Adol Christin, the long-running amnesiac protagonist of the Ys series, is back for another adventure. In Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, you quickly find yourself stranded on the mysterious, uncharted ‘Isle of Seiren’. As none have ever landed on the Isle and escaped, and ships that come too close have a tendency to disappear, never to be seen again, the Isle is surrounded in little more than legends and warnings.
Unlike previous Ys games, in Lacrimosa of Dana your exploration is fueled primarily by the desire to survive, and the survivors of the ill-fated Lombardia – the ship Adol’s journey begins on – must band together in order to not perish at the hands of this strange island full of creatures thought extinct millennia ago. And, if that wasn’t enough, one night, Adol begins having strange dreams of an advanced, majestic civilization and a lovely young lady he’s never met named Dana.
It’s that time of year again. The time when we look back on the year and decide – in some strange arbitrary fashion – which games reign supreme!
Today we’ll be revisiting the realms we’ve explored, reminiscing on the rivals we vanquished, scrutinizing the structures we built (and destroyed), deliberating about the dungeons we discovered, and judging the year’s journeys. Who will survive all of this speculation and come out on top?
This was a year that featured a new console; new entries in many long-standing franchises including Mario, Persona, Assassin’s Creed and more; entirely new IPs; and even the birth of a new genre. Many exceptional games will fail to make the cut, but for those who do… the glory will be all the sweeter. So without further delay, it is time for me to reveal the best games of 2017.
Guerilla Games, known primarily for the Killzone series of fps games, decided they wanted to do something different for a change of pace. So they decided to make a third person open world shooter with rpg elements in a post-apocalyptic world full of robot dinosaurs. You know, the usual suspects.
Our protagonist Aloy is an orphaned child being raised by a man named Rost. The two both live within the boundaries of the Nora tribe’s ‘sacred lands’, but are branded as exiles and are forbidden from entering Nora settlements or communicating with those of the tribe. Horizon begins by showing Aloy’s discovery of a strange relic of the ancient world while still a child, a trinket that will shape her future.
The Persona series’ Velvet Room has always defined each game. In Persona 3, the room appeared as an elevator representing one of the game’s core story themes. In Persona 4, it is a limousine shrouded in fog signifying our protagonist’s current transient state. Persona 5 ups the symbolism a notch by making the Velvet Room the prison that is meant to be a window into the lead character’s current peril.
Within the first hour of your time with Persona 5, you’ll come to the realization that the story here is not light-hearted. For all that the music is extremely up-beat, what we’re dealing with her is a story of misfits ground down by the world and trying to strike back – to reclaim some sense of life for their lives. In Persona 5, our protagonist – known by the code name Joker – forms a group of thieves known as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and seeks to right the wrongs of the society that has failed him by stealing the twisted hearts of the wicked who are preying upon the innocent. Sounds simple, right?
A few years back, one of the most unique games I’ve ever played came out… a strange gem called ‘Nier’. Nier was not a great game, but it had such charm that it was hard not to love it. It featured gameplay ideas from a wide variety of genres, numerous endings, awkward mechanics, and an amazing soundtrack. Somehow this mix of disparate ideas, awkward implementation, and amazing music created one of the most interesting and memorable RPGs I’ve played, even if the game was nowhere near perfect. And as interesting as it was… it did not sell well.
Given that, you can imagine my surprise when SquareEnix announced a sequel coming, developed in conjunction with Platinum Games, a developer notable for great, unique action games – surprise, and excitement. When thinking about the strange and wonderful ideas the Nier team had to begin with, and matching those up with the polish Platinum is known for… it really felt like the chance for Nier to shine how it deserved. The big question: Did it live up to these escalated expectations or did it disappoint?