Reflections of Ys
|GAME TITLE||: ||Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana|
| ||Day One Edition|
|PLATFORM||: ||PlayStation 4|
|DEVELOPED BY||: ||Nihon Falcom|
|TRANSLATED BY||: ||NIS America|
|PUBLISHED BY||: ||NIS America|
|ENGINE||: ||SEVEN Engine|
|RELEASE DATE||:||September 12, 2017||
It took awhile for me to even feel right about writing a Reflection for Ys VIII. I completed the game thoroughly once, and then NIS America announced they were going to fully re-translate the entire game just as I was half way through writing this. I discussed with the Digital Emelas team that I didn't feel right publishing something until I could really experience a finished product… and with that realization… I felt somewhat cheated. That's 60+ hours spent on an unfinished product. To be clear, I wasn't mad or even upset. I was going to write about how a joy the game was regardless, despite its laughable [original] translation that my wife had pointed out several times while watching me play. There were times when she had actually laughed out loud. But that's why it took me awhile to experience the game again: I couldn't put myself through another game immediately right after completing it once. Over a year later with a fresh set of eyes and ears, I'm here to say what I'm finally comfortable saying:
This is a damn good game.
A reminder to our readers, this is a Reflection, not a review. I'm not here to tell you what the game is about, why it's awesome or not, or the differences between each port. Some of our reflections may include those editorial elements, but only relevant if that's how the writer wants to remember their experience. I'm here to reflect on how Ys VIII affected me as an Ys fan.
It was a surprise to many when NIS America announced they were publishing Ys VIII. As many of you know, the Ys series suffered a long hiatus after Konami's release of The Ark of Napishtim for PS2/PSP (we're going to ignore the forgettable Legacy of Ys on Nintendo DS by ATLUS). It took XSEED Games years of hard work along with community involvement to bring back the series in 2010 with the release of Ys SEVEN, followed by The Oath in Felghana, Ys Chronicles I & II, and Memories of Celceta. Not to mention the amazing and heavily-scripted The Legend of Heroes series. I was shocked that a different publisher was going to localize and publish Ys VIII. But business is business, and for a niche JRPG series, I'll take what I can get. As aforementioned, the original release wasn't smooth, but in the end the product finally showed what NISA is capable of once given the time to polish. The translation is well met and the voice acting happily embraced. Allow me a moment to fan boy: Dogi! I was happy to hear a familiar voice (to those unfamiliar, it's the same voice actor from The Oath in Felghana).
With NISA on the helm, more money was thrown at this project than Mr. Burns bored at a campfire. And with such a publisher came the inevitable merchandise. We spent over a grand on Ys VIII goods alone, which included pins, apparel, posters, and even a $300 giclee. We fear for our wallets with every new release they announce, including the Nintendo Switch port which had its own unique Limited Edition exclusive to their website, and another t-shirt and pin set. Not to mention the exchange rate from USD to CDN (most of our team is in Canada, eh) and import fees. Ys VIII hurt, but boy was it worth every penny.
I absolutely loved the multiple experiences I had with Ys VIII. It seems Nihon Falcom keeps pushing their scope on every new game they develop, Ys or otherwise. I often play multiple games at once, but with Ys VIII, I stuck with it entirely from start to finish. Once completed, I was quite disappointed in one major detail: Ys VIII is the most removed from the entire Emelas story arc, which is comprised of Ys Origin, I, II, Felghana, Celceta, and Napishtim (the majority of the games). I personally think Ys VIII is a welcome introduction for new players to get hooked onto the series, but in terms of lore, it's so disconnected that I know many people who decided to play the game last in the series, going in order of release. There's also a HUGE let-down for Ys lore veterans, which I'll discuss below after a spoiler warning.
The re-translation by NISA was essential and necessary. The entire episode left an Archeozoic Big Hole in my heart, which slowly began to heal after months of work. I commend them for their efforts and hope they've learned from this and take their time on future releases. One thing's for certain throughout my second time playing… despite the new translation, I refuse to call the island beasts by their new name. They'll always affectionately be regarded as Ancient Species.
... It never happened. The events of the game were reset and only 5 people, including Adol, remember the entire incident. The only evidence is Adol's journal which survived the redacted timeline (even if he had to re-write parts of it), and it's his word against the rest of the castaways, including Dogi whose head is thicker than any wall. Therefore one could say it never happened and can be skipped entirely without any lore consequences on the rest of the Ys series… which is a total blow to Ys fans wanting a little more. That is... until Dana or Goddess Maia returns with the two other deities in future game releases.
TL;DR. Fun game. Nihon Falcom and NISA did a good job. Go play it.
Day One Edition
All first shipments came with a Sampler Soundtrack CD, Softcover Mini Artbook, and Standard Edition game. Day One Editions were not sold at any additional cost.