YS VIII starts simple, you are shipwrecked on an island and strange things start happening (think TV show "Lost"). At first, the game may appear like a simple hack n slash, but the game is constantly providing new things to do. You begin finding other shipwrecked people, bringing them to safety, and eventually building up an entire village. This actually becomes very addicting/exciting, very rarely is a new shipwreck useless, everyone has their part to play and commonly provide new essentials such as blacksmithing, tailoring, etc.
The main draw here though is the combat, and much like the game itself, starts off quite slowly but grows into something great. As you advance, you'll accumulate a vast amount of new skills, party members and items. The combat has a lot of depth, and if you play on one of the harder difficulties, expect to be really tested. You'll need to take advantage of dodging at the right times, which if done at the exact right moment, will slow down enemies allowing you to deal a lot of damage. Some attacks are difficult to dodge, but you can "flash guard", by blocking at the exact time an attack hits you, you'll take 0 damage and receive a 100% critical hit rate for a short time. In a way, it sort of feels like an extremely fast paced Dark Souls.
The only criticism I can think of is the graphics, which with its roots as a Vita game, can't really be helped. However, if you're into Action JRPG's then this game is an essential purchase. Great combat, great cast, and a story that slowly grows into a grossing tale.