Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana has had a rough time. Originally launched last year on consoles, it was consistently (and rightly) mocked for its rushed and sloppy translation, taking one of the most story-driven games in the venerable action-RPG series and somehow fouling it up to the point where even the existing english text in the Japanese script got re-translated into worse English.
After several months of delays and a total rewrite and re-record, Ys VIII is finally ready for prime-time, and is hitting Steam at the end of this month, January 30th.
Ys exists on the more arcadey, hack n' slashy end of the RPG spectrum. If you want something a little thicker and more stat-dense to chew on, check our list of the best roleplaying games on PC.
It's very much a case of better late than never. The Ys series has been consistently entertaining since the very first game way back on early computers in 1987, and red-haired protagonist Adol Christin hasn't aged or changed a bit in 31 years. He's still timelessly young, selfless, heroic and utterly free of angst and drama. He's learned to talk a little bit more over the years, but he is to RPGs as Mario is to platformers, and the series has seen a major resurgence on PC these past few years thanks to remasters, ports and retranslations, mostly via publisher XSeed.
For countless years, Adol's life has been a never-ending cycle of wandering into a strange new land, meeting the locals, finding out that they're being menaced by an ancient evil of some kind (usually some gods), and stabbing the heck out of them with a smile (the gods, not the locals) before wandering off into the sunset. Ys VIII finds him and a crew of mismatched adventuring-types shipwrecked and lost in a hostile land, building up a home base and questing to get to the bottom of whatever dysfunction is affecting this new island realm.
As with the latest few Ys games, Lacrimosa of Dana is a little less twitchy and arcadey than the middle-numbers in the series, opting for a slightly slower and more technical combat engine that allows you to switch freely between party members mid-fight in order to deploy each character's special attacks as you see fit. That's not to say that it's a slow game at all, but Adol is no longer a one-man army/human Cuisinart capable of mashing the attack button and wading sword-first through any horde of monsters.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is set for release on Steam this January 30th, with an RRP of £45/$60. While that may seem a little high, the current Humble winter sale features most previous Ys games at heavily discounted prices. I'd recommend trying Ys Origin or Ys VI to start with. It's an easy series to fall in love with, which explains why it's been running for over thirty years now.