I know a lot of you unfamiliar with the series are thinking: "What are Ys?" Well, the answer is:
Ys nuts!!!!! hahahahaha lol
But all kidding aside, I started playing Ys VIII, and I quite like it. I've played a heaping handful of Ys games at this point and mostly really like the series, but I was wary going into this one. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from Ys Seven's departures from series norms: it was far too long, needlessly complicated things with a party and weapon types/weaknesses instead of one playable character, etc. And from what I'd read, Ys VIII seemed to take that base and run with it: it's even longer, with the same party system, and a big island to explore.
But for reasons I'm not 100% sure of, it works a lot better this time around. I think setting the game on a deserted island, with lots of open space but a quick pace to exploration, and works to keep things engaging for longer. It also helps that a few simple but effective flourishes have been added to the combat system in the Flash Guard parry and the Flash Move bullet time reward for dodging attacks with perfect timing. And it's definitely a nice change of pace that Adol's immediate quest in this game is just to find other shipwreck survivors and eventually get off the island. I'm guessing there is some divine quest to tackle later. There always is.
I'm about a dozen hours in, and finally get to play as the titular Dana, so I'm guessing there's a while left to go. But unlike this point in Ys Seven, I'm eager for more. Anyone else play this? Does it stay engaging later on?
For my thoughts on Ys VIII, you could listen to my podcast *wink wink*.
Ah, but seriously, I basically just finished this game. I enjoyed it a lot! It's kind of a wild ride, with the story taking turns I never expected (I believe that since you've seen Dana, you have gone through the whodunnit part of the story?). Well, stuff you didn't see coming will keep happening.
We're of the same mind on 7's length, 8 is even longer, and it did for me overstay its welcome a bit. Then again, maybe you can NOT do all of the sidequests and explore 100% of the map like I did. I did it to myself, really.
Don't hesitate to use meals for stat boosts instead of grinding for levels or for a new weapon if a boss gives you trouble. I think that, more than anything, will allow you to get through the game without wasting too much time.
@Guillaume I am a podcast fiend these days, they've almost taken over my life...but one more subscription couldn't hurt, probably!
Yeah I forgot meals were a thing until right before I stopped the other night, so I cooked one of the four meals I know for the healing items and first-timer permanent boost (that was a thing, right?).
And yeah, I was also surprised by the whodunnit and its fallout for sure. If there's more surprises like that coming up, I feel better about the novelty not wearing out too soon. But I am also likely to do all the sidequests and get 100% map exploration, so who knows.
Woohoo! I talked about it literally just last week. I hope I don't spoil too much. I might mention briefly something that happens after the first Dana scene. Maybe wait until you've made it on the mountain proper (past a chasm) before listening.
If you hadn't found this feature already: pressing R fast-forwards pretty much any cutscene or dialogue. Useful every time your crew enters a new area and exclaims "this sure is a new area!".
Ys Origin just got announced for Switch today. I'm hoping that all the others follow suit. I'd love to play Books 1 and 2. A little disappointed I don't have any (legal) access to the TurboGrafx CD version. There's the TurboGrafx Mini but I'd basically be buying one just for that game alone. I hear Chronicles is really good, and I can use the old music, but it still would've been cool to play the '89 version.
@Guillaume Haha, yeah... all the destination things are like, "Let's look at this big bee's nest for fifteen seconds" while someone says some generic line about how wonderful it is.
@PogueSquadron Fingers crossed the rest of the series makes it to Switch, for sure. I started with Origins, which was pretty good, but pretty much any game is a good starting point, especially the 2D ones. As much as I'm curious about the TG-16 version of Ys I & II, the most modern remake (on Steam) is generally regarded as the best one, I think, so I'm happy I played it there.
@Anand You can pick up all the best "starter" Ys games (the 2D ones) on PC for peanuts any time a Steam sale comes along. I think I bought each of them for five bucks or less. Definitely worth the price to give them a try.
@TriforceBun Oh well. As long as Dana gets to fight stuff more going forward, I think I can get through it. I just did a pretty okay dungeon crawl with her, which is obviously preferred to walking around and talking to uninteresting Tall People like the last few Dana segments...
Well that was probably the breeziest 55 hours of JRPG I've ever played, haha. Basically 100% completion too, as I think the only things left to do are the extra Raids and Hunts. Which I might go ahead and do, because the combat in this game is fun. It's so simple that it seems like it shouldn't be very engaging, certainly not for 50+ hours, and yet it is.
Story-wise I still think the main castaway plot was the series' best premise by far, and unfortunately dragged down by the Dana flashbacks, which were too many and too lengthy. But even that did have its moments later on. I was surprised to find I actually sorta cared when they failed to stop the meteors, and everyone slowly starved to extinction in a sort of nuclear winter, and I wonder if that wouldn't have mattered as much if I hadn't been bored to death walking around and talking to Tall People for hours before then.
I mostly spent the Dana parts just trying to find the next mission, and moving on. It got easier too once I realized the map tells you if you got missions for a particular entry point crystal. Up to that point, I was blindly selecting warp cristals, hoping to stumble upon the one that would let me get to whatever area I was trying to get to.
Nate, you also have at least one new dungeon that appeared somewhere. Seemed pretty tough, so I didn't bother with it. Plus a bunch of boss rushes, a New Game Plus… but 55 hours is plenty enough time to spend in an action RPG. It's kind of nuts how this one pretty much has too much content.
So I presume you'll be jumping into Ys Origin immediately?
@Guillaume I did the extra dungeon. It wasn't too tough, but I did just run past from some of the more imposing enemies (entire packs of those blue undersea dinosaurs, yeesh). The enemies have a lot of HP, but they eventually go down and give you tons of exp, and then they go down all the sooner after leveling up a few times. Like most Ys games you level up so quickly and get beefy stat boosts...I think I went into the extra dungeon at Lv. 75ish and came out at 90+, haha. There are a handful of bosses in there, and I'm pretty sure my entire party would shoot up 3-4 levels after each one, and they weren't exactly toughies.
As for Ys Origin, I played that years ago. It was my first Ys game! And honestly, looking back, it might be my least favorite of the bunch, aside from Seven. I really liked it at the time, but I wonder if it would have been a letdown after playing any of the others. Though I did only play as Yunica, the girl who plays pretty much like Adol. Maybe it'd be fun to revisit with one of the other two playable characters.
The only Ys game I haven't played (among the entries available on current hardware, anyway) is Memories of Celceta, which I'll probably pick up whenever it next gets discounted in a Steam sale.