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.
Dragon 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 â€œattack, attack, attack, healâ€ 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.
<Dragon 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 isnâ€™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 gameâ€™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 theyâ€™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 ladiesâ€™ 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 VIIIâ€™s world looks fantastic. The landscape is very pretty, with sun drenched grass bustling towns, leafy forests and thereâ€™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 isnâ€™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 whatâ€™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.