Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
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Dragon Quest™ VIII: Journey of the Cursed King™ is the latest installment of the immenselypopular Dragon Quest series and the first to be released for the PlayStation®2 computerentertainment system. For the first time ever the colorful characters exotic environments anddaunting dungeons of the Dragon Quest universe have made the transition to glorious 3D.In their continent-spanning adventure players will be immersed in a unique world of seeminglylimitless possibilities.Format: PS2 Genre: RPG (VG)/ Rating: T - Teen UPC: 662248905013 Manufacturer No: 90501
- Amazon Sales Rank: #1075 in Video Games
- Brand: Square Enix
- Model: 662248905013
- Published on: 2005-11
- Released on: 2006-06-15
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- Platform: PlayStation2
- Format: CD
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: .86" h x 5.44" w x 7.64" l, .38 pounds
- Strategy and role-playing combined.
- Each level you go up, you'll get new experience points to spend.
- Select the right weapons and magic combos for maximum combat effect.
- Tension system enhances the action - forgo attacking for a few rounds, then build up your power to unleash a multi-hit combo that destroys opponents.
- Special Bonus Disc with playable demo of Final Fantasy XII included!
From the Manufacturer
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is the latest installment of the immensely popular Dragon Quest series and the first to be released for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system. For the first time ever, the colorful characters, exotic environments, and daunting dungeons of the Dragon Quest universe have made the transition to glorious 3D. In their continent-spanning adventure, players will be immersed in a unique world of seemingly limitless possibilities.
- A traditional turn-based battle system with jaw-dropping graphics merges the old with the new
- Cut-scenes feature voice-overs bursting with wit and charm--added exclusively for the North American version
- A totally revamped graphical user interface makes the classic Dragon Quest gameplay even more accessible--another feature exclusive to the North American version
- Individual party members' behavior can be customized for optimal battle performance
- Party members deploy awesome attacks and spectacular spells in stunning 3D
- Enhanced music and sound effects stay true to the Dragon Quest series while providing a fresh listening experience
- Characters designed by Akira Toriyama are brought to life by an amazing cel-shading graphics engine, bringing gamers of all ages into a world straight out of Japanese animation
- Finely tuned game balance makes this title easy to pickup, but challenging to master
One of the Greatest Reborn in the Same Shell
Dragon Quest (previously known as Dragon Warrior in the US) has always been one of those games that I had to have. When I was a kid, I got the first through a subscription to a magazine, and I was in love ever since. Though as basic as a game can get, there was something addicting about the monotonous walking, fighting, and leveling up. In two, three, and four (four in particular), they attempted to bring more detail to the story lines, and succeeded just enough not to ruin the normal, DW game play that RPG lovers have come to love. Then, we missed five and six, and had to wait for the ugliest PlayStation game ever released in Dragon Quest VII. It was fun, but it seemed dated from the release; the graphics were only barely better than the old Super Nintendo.
Then, Enix, the long-time publisher of Dragon Warrior, merged with Square, and thus Dragon Quest VIII was born. I worried, at first. Was Square going to dilute it with all those Final Fantasy cut-scenes, or were they going to take away the simple battle system that's in every DW game?
The answer: NO. Everything is there that was in every other Dragon Quest game; dungeons, constant fighting and leveling up, struggling to buy all the new items, seeking out all those rare items, getting lost more often than not, a simple, point-a-to-point-b story, and that same battle system. It's all here, but with one major edition: extraordinary graphics. Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball creator, and long time designer for Dragon Quest) was able to fully show his skill in this game.
This game is excellent to play, as well. Not only for its nostalgia, but for the actual game play. It's still addictive, but even more so since the world itself is now rendered in 3D and huge, making it a lot to explore, and exploring it is worth it as it has numerous things for you to find all over the land-map. Finding these things are important, because they've added a new feature called the Alchemy Pot which requires you to use two or three items to make one are item. Also, its fun meeting some of the new characters, and hearing the interesting ways they are voiced.
For anyone old enough to remember the first Dragon Warrior, and for anyone who actually understood it, I recommend this game. I also recommend this for anyone who loves RPGs but hasn't yet experienced one of the genre's roots. Dragon Quest VIII is a great edition to the Dragon Quest library, and an instant classic.
ADDED NOTE: I've just recently finished this game, and I must now say that my impressions were vastly ignorant. This game, from start to finish, is pure excitement, never diluted by long, dramatic cut-scenes, with an emphasis on the game play. The ending, without spoiling, was surprisingly interactive and incomplete, though I have had a chance to complete it. It also isn't nearly as serious as those other RPG endings. It allows you to laugh at the characters despite enduring the nearly seventy hours of game play and storytelling involving the end of a world. And the replay-ability is decent, with an entire extra quest and area to explore after saving your game following the credits. Now, I'd recommend this game because it is clearly the top choice in its genre (RPG). It's a great prologue to the up-coming Final Fantasy XII or Kingdom Hearts 2.
Many of the RPG's I know have suffered immensely in their transition from 2-D to 3-D (the "Suikoden" series immediately comes to mind, as well as "Breath of Fire"). The colors become washed out, the gameplay becomes much more boring, and in many ways, they just plain svck...
Enter "Dragon Quest VIII" from Enix, the 6th game of the series to be released over here. I have only played for a couple of days, but I must confess that I am quite pleased at the result of adding a new dimension to the gameplay.
For starters, the environment (including the "overworld" is now fully interactive. There are set roads the player may travel, but one may also branch off of these roads to find new caves, treasure chests and secrets galore. Hence, it trumps FFX in this regard (although the playable demo of FFXII included in the game already has me salivating!). Furthermore, some walls contain secret passages, etc., and in general the game offers full movement in the world and secrets which are only made possible in the 3-D setting.
As for the gameplay (and here may be a bit of fanboy-itis, I'll admit), the game is much more fun than its predecessor. Gone is the cumbersome class system of DWVII (which I personally liked, but many hated), and in its place is a very easy to learn skill system. Each party member has five skills which they can raise any way they like. Skill points are awarded at level ups, and as skills gain more points (and the point distribution is entirely up to the player), the party member will gain battle spells and "traits", which are essentially bonuses to attack, defense, etc. The game is quite linear at the front, but I know of a few sidequests later in the game which will give the player more freedom to choose his path.
As for the graphics, well, they don't stand up next to the might of the FFXII demo packaged alongside, but the cel-shading seems perfect to bring out the charm of Akira Toriyama's character and monster designs. However, I am surprised that the female character can manage to keep her incredibly-revealing top on!
In any case, this is a worthy addition to the "Dragon Warrior" legacy, and a fine game in its own right. And I particularly like the translators' decision to use British persons for the voices of the characters - it just comes off better, it seems to me...
Classic nostalgic RPG gameplay
I have to start out saying that for me, this game was exactly what I needed. With a great amount of RPG's out there and all their attempts to continually evolve the console RPG, they often seem to over embellish upon such evolutions and leave out some of the common staples I personally enjoy in my rpg,(Final Fantasy X-2 losing weapons and armor upgrades in place of the whole Garment system for example or card battle sytems). While I respect the attempt to evolve on the standard rpg formula, they often leave out some of the classic elements in order to allow such changes. On two different occasions I attempted to play FF X-2 and found myself missing the more classic elements that had been left out, and end up losing interest.
Dragon Quest VIII however pulled me in and kept me going till the end.
Now some will feel that the classic elements are dated and may become bored with it.
The combat in DQ8 is the simple turn based system that gives you the standard options such as fight, item, flee,etc.., as well as a few new ones, you have the all too common random battles while you walk around with your basic 4 character team, each with their own look and style, supplemented with their own slew of weapons and abilities that you must improve upon or find throughout your quest. You merely gain levels with the hopes of entering a new area or dungeon without dying, you simply try to get the money to buy that next weapon, and have to explore outside world one step at a time. For some that will be all to tiresome.
But honestly thats why I fell in love with console RPG's. So I may be a little biased in this review. Dragon Quest had everything I personally missed from most of the modern rpg's.
You see my very first console rpg experience was Phantasy Star for the Sega Master System, and in fact was really my first rpg experience period, in any format. It was actually the first console rpg that had been released in the U.S. at that time. At least as far as I know. Neither Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy had been released in America yet.
And well.....playing Dragon Quest VIII actually brought back what I experienced when I first played Phantasy Star and later Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy. These games were where those those classic rpg elements derived from.
Dragon Quest VIII is the full and classic console role playing experience, but with all the modern technical enhancements,(graphics, sound, voice), as well as a few of the more recent game elements incorporated to modernize it a bit.(monster teams, item creation, ability building options) If you ever enjoyed the older rpg's from the 8 and 16 bit era, and you still love to play RPG's, you will most likely enjoy this game even more.
There's nothing really fancy about DQ8, and I personally love it. The game plays simply, yet allows for a good deal of depth in character building, development, personality, and story. The story itself is quite standard and expectedly typical of most rpg's, but it moves along rather tightly and refrains from bogging down of an over imposing storyline or a bunch of long drawn out dialogue. It has many of the common rpg cliches when it comes to the characters and story, but the voice acting to me is superb, and found that it keeps those cliches from being so cliche. Admittedly my bias shows a little more here as I am no fan of the long video game storyline. I like mine simple with a few twists and turns, and the rest is left for you to look into or not. I seem to enjoy the idea of creating and guiding the story with the characters and the actual game playing itself, and not just being guided through a novel, or a movie. Dragon Quest feels more like a choose you own adventure experience.
There are a great many recent RPG's out there, but I find most of them to be quite linear,(Final Fantasy X comes to mind, one of the best battle systems in any rpg, but nothing more than a pre-set adventure) or they contain very repetitive maps and dungeons( .Hack//, Dark Cloud). Dragon Quest avoids both of these issues.
The most important thing that Dragon Quest 8 does for me, and what seems to have disappeared from the majority of RPG's today, is it created the wonderful illusion of an open world with no permanent boundaries. It never sets you on an strict storied path, but never leaves you guessing what to do next. There are side quests that allow you to focus on something other than the main path of the story. Exploring the countryside for secluded treasure chests or special monsters who join your monster team give you reasons to explore the vast world map. There are often times when you can go to areas and towns ahead of schedule, simply because you can walk, sail, or fly, to multiple places on the map. There are many hidden items to find in cupboards, barrels, pots or water-wells, as well as searching bookshelves for recipes to create useful items with your alchemy pot. So you can actually interact a bit with your environment. Another thing lacking in many modern rpg's. Most just lay a few treasure chests while you travel your linear path. And finally with this illusionary sense of openness, you also find yourself traveling back to older areas to find other surprises that had previously been unattainable or that you simply missed. Again giving me the appearance or the illusion of a game world without borders.
Many recent popular action-adventure games such as Grand Theft Auto and all their clones have seemed to reintroduced this aspect to console games, with a few other games like Zelda having kept it up.
For me this was what I always preferred from the games I played. Whether it was a standard rpg(Phantasy Star,Final Fantasy III), an action/adventure(Metroid, Casltvania - Simon's Quest & Symphony of the Night), or adventure/rpg(Zelda, Secret of Mana, Kingdom Hearts), the illusion of boundless exploration, hidden surprises, field interaction, back tracking, and the ability to build your character's strength through item's and/or leveling was always preferable to the common straight forward gaming. It makes me feel as though I control my characters on a much more organic level.
Dragon Quest VIII has all of that. It is the best of the classic console rpg formula.
Unfortunately, that will turn a few people off completely.
Many people need a more modernized battle system, with a faster paced play through. If you need your rpg to have a consistently active battle system as opposed to turned based, or need grand visuals in battles, if you hate having to back track, prefer linear pre-set paths and story lines and abhor an open world with optional exploration, you may not enjoy this game.
Dragon Quest VIII is a wonderfully nostalgic gaming experience with all the modern goodness of the PS2's standard capabilities.
If you have been playing console rpg's for the last 10-20 years, get this game and enjoy.