slash hybrid with a classic Japanese animation style. It's just, really, really, extremely okay. The characters look like classic J-RPG characters and the battle system is free flowing to appeal to the modern gamer which is a cool mash up of old and new but it doesn't bring much else to the table.
A good RPG should be able to establish the world it's based in pretty quickly. Introduce the characters, throw them into a group together and help them save the world. Ys VIII tells its story very lazily. The mostly mute main character, Adol is introduced by his stylishly dressed pal, Dogi, through an expositional nightmare of a one sided conversation.
"Here we are, on a ship! I've been hired to work in the hold and you've been hired as a temporary sailor!"
That was the first bit of dialogue you hear in the game, and it just put me in a bad mood. Adol already knows these things? The fuck's your problem, Dogi? Sephiroth would recreate the end of Disc 1 of FF VII if he heard your shite chat. Get your act together, Dogi. JESUS.
*ahem* sorry. Aside from the poor dialogue, the game plays pretty well. The graphics aren't particularly polished which might be intentional to give it a more classic look like you would find on a latter era PS2 Game. The hack and slash approach to the combat is pretty cool as the enemies come at you in their droves.
The game doesn't take long to throw a couple of boss battles at you pretty early on, too. The first being what you might expect from an RPG. The Ol' Big Baddie Monster In The Cave Whose Sole Purpose Is To Block Your Way. You know what I'm on about, right?
The second boss you fight is much different story. You go from fighting a typical cave dwelling beast, to facing off an against an ACTUAL FUCKING DINOSAUR. Not only an actual dinosaur, but an actual dinosaur with TWO FUCKING HEALTH BARS. At this point in the game your weapons don't do a lot of damage, and this dinos only weak point is its head, whereas hitting everywhere else on its body does 1 point of damage per hit. I thought I'd finally worn him down only to find a sneaky second health bar. I'd finally managed to beat the damn thing until a few minutes later when it gets up and RUNS AWAY. I ain't going looking for him, that's for damn sure.
Overall, Ys VIII is a decent game to introduce folk to what an RPG looks like, but the flimsy dialogue and the often boring exploration sections hold it back from being a solid game. I don't often give things scores, but since my overhead projector is busted, I'll back up all my points by giving this game a 6/10.
I'm off to watch Sephiroth murder Aerith again, sorry if I just spoiled a 20 year old game, there