Ys VIII: An RPG with a Legacy of Fast Combat and Great Music

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Ys VIII: An RPG with a Legacy of Fast Combat and Great Music

NIS America explores the 30-year history of a beloved RPG franchise that follows Adol Christin on his far-flung adventures.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is coming to PS4 and PS Vita this fall. Some of you are excited, and some of you are asking yourself “What’s Ys?” Well, let’s answer that for you!

Put simply, Ys (pronounced “ees”) is an action RPG series that follows an adventurer named Adol Christin as he travels to far-flung lands, saves the day through silky-smooth combat, and is completely oblivious to the swooning of maidens on his quest for adventure.

But that’s to put it simply. Those two letters hold a lot more meaning for a lot of people — and for good reason. For some, those two letters define action adventure. For others, they’re a rousing intersection of some of gaming’s best music and tightest gameplay. To get into what those two letters really mean, I think we need to go back a little bit. 30 years, to be exact.

The Background

In 1987, Falcom — a then six-year-old company that had so far released everything from golf to Mahjong games — released an RPG called Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished Omen that eschewed turn-based battles found in most RPGs for a “bump attack” system that kept the action moving. The game’s protagonist was Adol Christin, a red-headed adventurer who left home at sixteen to find adventure and chronicled his travels in a journal.

Since that first game, Adol Christin has charted an exciting path; games in the series have been released and re-released on everything from TurboGrafx-CD to PS4, Ys has spawned its own anime miniseries, and the franchise has captured the hearts, hopes, and wanderlust of adventurers everywhere. It’s been successful because of a few key components: upbeat stories of adventure; smooth, addicting action; and lovingly-composed orchestral music that ties it all together.

The Story

Every Ys story has its place in the timeline of Adol, but as any true adventurer knows, the most important thing isn’t the order or destination, it’s the journey. As the lore goes, each Ys game tells a tale from Adol’s journal entries. Each one tends toward a mostly straightforward plot, episodic narratives, and a few recurring characters.

Thankfully for a series with the roman numeral for eight in its newest game’s name, the tales they tell don’t need to be experienced in order — each one welcomes new adventurers and weathered wayfinders, alike. Adol has an unnatural knack for finding himself in new locations in need of an adventurer to go on an epic quest. And, thankfully for him, his pal Dogi seems to have a similar knack. More often than not, these two venture into jungles, mountains, and beyond in search of a good time, and generally find an epic fight or two along the way.

The Action

The first Ys game’s bump attack system meant that players never spent time waiting for a battle to start, or selecting “attack” from a menu. Just run into an enemy from the right direction, and you’d pack a wallop. No attack button, no careful choice of attack, just action. While the bump attack system was left behind after the second game in the series, the fundamentals that spawned it — speed, fun, action — are alive and well in each and every Ys installment.

Since Ys Seven, combat is fast-paced and sees you quickly switching between characters as the situation dictates to deal the proper type of damage. Even in normal encounters, the Ys series offers blood-pumping combat that rewards quick reactions, intelligent planning, and pattern recognition. But the boss battles are so epic that you might just find yourself completely lost in rapture, hands gripping the controller tight as the heart-pounding soundtrack beats the rhythm of your battle.

The Music

I’m not joking about the heart-pounding soundtrack. The music that accompanies Ys games is truly the work of artistic geniuses. Falcom’s in-house JDK Sound Team creates iconic music for each game.

If you want a taste of that sweet soundtrack goodness, you can check it out on Spotify right now. I’ve been jamming out to it the whole time I spent writing this. Might I recommend listening to track 5, Sunshine Coastline?


Which brings me nicely to the newest game in the series, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. Ys VIII takes all the elements that make Ys, well, Ys, and polishes them. The story is more evolved than ever, and for the first time in the series, whole gameplay chapters are devoted to our heroine, Dana. The action shines with some truly epic boss battles, and the controls never get in your way. Then there’s the soundtrack, which, well, just go listen to it.

I am super excited to say that Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana will be hitting PS4 and PS Vita this Fall in North America and Europe with dual audio in English and Japanese, and in-game text in English and French. We’ll have many more details on both versions next time I join you here. Until then, get an even deeper look at the history of Ys in this great retrospective article, and bookmark the game’s official website to see news about Ys VIII as we announce it!

See you next time, dood!

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7 Author Replies

  • I already have the LE preordered for the Vita, I cannot wait. :)

  • Really excited for this game; even got the Collector’s Edition pre-ordered without thinking it twice. Although, I’ve got to catch up and play Origin, VII and finish IV (Memories of Celceta).

    If you bring all the other games to PS4, I’ll get them all instantly, specially if they get physical releases. Please, make it happen!

  • soundandvision77

    Cool, thanks for the interesting article! I just got back into the Ys series after playing the original on my Sega Master System a long time ago. I remember thinking how weird the bump combat system was, but I quickly grew to like it and thought the game was very fun with an engrossing story. For the longest time I didn’t realize the series still existed until I began seeing games like Ys Seven and Memories of Celceta coming out on PSP and PS Vita. Finally I decided to jump in to Ys again, and I found a great Destructoid article called “The Ys Buyers Guide”, which helped me choose to start with the Oath in Felghana on my Vita (an older PSP remake of Ys III I think).

    Anyway, there’s been lots of great Ys news coming out lately, especially with Ys VIII, so I’m excited to work my way through the series and play all the games available on playstation. I highly recommend the Destructoid article for anyone interested in the series, but found it initially daunting like me!

    Any plans to remake some of the other games that playstation doesn’t have yet? It would be great to be able to play the whole series on Vita.


    • Hey soundandvision77! Glad you liked the article. It was a doozy to write. :D

      There’s a ton of Ys goodness out there, and we’re hoping the PS4 and Vita release of Ys VIII helps to make a lot more people aware of it and maybe even gets them to check out all the past titles! It would certainly be awesome to see all the games on the PS platform, but we don’t have anything beyond Ys VIII to announce at the moment. Any remake would generally have to come from Falcom. Here’s to hoping though!

  • Jordan V. bump attack also included an attack button once you learned to use your magic which shot long range fire balls in Ys Book I & II on the TurboGrafx CD. Hope you get to play it further one day.

    • Hey Tomoprime! Thanks for the extra info on the TurboGrafx CD release – I only got to check out the PS2 remake that didn’t have any magic in Book I.

      Have you been an Ys fan since the TurboGrafx CD release? That’s intense (and impressive)!

  • I can’t wait! Exactly what I need and what I want to sink my teeth into for hours upon hours. Listening to the soundtrack on Spotify now, can already feel the hype building up!

  • No cross buy :(

  • What I’m curious to know is why you’re publishing this in NA and not XSEED…(yes, I’m aware you’ve been publishing their games in EU for some time)

  • “Some of you are excited, and some of you are asking yourself “What’s Ys?””

    And some of us are worried that NISA will somehow ruin this. I’d like to believe that won’t happen, but… it’s not like these worries are unfounded either. Just being honest. Is NISA working closely with XSEED on the script maybe?

  • Been a fan of the franchise since Ys III on SNES and I am definitely picking this up.
    I gotta say, i am not a fan of Adol’s outfits lately. Too much like the current Legend of Heroes games. This looks like some anime school uniform. I miss my full armor.

  • Really excited for this game, have my copy pre-ordered. NIS America is such a fantastic publisher for bringing so many games to the west that we otherwise, may not get to enjoy. Thanks NIS doods, and keep the games coming!

    • You are very welcome! Thanks for the support, dood! :)

    • But the entire series has been consistently localized before by Xseed, don’t kid yourself into thinking that Ys VIII would be any different if NISA hadn’t gotten the rights to it.

    • @Bluesrhap

      Whether another publisher would have published this one game is irrelevant. The fact is NISA wanted and did publish this title, along with many other fantastic titles. Titles such as Knights of Azure, Bleach: Soul Resurreccion, Last Rebellion, Danganronpa series, Disgaea series and Natural Doctrine. I think they’ve published plenty to deserve some appreciation, no one is kidding them themselves.

    • I think it does matter, considering you commented initially that they’re fantastic for bringing games we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, which absolutely isn’t the case for Ys VIII. Also they didn’t even publish Nights of Azure, Koei Tecmo did while NISA handled the collector’s edition.

    • I was not singling out this one game in particular. I did refer to “titles” as in plural for game in general. Here let me help you out here. This is my exact sentence:

      NIS America is such a fantastic publisher for bringing so many “GAMES” to the west that we otherwise, “MAY” not get to enjoy.

      You notice I said “games” and “may”. I was not implying someone wouldn’t publish this one title. And I do own the collectors edition of Nights of Azure, so sorry for the mistake.

  • Ys: Memories of Celceta was my entrypoint into the series and it was incredible. I am glad that we’ll be getting a PS4 entry in the series! :)

  • Please port Ys Oath in Filghana, Ys Chronicles and Ys Ark of Napishtim on PS4. They are already on Steam. Would love to see Ys Seven and Memories of Celceta too if possible.

    I put the series on hold for far too long, but ended up playing Ys Book 1&2 and Ys 3 on Turbo Grafix 16 last year. I decided to play the new releases now, starting with Oath in Filghana (which is a remake of Ys 3) and I would love to do so on PS4.

  • Hi Jordan Vincent. I’ve been an activist and collector of the series for quite a few years now (Photo: http://i.imgur.com/ohAle22.jpg). Already preordered both special editions from the NIS website. I’ve also reached out via the NISA Facebook page. Hope someone gets back to me. I hope to spread awareness of the series even more. Cheers!

  • Loved these games since Ys I & II on the TurboGrafx-16. Can’t wait!

    Does this support cross buy/play?

    • Hey csps – no cross buy or play support for this one. There are some significant differences between the two versions that I couldn’t get into with this blog since it’s more of an introduction, but we’ll be sharing more specific details on each platform soon!

  • I absolutely love the Ys Series! Cant wait to get my hands on this! Please dont release this in the same week as some of the major releases coming this year! (My wallet cannot handle it)

  • I’ve never played this series yet but it has caught my eye lately. Thanks for writing this blog post. I’m stoked to see a PS4 release of it.

    • You’re very welcome for the blog, Postmita! I’m glad Ys has snagged your attention – it’s a pretty awesome series and is definitely worthy of more fans! :D

  • cant wait. I plant to pre order the LE.

  • I played Celcetta on Vita, my first Y’s game and it is one of the best games on Vita. Thanks to Y’s and NISA for continuing to support Vita.

    I will pre-order.

  • Excited for YSVIII, Pre-Ordered the Standard Vita version (would have went Collector, but Canadian Import fees). Will go well with my YS:MOC Collector edition, & YS:Origin Vita import.

    Nihon Falcom has never disappointed with YS, Trails of Series, and Tokyo Xanadu. Going to couple of fun months ahead.

  • Falcom’s final Vita release …

  • Got my steel book ps4 edition on preorder,looking forward to this game.

  • Really excited for this game….but bitterly disappointed NIS is picking this game up.

    NIS means the game will be getting overpriced limited editions with useless toys. Why can’t they just stick with a nice box and a simple book/soundtrack. If I wanted toys I would import the actual Japanese product, I don’t want some Alibaba bulk product with a logo printed on it.

    And their damn insistence to only sell the limited editions on their website and hold it hostage behind overpriced shipping costs. Did I mention that they force you pay in UK pounds which works out more expensive when you want to ship to a European region, even though you are importing the same US version?

    I hope Xseed holds out with the Trails series, because at least I know I won’t be ripped off and held hostage by my favorite Falcom franchise.

    I am at two minds whether to skip this game, NIS’ ways are just so…

  • Bitterly disappointed that you’re localizing this over XSEED. Much like when you guys lost the Atelier series to KT.

  • I already have Ys Origins, I, II, III, and VI on Steam. I’d love to play VIII, but since I insist on playing the games in order, you’ll need to bring IV, V, and VII to the PS4 or Steam first. And since Ys V has never been released in the West, I’ll probably have to play the fan-translated SNES version in an emulator. I’d be happy to spend my money on these games, but I can only do that if you make them available for me to purchase.

  • Really mad you took this away from XSEED. They worked so hard to bring Ys over to the west and have it become well-known, then you swoop in the second you think you can turn a profit and undermine them. Damn shame.

  • BEST. SERIES. EVER! Everything about Ys games are pure perfection!
    I hope they release all the games on PS4!
    I’M SO LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAY Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana!!!
    I have all the Ys Soundtracks and they are Amazing.

  • adol got ship wrecked, adol got lost, adol got hungry and ultimately adol got amnesia…. say no more, i’m gonna PO this for all platform (PC, PS4 and PSV) 10/10 adol gonna lost his memories and doesn’t nailed the heroine this time again… as always.

  • I’ve never played a Ys title before, and this introduction article was a nice read, so maybe now’s a good time to hop in. Thanks for bringing this to the Vita as well!

  • I am so friggin’ stoked to see Ys getting this much love and attention! Been trying to get my friends hooked for a bit now. :)

  • Played the original on PSP. Might give this one a try too.

  • You guys do fully realize the implications of writing this article at all right? You’ve got a torch to carry. I hope you guys can do the series the justice it deserves, given that this is the first time you’ve worked on it.

  • Does anyone know if this will be cross-save compatible?

  • Ys is my second favorite, long running RPG series of all time next to Final Fantasy. I love that they’ve always centered around Adol throughout the years and can’t wait for Ys VIII. I just recently purchased Ys Origins (on PS4) for the 4th time because I want to continue supporting this series and hope that Falcom allows the rest of the series to make their way to PS4, I’ve played each game up to V and can’t wait to continue the story. The combat looks amazing and “fresh”. Great work and can’t wait for more Ys in the future!!!!

  • I’ve loved these games ever since the early days of Ys Book I & II on the Turbografx. I’ve played and replayed them all countless times since. I’m really looking forward to Ys VIII, day one purchase for me! Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing the rest of them get a release on the PS4 as well! I have the original Falcom Japanese releases which were fan-translated into English, and all of them on Steam as well, but I’ll gladly buy them again on the PS4!

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