The GWJ JRPG Club - Q4 2021 - Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

I just finished up Baja Tower tonight as well. I actually really enjoy the boss fights even though on normal you can kind of just skill spam and eat the damage, the game does reward you for actually blocking and dodging well. Fights might be a little more clear if they still used the old isometric view, but the third person free camera does make the world look nice.

Spoiler:

Finally equipped with double jump I explored the Nostalgia Cape past Longhorn Coast that I couldn't get to before. That area was mostly fine and had quite a few fishing spots, but no new fish. I also cleared a blockage and found a campfire at the top of the hill but no one was there... Maybe I am not supposed to be here yet. I then went into the East Coast Cave and Hummel even asks "Hmm... Should we really be checking this out now?" Well, I pushed on anyway and did some fishing, where I fished up a Zokumethus which was very tough to kill... I proceeded on and noticed another one charging me and took it out. Then I saw a third one and realized it was the Primordials all over again, I was not actually killing the thing! Oh no! So my weapons are useless against undead and at the start of the chapter the village mentioned a Ghost Ship... I am now afraid to return to Castaway Village because I did notice the Longhorn Coast was all foggy when it normally wasn't...

Malkroth, I really liked the section you're about to enter. For what it's worth (and this is a slight spoiler for you, but not a big one)

Spoiler:

your weapons will be useless against undead during your entire run through the ghost ship, which makes it interesting. Fortunately, the ship's not big and the enemies are not too hard to avoid

.

Last night, I made it up to a major plot point:

Spoiler:

I've gone down to the depths of the Archaeozoic Chasm, and found the Oceanus's lair. It's time it take it out! This feels like a big thing that the game's been building towards. I tried once or twice yesterday but the battle was just brutal, and I couldn't get the hang of it. So I'll try again today.

Update: I beat that boss, and

Spoiler:

To be honest, this was probably my least favorite boss of the game, and a bit of a letdown for such a climactic encounter. Until I searched for help online, I didn't get that I was just supposed to throw those little exploding spores at the boss until it dropped to the ground -- which meant just dodging its attacks for a while until those spores regrew, and then pummel it. I like the combat plenty to begin with, and I found the whole spore thing awkward. I also found the different elevations, and the rising currents, to be pretty awkward too. Oceanus would definitely hit me a couple times, each time, as I tried to rise back up to one of the platforms, and there wasn't much I could do about it.

Fortunately the next boss (which happened quickly after that) was pretty awesome, even if it was very challenging and took me a dozen tries!

Malkroth wrote:

Edit: I also think I like Dana's solo sections more than the normal party sections. Fighting with just one character feels a lot more fluid and less busy. I suppose I could set the allies to defensive but then things would probably slow down as I have to do all the damage myself and the game expects the AI allies to do some damage.

I actually like these sections a lot too. I'm not sure if I like them more, but the solo combat feels like a nice change of pace. And toggling between the stances works really well. I love how each of them serve a defined function.

LastSurprise wrote:
Malkroth wrote:

Edit: I also think I like Dana's solo sections more than the normal party sections. Fighting with just one character feels a lot more fluid and less busy. I suppose I could set the allies to defensive but then things would probably slow down as I have to do all the damage myself and the game expects the AI allies to do some damage.

I actually like these sections a lot too. I'm not sure if I like them more, but the solo combat feels like a nice change of pace. And toggling between the stances works really well. I love how each of them serve a defined function.

I am not sure what it is, but Dana's Gritalka mode seems to handle better than Sahad even though they are both slow moving with long wind-up attacks. Maybe it is that when in this form you tend to only fight other slow, lumbering enemies, or her skills work better than Sahad's do.

LastSurprise wrote:

Malkroth, I really liked the section you're about to enter. For what it's worth (and this is a slight spoiler for you, but not a big one)

Spoiler:

your weapons will be useless against undead during your entire run through the ghost ship, which makes it interesting. Fortunately, the ship's not big and the enemies are not too hard to avoid

Spoiler:

That sounds interesting. As long as it is a single beat in a game, unkillable enemies are not necessarily a bad thing.

Just wrapped up the next section of the game, which was a nice little story and segment.

Spoiler:

The Ghost Ship

Spoiler:

And after I returned to the village, the game unlocked Warping! I can now fast travel between crystals... and location points! I kind of wonder if the original design of the game did not have fast travel available from the beginning of the game and it is only at this point you would have it. That would make traveling across the island a lot more tedious, but would make sense from typical JRPG game design choices.

My spoiler reminds me of a question I have been mulling over. What is the time frame of this game supposed to be like? How long have the castaways been on Seiren at this point? Each time we set up camp it is supposed to mark a day of traveling passing by, and when the Hunts are introduced, Dogi says Schlamm Jungle is at least two days away. And we have been called back from our exploration several times to handle raids, and made at least two return trips from Aegrias. So is this game taking place over a short time like a couple months or is it supposed to be much longer, like have we been shipwrecked for nearly half a year now or something?

Spoiler:

Also when you find Katthew near Baja Tower, the dialogue pops up that you wait for Dogi to show up to escort him back to the village. So did we just camp out for 3-4 days hanging with Katthew until Dogi shows up? Seems like a massive waste of time. Early on I didn't even think about the incongruity of sending Little Paro back and forth just to get an escort for someone. Sounds like a bit of a story hack to provide for a mechanical need of not constantly teleporting the player back to the village.

I think that at one point the story skips forward a full week. It's between two of the chapters, I think. But I've been wondering the same thing, and I'll bet the story takes place over months. Reinforcing the village, building the ship,

Spoiler:

And then the second ship, after Carlan loses the first one

All have to take quite a bit of time.

Plus you can grow veggies, which also takes time, but also I feel like the veggie growth speed is insane and will hurt my brain if I think about it too much.

Yeah, any time a game approaches crop growth, you just don't really want to think about the time scale, it is usually really bad. I guess the fact that they are even thinking about using seeds to grow crops reinforces just how long they are spending on the island. Makes me wonder how those with families outside the island are handling it. I assume they probably get a report of the Lombardia sinking, no survivors found, so they just have to assume their loved ones are dead. Going to be a real surprise when they show up alive again if we get off this island.

I'm still right on Malkroth's heels, and just finished the

Spoiler:

Ghost Ship

yesterday. Very atmospheric.

Some of the bosses were feeling too easy, so I've gone back up to Hard again, and it feels more reasonable this time. Beaten a few bosses on Hard, and only gotten a couple of Game Overs so far. I think the difference maker is that at this point I know when and how to use the flash guard and dodge, which makes both defense and offense much more manageable. And I know how to chain my moves together better to do more damage in a limited time. And I have more healing items now.

As for the timeline,

Spoiler:

I assume this is over several months at this point. I didn't think about the fast travel before we officially learned how to warp, but my guess is that they were manually traveling back and forth between the Ruins of Eternia and the Castaway village a lot, so everything was taking a lot of time. It makes the thing with the raids weird, since that means the monsters were just chilling outside the village for 3-4 days before we could get back, but it's operating on video game time/logic, so I try to not to worry about it too much. And of course, I would love to know how some of these people survived for months on their own. The gladiator lady, sure, she was fine. But I'm not sure how Ed survived over on the east side of the island even with doing a lot of hiding.

And as a side note, having seen several pregnancy/births now, they are never really handled close to accurately in any media that I've seen, and this one is no exception.

We named the boy Luke.

With my Metroid: Dread break and increasing work responsibilities, you guys are catching right up with me!

I've definitely noticed a difficulty spike in the next area I got to

Spoiler:

Right after Dana temporarily left my party.

Made me wonder if this is an area where I'm expected to run on through, and come back to fight the monsters later. Some were absolute damage sponges.

Made it to Chapter 6 today! The story definitely took a turn ...

Spoiler:

So the great tree is fueling evolution, but also causing world-ending events to try to see which species survive? Interesting premise. I'll be so curious to see where this goes!

Had a pretty rough, mandatory raid at the beginning of this chapter. Those monsters were no joke! And then I tried to take on a quest for one of my new village members

Spoiler:

the hyper-competent butler

But quickly got my butt handed to me. Still, it's nice to feel the game building to a crescendo!

LastSurprise wrote:

Had a pretty rough, mandatory raid at the beginning of this chapter. Those monsters were no joke! And then I tried to take on a quest for one of my new village members

Spoiler:

the hyper-competent butler

But quickly got my butt handed to me. Still, it's nice to feel the game building to a crescendo!

I had to retry that one a few times before I managed to beat it.

I think I'm going to need to come back to it at a higher level. I had a few attempts where I felt like I was doing well, but then another one kept spawning.

I'm getting real tired of my lead character getting knocked down and immobilized when a primordial roars, by the way. We've killed some big freaking dinos, you'd think we would be over that by now.

Been playing this while i help my wife with out 7 month old... juts reache the TRee and im closing in!!!

I just beat the big boss in the next dungeon after the ghost ship, and I want to gush about it in spoilers.

Spoiler:

HO. LEEE. CRAP. The Oceanus was a cool fight. First with the whole setup of the village out there to ambush the beast, and then they got into their own fight, then a whole new rocking song, and the whole arena reveal. At first when I fell off the ledge you start on, I was like ‘welp, I guess I’m just going to take a bit of damage here and warp back up,’ but I kept falling and in this wonderful AHA moment suddenly realized that the whole arena was open to me, and I could dash to other platforms to launch the spores at fiend. And then dropping down to the bottom of the abyss to hit it in the glowy face to do real damage. And the tension of rising back up to the top on a vent since it makes you a sitting duck (and I got hit a lot on the way up). And all of this is enhanced by my general terror at the prospect of deep water things (I like my feet on land, thank you very much).

This might be my favorite boss fight of the year. I’d have to think about it, and Ys games tend to have really good final bosses, but I'll remember this one for awhile.

I now have some exploring to do since the latest equipment opened up some new places to go, before I resume the story.

I've finally started my play through. Feels fairly familiar from Memories of Celceta, took a couple of tries to beat the first cave boss. Now on a general exploration quest.

Finally got some more play time on this today, was busy with wrapping up some limited time stuff in other games...

Wrapped up all the side quests that opened after my previous story segment then continued the story with another Dana solo segment and a new adventuring gear item! I immediately dropped the story and went back to explore the areas I had discovered earlier that required it to explore. Found some pretty nice items in those areas too. I now have gloves that have increased drop rate up up up on them.

Dana mid-chapter 5 sequence:

Spoiler:

Io showed up again in the Sanctuary area when I looked at the third monolith. The game is really making me wonder who she actually is. Even though Dana and everyone else interacts with her as if she is an Eternian child, she doesn't look like the other Eternians. Although I guess Rastell and his father don't exactly blend in either. But she's the one who kind of led Dana to discovering the Sanctuary in the first place and seems capable enough to make her way through the area.

I will push this weekend to finish this.... our baby is now 9 months (today) and things are starting to calmn down heheheh. i am currently exping a bit

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/DHrAPog.jpg)

Plenty to write about! I'm into Chapter 6, at the Octus Overlook. The trophies are coming in hot, now -- like I've gotten all the various material components, and just finished completely fortifying the village. While I feel like I could finish the game in one long-ish session -- but that there's plenty of cleanup to do. Definitely have been enjoying some of the late-game quests,

Spoiler:

Like retrieving that egg from the Pangaea plains, and then running in terror as all the dinos chase me. Or, finally putting my skills to the test against Silvia!

One particularly noteworthy thing, that I really enjoyed, is that I finally finished clearing all those obstructions off the map!

Spoiler:

The final one presented a nice party scene where everybody banded together for a day-long project, including a couple people who hung off to the side and made snacks for the group. I love it when a team bands together! That final, 24-person X unlocked a hidden dungeon, which I guess is optional content. There were a lot of Level 70 bats (I was around 55) that went down easily enough, but could also do tons of damage with each hit. And there was some kind of boss at the bottom that was clearly an optional superboss. At level 80, it could hit for around 6,000 HP in one blow, whereas each of my characters have 2,000 to 3,000. It was also super fast.

It definitely feels like there's been -- if not a difficulty spike -- a spike in how hard the monsters hit. But then, as I progress on with the story, I notice my team leveling up more and I like that as we move into the ending.

More to come on the story later!

And done with Ch.5! Ch. 5 in general was really good. It feels like the first 4 chapters were more adventuring focused and getting to know the island, and while there is still exploring in Ch.5, that really where the story started kicking in and the tone changed. And it had that one absolutely High Tier boss fight that I wrote about earlier.

I'm a bit into Ch.6 now. That raid to start the chapter was tough, and I think I used most of my potions and had to cycle through the team since everyone was getting low on health, but I still got through it on the first try. Definitely the hardest one so far.

I'm also big into filling up the map and knocking out all those green exclamation marks like LastSurprise. Awhile back I got the artifact that expands how much of the map you 'see' when exploring, and that has basically has never left my adventuring tool slots. I'm right at 92% of the map explored right now, although I think I need to go back and redo a night exploration or two to get a few more percentage points.

I am at teh end.. and trying to get more survivors... but I guess i will jut make the final push

I don't know how much you've been exploring and clearing quests as you go. But if you have, there aren't too many to collect at the end. I believe there are a total of 24.

Spoiler:

Or 25 if you recruit Master Kong

I think I missed some of them... and well TBH..... i wont go back.. i will finish the game today most likely hehehe

Nice! Let us know how the end goes.

Sundown wrote:

And done with Ch.5! Ch. 5 in general was really good. It feels like the first 4 chapters were more adventuring focused and getting to know the island, and while there is still exploring in Ch.5, that really where the story started kicking in and the tone changed. And it had that one absolutely High Tier boss fight that I wrote about earlier.

I'm a bit into Ch.6 now. That raid to start the chapter was tough, and I think I used most of my potions and had to cycle through the team since everyone was getting low on health, but I still got through it on the first try. Definitely the hardest one so far.

Yes! I think that must have been the one bobbywatson was talking about, further up in the thread. I got through it on the first try too, but just barely. And I think that all of my base defenses had been overrun by wave 2. I was just not strong enough to take the enemies down quickly.

I really like some of the turns the story has taken... Spoilers through about half of the Octus Overlook.

Spoiler:

It's interesting to think of the Great Tree as a tree that nurtures a particular species and spurs its advancement, but then is also responsible for bringing about a cataclysm that causes its downfall.

I'm not totally sure what purpose the Wardens of Evolution serve. They say they're observers, and they clearly are helping the tree, but then why does the tree preserve them? Does it have a will, and chooses to keep them alive, or is this just a side effect of its power?

The Great Tree of Origins also seems like a counterpoint to the Tree of Psyches that Hydra created. Clearly, the Tree of Origins has fed on the psyches of the people who were crushed in each cataclysm, and has fed on the psyches of its wardens most of all. It's surprising to me that the Wardens keep telling Adol how hopeless it is to resist as they simultaneously (at least tacitly) support his and Dana's efforts to resist. Maybe it's just a matter of not wanting to get their hopes up, after their hopes were dashed in the past?

I'm also really curious to learn more about Sarai and why she showed up as the Queen. Did she, like Dana, try to deny the Lacrimosa, and what she would later come to think of as fate? Or was she there as part of the Tree's plan all along? Did she befriend Dana out of some effort to help identify the next Warden? Was Sarai really the queen all along, so that when it was time for the "old" queen to die, the "young" one would take her place? So many questions!

Bit the bullet on the chameleon bridge boss and am lowering the difficulty. Got a bit sick of continually getting my ass handed to me and burning through consumables. Probably I'm not even that good at these games really, need a big glowing signpost to tell me when to dodge/guard. Did the first raid which I gather is one of the main additions over the previous games (7/Celceta). Still got an S-rank even though the other team was making mad points over me. Anyway, I guess the strategy of those will become clearer over time.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

Bit the bullet on the chameleon bridge boss and am lowering the difficulty. Got a bit sick of continually getting my ass handed to me and burning through consumables. Probably I'm not even that good at these games really, need a big glowing signpost to tell me when to dodge/guard. Did the first raid which I gather is one of the main additions over the previous games (7/Celceta). Still got an S-rank even though the other team was making mad points over me. Anyway, I guess the strategy of those will become clearer over time.

I found the main strategy for the raids is spam your special attacks, since the special meter regenerates extra fast. Honestly, it just feels like a great excuse to level up your moves. And also, upgrade the defensive barriers as you can. I would generally take a party weapon upgrade over upgrading a barrier since you're going to use your weapons way more than you will use the gong, but if you can spare the extra parts, it's generally worth it. And the early raids are a lot more forgiving.

Still in ch 2 but finally found the 4th playable character. I spent way too long wondering where to go, but did end up exploring a cave and finding another castaway. Also, upgraded the second tier of weapons fully so that should hopefully make the next boss a bit less difficult!

There was kind of a swamp area which I assume I'm not meant to be able to progress through right now. Seems like I need swamp shoes or something!

Quests? Completed
Fishes? Caught
Approval? Maxed
Spirits? Rescued
Goods? Transported (a.k.a. - played a lot with Hummel)

I'm effectively at the point of no return, and I'm not sure exactly when I'm going to pull the trigger on finishing this game. Part of me wants to finish all the content first, but I also know that the level cap for this stuff is high.

At the very least, I want to finish the bonus Crypt dungeon with Dana, and maybe try to finish the hunts and raids -- though some of those are very high level. I'll probably leave the optional boss in Silent Tower until the very end.

I'm deep into Ch.6 now, up to Octus Overlook. Based on both story progression and playing other Falcom games, this has "close to the end" written all over it. I don't know if I'm going to 100% everything since that's probably a tall ask, but I've fully upgraded everyone's weapons except Laxia (who has been riding the pine for basically since I got Hummel), and finished upgrading nearly all of the village. And I've maxed out nearly all the skills for Adol and Hummel so far, and have a couple other characters that I regularly use pretty close as well. Been having a lot of fun with this one.

There were two particularly rough sequences that I've hit in this chapter, one from a sidequest and one from a hunt. I'll drop them in spoilers.

Spoiler:

First was that Lv. 66 Hunt in the Valley of the Kings that you unlocked after doing the Lv. 60 one. That one is just absolutely overwhelming with enemies, to the point where I can't see what's going on; I just spam AOE attacks and pray something happens and that I don't get hit. The framerate on the Switch has held up admirably in this section, since I'm routinely hitting 4-6 different enemies at once, with all the sound effects and pop ups that entails, and it still stayed steady. And this was the first hunt or raid I failed, since I just couldn't kill the boss of the first try. I came back with a couple more levels under my belt, and was able to kill all the nests by around round 5, and it took until round 9 to kill the boss. Lighting a torch right next to it seemed to help do a lot of damage, but since everyone targets the torches, it's hard to get it to actually light up. Same issue I had with the rest of the hunt, too, and why it took so long to get the nests destroyed. I finished it on the second try with a B grade, and I'm perfectly happy with that.

The second was the Pangiaia Plains Night expedition, which was crazy hard. My team kept waking up all the Lv. 60 dinosaurs, and so I routinely had 6 of those things around me. Even worse when I had to fight one of the bigger ones to get access to a nest, since I basically several characters stunlocked to death as all the dinosaurs kept biting my crew all the time. And then as we're running away with the egg, I swear I had 20 of those things chasing us all at once. Miss a step, and 3 show up in the bottom of the frame ready to pounce. This was the spot where the Switch's framerate finally gave up and dropped down to something painfully low, and didn’t recover until after it flipped back over to day; even through the escape cutscene and the text boxes afterwards, everything was still running at like half speed. An overall harrowing experience. But also really cool.

Anyway, I'm shooting to finish this one soonish.

Nice job, Sundown! That second encounter, in particular was brutal. For the first ...

Spoiler:

For some reason I didn't have quite as much trouble with that one as I did with the raid that began the chapter. And I found that the technique Hummel learned last for me -- Prominence Shot -- was key. Once I had that one, I just started spamming big AOE damage.

For my part, I'm done! Finished the final battle late Thursday, including the "best ending" stuff for having a high reputation, and watched the final cut scenes and credits on Friday morning (not knowing how long they'd go on for).

Spoiler:

I liked the sendoff for the islanders a lot, it was bittersweet and the ending text felt like it really wrapped up the stories well. But the "true" ending stuff, with meeting the earth goddess, and having this whole story (including evolution) exist within the dream of a goddess, felt frankly unnecessary. And I didn't feel like the true final boss (Origin of Life) made any kind of sense as a physical conflict, as opposed to the god at the heart of the Tree of Origins (Theos de Endrogram). But seeing Dana ascend to godhood was pretty cool, and a nice sendoff for her.

I also didn't like the MASSIVE difficulty spike before the true final boss, though I did appreciate the two screens worth of high-level monsters to grind against, plus all the revival items they dropped! I burned through a ton of those in the final fight.

Sundown, and anyone else, cook plenty of high-level dinners before that final fight (you'll know it when you get there).