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Ys VIII's troubled PC port staggers into the limelight

You maniacs! You blew it up!

They say good things come to those who wait, but perhaps the release of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana could have gone back into the oven a little bit longer. The six-month-delayed PC port (first to completely re-translate the game, then to deal with a rising tide of technical issues) has finally made it to launch, though after looking at the first wave of public response, it doesn’t sound like publisher NIS America have done Falcom’s latest action-RPG much justice.

While I’ve sadly not been able to get my hands on a PC review copy of the game (and with every word written here, I am less likely to ever see one), but reports so far from some folks I trust report that the game is in a pretty grim state, with threadbare visual options and internal resolution locked, meaning that no matter how high or low your settings, it’s just up-or-downscaling the same image either way. Framerate is also capped at 60hz, which I was largely expecting, but is sad news for anyone with a high refresh rate monitor.

There are also complaints that the mouse & keyboard control options are limited. While you can rebind, the camera misbehaves itself when you try and control it via mouse. While this isn’t an issue for myself (I consider a modern XInput gamepad an essential piece of PC gaming hardware, and have done for around a decade now), it’s obviously going to be a problem for those without the right hardware to hand.

Harder to pin down as a widespread issue or the initial problems of a frustrated few are reports of performance issues, including stuttering and slowdown during cutscenes (pre-rendered or otherwise), and performance drops within game being accompanied by a slow-motion effect, possibly due to the framerate being tied to the game’s timescale. Of course, you’ve also got some people who are reporting no issues whatsoever – such is the nature of some PC ports – though the sheer volume of complaints does indicate some real problems.

It’s all a bit sad, really. The Ys series has been consistently good fun for a great many years, and the previous few PC releases (handled by XSeed, as opposed to NIS America in this case) have been very polished, for the most part. It’s a game that I still hope to play sometime in the next few months, although unless more fixes are forthcoming, it’ll be on another platform.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is available for £45/$60 via GOG and Steam, although the console versions might be a safer bet at this point.

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Dominic Tarason

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