Dragon Quest VIII Review

Dragon Quest VIII Review

Jun 24, 2014

Dragon Quest VIII is an enhanced version of one of the most beloved RPGs ever. Does it do the original justice?

Dragon Quest VIII is a fairly traditional western RPG. The player travels the world, visits towns, rights wrongs, chases the big bad and kills a whole lot of monsters while doing it. Battles use a familiar menu system and are random like in a lot of RPGs. Dragon Quest VIII is much like a Final Fantasy game, although the entire vibe of the game is very different.

Screenshot_2014-06-06-20-27-41Dragon Quest VIII combines a fairly traditional level up system with an interesting skill point system. When characters level up, they gain stats and more HP/MP as in most RPGs. They also gain a varying amount of skill points per level up. These points can be used to boost their skill in a variety of weapons each character can use. These range from attacks that ignore defense to basic damage boosts and even giving attack orientated character the ability to heal or buff the party. It is the player’s choice how to develop their characters and this gives a lot of flexibility with how to build your party.

Dragon Quest VIII is a nicely challenging RPG as well. Enemies are no pushovers in random battles and the game is full of enemies who put the party to sleep, poison them or just plain do a lot of damage. Lots of enemies can call for reinforcements or otherwise make battle harder compared to the more “attack, attack, attack, heal” cycle that Final Fantasy games fall into. Dragon Quest VIII makes you work for victory in most combat. The right equipment is also essential, as is allocating skill points to make use of that equipment. Dragon Quest VIII has a good learning curve and is always just hard enough without being too challenging.

<Screenshot_2014-06-20-10-08-18Dragon Quest VIII really delivers when it comes to the awesome characters in the game too. Each one of your party members is just full of life and have their own quirks and personality. The dialogue is very well written indeed and there isn’t a hint of poor translation. The way that Yargus spends the entire game talking in cockney is especially impressive; it’s lots of fun to read. The dialogue just tells the game’s story very well and there are lots of jokes and funny situations as well as emotional and touching ones. There is also a consult option in the menu; this lets the player talk to party members about a situation and is useful if the player is coming back to the game from a long absence and might be confused about where they’re going next.

In short, Dragon Quest VIII reads exactly like a high caliber RPG should. It is less serious than the typical Final Fantasy game while still being compelling and mature. This is a breath of fresh air after stuffy games like Final Fantasy 12 and 13. Instead of the umpteenth moody teen and collection of angry people, we have Jessica the feisty sorceress, Yargus the reformed bandit and Angelo the ladies’ man Templar among others. Just about everyone in a town has something interesting or funny to say. It feels a lot like the way RPGs used to be. Anyone who has played the Breath of Fire games will know what I mean.

Dragon Quest VIII really looks special. The graphics are a sight to behold. Characters are minutely detailed and just amazing to look at. The level of detail on clothing, hair and such is very impressive. Dragon Quest VIII’s world looks fantastic. The landscape is very pretty, with sun drenched grass bustling towns, leafy forests and there’s plenty of cool buildings and interesting locales to just gawk at. DQ8 really pushes the boundaries of an Android game hard.

The sound is similarly excellent. The music is amazing and some tracks in particular, like the soothing, bright tune for the Tower of Alexander are spine tingling and will get stuck in your head for hours. There isn’t a single dud track in the game, but this is hardly surprising as Square Enix is known for their musical prowess. Sound effects are a little quiet, but what’s there is excellent and there are even a few callbacks to the original Dragon Warrior, like the beeping when characters attack.

Dragon Quest VIII is a very long game and the game is so dense with places to explore and secrets to find that it will literally take months to see all there is in the game. The great characters and excellent plot will keep players hooked until the end. The lack of controller support is a bummer. Dragon Quest VIII is perfectly suited for playing on a television and an external controller would make this much easier.

Dragon Quest VIII is a practically flawless game. Its characters, plot and world fit together with its gameplay to create a level of polish and fun that is rarely seen nowadays. It is huge, compelling and clever and it is a must play for anyone who calls themselves a gamer.

Final Fantasy IV Review

Final Fantasy IV Review

Jan 29, 2014

Final Fantasy IV is yet another amazing Final Fantasy game that has at last made the journey to Android.

Final Fantasy IV tells the story of Cecil a young man trained in the ways of the Dark Knight and leader of a core of elite airborne soldiers known as the Red Wings. When his king begins ordering strange missions involving stealing world bearing crystals from cities and the destruction of a helpless village Cecil begins to have doubts and rebels against his tyranny.

Screenshot_2014-01-27-13-04-14Along the way he meets a cast of deep and interesting characters and unveils a much more sinister plot. Final Fantasy 4, like most Final Fantasies is a huge, sprawling game that will take upwards of 60-80 hours to beat. It also has one of the best plots in the series and one of the most mature.

As for the actual gameplay, FFIV is an expertly executed JRPG with all the features expected. There are lots of random battles, plenty of dungeons to explore and loads of side quest and additional content just waiting to be found. FF4 is also very centered on story and there are excellent story scenes to tie the game together. Enemies are imaginative and require real strategy to defeat. FF4 has lost little of its difficulty from way back when and feels just as in-depth and satisfying as it did all those years ago. There is just always something new to explore or a new enemy to fight or some tidbit of story that changes the game. Final Fantasy 4 does a fantastic job of propelling the player through the game just to see what happens next.

The characters on offer really are interesting too. Whenever it’s Rydia, the cute little girl with the ability to summon world ending beasts or Yang, the super tough bare handed monk, FF4 provides a lot of characters you’ll care about and love using in battle.

Screenshot_2014-01-27-15-52-15This version of Final Fantasy IV includes a lot of extra story scenes that weren’t in the original game. These are closely based on the actual events of the original game, but told in a more dynamic way, thanks to the much improved graphics and sound. These are very welcome and it’s interesting to see how the original story scenes are interpreted.

Final Fantasy IV looks and sounds gorgeous. The graphics are full 3-D and they capture the feel of the original game, while also being very pretty to look at. The game’s sound is fantastic. Most cutscenes are fully voiced, a rare treat in the FF games and the classic music and battle sounds are there. Getting to see and hear the characters really adds a whole new facet to Final Fantasy IV’s story.

As mentioned above Final Fantasy IV is a massive game and there is just so much content packed into it. Players will spend weeks of their life finishing it.

Final Fantasy IV is a much enhanced version of one of the greatest games ever made and a must purchase to any RPG fan.

Final Fantasy VI Review

Final Fantasy VI Review

Jan 20, 2014

Final Fantasy VI has been a long time coming, but fans of what is considered by many to be the best game ever made can now foil the evil Kefka on the go!

Screenshot_2014-01-18-16-27-38For those that don’t know, Final Fantasy VI is originally a 16 bit Super Nintendo RPG about Terra, a mysterious girl who can use magic, a force responsible for a terrible war long ago and thought to be lost to the mists of time. Terra is joined by Edgar, a techy king, Locke, a treasure hunter and many other surprising and endearing characters. Terra and her companions go on to discover an insidious plot, tons of enemies and allies and generally embark on one of the greatest adventures ever told.

Final Fantasy VI is an 60-80 hour epic with more gameplay and strategy than can be imagined. From the way that the skill system works to the incredibly deep and interesting characters, Final Fantasy 6 is a game that just keeps on giving.

Screenshot_2014-01-17-14-32-32Final Fantasy VI for Android is a much enhanced version of that game in much the way GTA: San Andreas was. It features the entire version of FF6, with much enhanced graphics that look about a million times better. Gone are the old school pixelated sprites. Terra and crew look much larger and more detailed and it’s akin to suddenly having sight after a lifetime of blindness. Players can really appreciate FF6’s characters much more when they are so detailed and well realized. The improved graphics really make the game’s steep price worth it alone.

Final Fantasy VI comes with two difficultly settings for the more hardcore gamer and a few minor extras, such as a bestiary that shows enemy stats as monsters are beaten and such. The graphics are the real change.

Screenshot_2014-01-18-17-33-56The interface has been revamped for touch devices too. On a phone sized screen however the font is far too small to see, making it really difficult to monitor HP levels, what skill is selected or even who is being targeted. This is really obnoxious since checking the stats constantly in combat is really important and it never gets less annoying. The actual design of the interface is sensible and easy to use, but the small font really needs to be addressed.

The game’s dialogue is sometimes wrong as well. At many, many points in the game the dialogue differs from the original. This even extends to classic lines like, “son of a submariner”. When dealing with a game as beloved as FF6 it’s unforgivable to mess with its dialogue. Some parts of the dialogue even smell a bit like censorship.

Final Fantasy VI is a somewhat flawed, but completely welcome port of one of the greatest games ever seen. The huge improvement in graphics and the slick interface are more than mere coats of paint and make experiencing this immense RPG again very enjoyable indeed. RPG fans who missed Final Fantasy VI the first time around should be in heaven with this.