Josh reviewed Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana last year, and came to the conclusion that the game was well worth playing. That, however, was the PlayStation 4 version - with the game coming to Nintendo Switch, we felt that it was important to see exactly how well the game transitioned to the platform. To that end, we got our hands-on with the Nintendo Switch version in both Handheld and Docked mode at NISA's booth during the show..
If you haven't already played Ys VIII, or are otherwise familiar with it, the game has you take the role of Adol Christin - famed adventurer, infamous shipwrecker - in his quests on Seiren Isle. During a voyage passing by the cursed island, Adol and most of the passengers of the Lombardia find themselves stranded, and forced to survive. Players are tasked with both building up a base of defense against the local wildlife and exploring the islands, all the while uncovering the truth behind the island that seems to house Primordial species long since thought to be extinct.
The game's combat revolves around the party system, with each party member's attacks corresponding to one of three elements - certain enemies are weak to one of these elements, and it's best to attack them with their weakness first to "break" them, before finishing them off. Besides that combat is relatively fast-paced but simple. Players evading or blocking at the right moment will either slow time down or strengthen the parties attacks for a short time. Throughout the game, and while playing characters, you'll periodically unlock skills for each character that can be assigned to any of the face buttons and activated by pressing the R button alongside said face button.
As for the title's performance - the game runs at 720p/30FPS in both Handheld and Docked mode, otherwise the game looks remarkably similar to the title on PlayStation 4. The controls are snappy, responsive, and during the duration of my demo I didn't run into any glaring issues or bugs. Handheld mode ran more or less flawlessly for the spec, though admittedly I didn't get the oppurtunity to push the game to its limits with the previously PlayStation 4/PC version exclusive content. What I did notice, however, was a worrying trend with the game in docked mode. It ran fine for the most part - but it felt like the game either had some framerate drops or framepacing issues when docked. A little baffling considering that the game runs with the same resolution and target framerate while in Handheld mode.
For what it's worth, I've played quite a bit of Ys VIII on both PlayStation 4 and Vita, and the performance seems to be a very solid middleground between the two so far. I'm anxious to see how some of the PlayStation 4 content holds up on Nintendo's handheld, but for now NIS seem to have delivered a more than solid port for their efforts. We'll be letting you know how the full port stacks up in the near future.