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Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King - Review [PS2]

Discussion in 'Playground' started by Ofelix, May 6, 2006.

  1. Ofelix

    Ofelix The world changes, we do not, what irony!

    Dec 19, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King [PS2]
    Square-Enix, 2005

    In this 8th instalment of the popular Dragon Quest series, known in the United States as Dragon Warrior, the player control a nameless hero set upon a quest to end a terrible curse that plague his king, Trode liege of Trodain. This game is all about ‘’old school’’ and tries to recreate the feeling of past Dragon Quest games. Don’t expect great originality in game-play or plot. However it is still a greatly enjoyable game.

    The plot is classic for a high magic fantasy world, an evil Jester roams the land slaughtering innocent and leaving desolation wherever he goes. Dhoulmagus is your typical evil wizard, and it is your task to end his schemes. Along the way their will be some twist in the plot there and there that enhance it a little. However for the most part you won’t be amazed by the story. It’s also pretty linear but nothing forces you to follow its path and you can do about anything you want whenever you want. And there is a lot to do in this game, the main plot itself will easily require 80 hours and there are many side quests to take. There’s a monster arena where you capture monsters all around the world to battle them against other’s monster. A princess will take your mini-medals you have collected from your travels and in exchange she will give you powerful items. Many dungeons lie there only awaiting daring adventurers to come claim its treasure and defeat its powerful guardian. King Trode will also give you the opportunity to forge your own powerful artefact via the means of the alchemy pot. Simply put two or three item in the pot and voila, a brand new item. There are literally hundreds of recipes possible.

    In other words the world is huge and continuous you will only find small pauses when entering towns and such. It’s also beautiful and some of the wilderness will keep you staring at your screen pondering why they didn’t include an option to take pictures in the game. Also no forest, waterfall or mountain is the same. Each region of the world has its own unique atmosphere and scenery. Needless to say the game is astonishing with its cell-shading graphics.

    The characters model are equally impressive, their emotion are believable and their movements fluid. The animation is top notch, again thanks to the impressive cell-shading engine. Your nameless hero will soon have help from the others character. Yangus an ex-bandit will be your front fighter with his mighty strength. Angelo’s healing magic has no equal and is also a capable warrior. Finally Jessica’s mastery of aggressive magic will annihilate any opposition. All of them have unique personality, manner of speech, and history that helps to make them interesting. Often the character’s pas history will mend in the main plot and will unite the group as a whole. The voice acting is top quality and each one of them has its own charm. Note that the translation was done in England and the result is easily ’’hear-able’’ to say the least. It’s a matter of taste but there’s a lot of different English accent in there and sometimes it’s quite funny to hear. However some character will use British slang, especially Yangus and many times it’s a little hard to understand what they’re saying if you’re not familiar with this. Personally it took me some time to understand what a ‘’bloke’’ and a ‘’bird’ is. After some time you’ll get used to it.

    What’s an RPG without Battle? The battle system is easy fast and great to look at. You couldn’t get more old-school with this, it’s almost as identical as past Dragon Quest game even the classic ‘’ A Slime draw near! ‘’ message (which was present in the very first Dragon Quest on the NES) before the actual combat is present. Each fight is done with turn, each individual has its turn to act, but the actual result is fast. With it’s multitude of spells and abilities and its unique ‘’monster group’’ targeting the battles are complex and challenging. The AI is pretty good and you’ll never really know what enemy will do. Each sound effects from the battles are often re-mix from previous Dragon Quest games, and fan of the series will feel comfortable.

    Each time you level up you’ll receive skill points to update your prowess with three different weapons, unharmed combat, and a unique skill. Each character has its own unique skill that gives unique abilities in and out of battle. For example the Hero’s courage will help him master fire and lighting magic, while Yangus’ Humanity will give him buffing magic. It’s not very original but helps to give more complexity to the game.

    The game is not without its flaw, the random battles are highly annoying. It could have been easily modified. You’ll often find yourself at the end of a dungeon and near your goal and because of a fatal random battle your party is wiped out. The game doesn’t bring you to the main screen when you’re defeated no, it brings you back to the nearest save game, at a cost half of your Gold coin. And God knows how items are expensive and gold scarce is in this game. Also you can’t save wherever you want you have to get to a church to save. It’s really annoying to be in the middle of a dungeon and you have to walk all the way to the church to save. The battles are pretty tough too; some of the bosses will easily wipe you if you’re not careful.

    Still the game is huge, beautiful and enjoyable and you could spend hour just walking around exploring. There’s a little something about this game that keep you playing for hours. You could play for 100 hours and more before actually finishing the plot. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is an overall great game a must for RPG fans who own a PS2.

    [ May 06, 2006, 21:23: Message edited by: Ofelix ]
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