The dragon quest is an amazing series of games they've even managed to out sell the final fantasys in the past due to the japanese market, final fantasy being my favourite series ever I had to check out Dragon quest.
Dragon quest VIII is the tale of a wandering king and his daughter who've been transformed into a gnome like creature and a horse, you take the role of the royal guard who is the only person to escape unaffected by the curse which was cast by the crazy jester.
Over the game which can last for dozens of hours you team up with several key characters such as the beautiful magician and holy knight to chase down the villain responsible for the curse and restore the noble king and his daughter.
As with the previous dragon quest games the charm aspects are favoured over the epic storytelling which is a shame because I felt an epic storyline along the way captures the hearts of the gamers along with the imagination but the basic storyline provides a simple excuse for the compelling gameplay.
Slaying monsters and exploring dungeons are key to Dragon Quests VIII's gameplay, The battles are turn based but quick and easy.
The game is vast and intricate so even though the battles are fast paced you can take your time to explore between locations, there is almost a pointless aspect to the game because of the lack of an Epic storyline but luckily there is much to see within the game with beautiful graphics and amazing landscapes that encourage you to keep exploring.
When the castle falls under a curse thanks to the actions of a traitorous jester, the king and his surviving entourage take to the road to find the jester and end the curse. Unfortunately that won't be easy since he's a powerful mage, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake, and two members of the party are suffering under his curse.
The graphics are simple, cell-shaded, and stylised in a look that will be familiar to fans of Dragon Quest games. However this works for the story and means it hasn't dated.
The soundtrack is unobtrusive, and compliments the scenes rather than overpowering them. One example of the attention to detail in this game is the voice acting, which while using the British accents often used for fantasy, actually makes them region-specific. East London, upper class and others are all accurate, and usually performed by people from those regions.
The plot is linear, almost on rails at points, and you don't gain real freedom of movement until late in the game. The story is more than complex enough to hold your attention, tightly plotted, and with excellent characterisation. The dialog is well-written and tailored to the characters, and even the supporting and minor characters have depth and development. This is a game you play just to find out what is going to happen next.
While it doesn't have alternate endings, there is a "game plus" if you complete it which opens new areas, allows you to flesh out the plot a lot further and get a more complete ending.
In gameplay terms it is a fairly standard RPG, using turn-based combat, and a world map with specific town areas. One of the better features is the alchemy pot, which allows you to create unique or new items for your team. The characters all have unique equipment and abilities, In a very nice touch, there is crossover between those abilities, the cutscenes, the gameplay and the way characters interact.
I thoroughly enjoyed this game, and despite it's linear nature I've replayed it a couple of times (not just for the game-plus), so it does have replay value. This is definitely worth a look for any fans of turn-based RPGs, or in fact any gamer who likes strong stories and great characterisation.
Dragon quest 8 is one of the best games I have ever played and I have played this game loads of times just because of how much there is too do and so much in the game you can end up missing quite a few small side quests your first time playing this game, but that is not a bad thing it just means that this game has good replay value. The story is that after a evil jester stole a sceptre and turned the king into and ugly green monster and the princesses in a house and every one else into plant like things, the king and princesses and the hero who some how did not get affected by the curse that the jester did after he got the sceptre, go off to find the jester and kill him to end the curse. Along there travels you meet the rest of your party, a bandit named yangus, a wizard girl called Jessica. And a boy who lives in a massive church named Angelo. I will to spoil the rest of the story but there are a lot of twist and turns in the story and is the jester the real bad guy or is there a right power above him, you must play this game to find out. My best bit of the game is the monster arena it is fun at fight in and collecting the monsters to battle is very very fun because trying to get the best team is really good and fun to do because the S class rank because of the challenge. Also after you have beaten the final boss they is more to do, the hero you play as gets a back story, what is this kids amazing secret find out by playng this wonderful game. There are some bad points to the game and there are that if you die you have to pay for your characters to come back to life and if the whole party dies then only the main character in the front of the party comes back the game cuts your money by half for dying so you then have to spend what little money you still have felt bringing everyone back to life, luckily after most of your character hit level 30 they will have spells to bring people back to life and there for you will not have to spend any money. Overall this is a must have game and it is my favourite game in my entire collection, a massive 10/10.
I knew this would happen. I just had to buy it. Any new release by Square-enix means that I must have it and I am really pleased that I got this one too! This is the first dragon quest game I have played and you really cannot put it down! The series was developed by Enix which merged with Square a while back now and the two companies really have worked wonders together. This, along with the Final Fantasy series must be the best RPG's ever made. Ever. Some may see the graphics in DQ to be mediocre and others will see them as an artistic masterpiece. The cartoon like look and feel in the game just adds to its charm and the witty personalities of the characters make it a joy to play more and more.
The gameplay is a typical japanese turn-based RPG but feels new and refreshed in a way only square-enix could portray. The quests are also a breath of fresh air compared to similar games, each with their own stand out moment and you actually get the feel that you want to finish them!
Overall, this game is a dream for any RPG fan and if you've never played one before then this is the perfect place to start.
A great game from the makers of the final fantasy franchise. Tons of weapons, armour and monsters its a good game to get stuck into. With four characters to fight with and a very good plot line full of twists. Side quest- Plenty from treasure hunting to weapon upgrades and my favorite the monster pit, where you can obtain certain enemys over the world and battle them against others to get rare items. There is a wide range of weapons from boomerang's to sword's and whips each with different status altering affects. A unique feature of this game is if you get lost you can always ask you party what to do next. The magics progress as you level up such as you start with heal and eventually get multiheal. There are secret item that you can only obtain by using an alchemy pot for example bronze knife mixed with iron nails equals a thiefs key which you use to open locked chests.
Dragon Quest VIII: The Journery of the Cursed King
Also Known as Dragon Warrior in the US
Genre: Role-playing game
Rating: 12+/ Teen
I'm aware that this has been an on-going series, and this is the first installment that has been fully 3D. I haven't encountered any other Dragon Quest games, but this one sure caught my eye because the character design was so strikingly similar to that of Dragon Ball, the anime series.
In fact, the same character designer was at work when it came to Dragon Quest VIII, hence the similarity.
At first, that put me off, because I'm no fan of Dragon Ball - I don't hate it, but I wouldn't describe an RPG game that I would enjoy with elements of Dragon-Ball styled gameplay. That just wouldn't work.
I couldn't have been more wrong with my perception about this one.
The story starts out with a King and his servant (a palace guard who is you, the player) and a street thug who joined them.
The king looks rather green due to being cursed, and his daughter, the horse pulling the carriage, was also under a spell. A magical sceptre with great powers had been stolen from the King's Castle by a jester named Dhoulmagus. What he planned was unknown, but it sure wasn't going to be very pleasant.
His first victims were the King and princess themselves, who turned into a monster and a horse respectively.
It is now their quest to journey across the land in search of clues on finding Dhoulmagus and putting an end to his legacy of evil.
This is how your journey begins and you enter the first town: Farebury.
Sound/Voice acting: 10/10
the Hero (you): 1/10
Replay Value: 8/10
Fun side quests: 9/10
Scenery/Game World: 10/10
The game world is enormous and realistic in relation to the size of your players - i.e. not a small man standing over a group of buildings considered to be a town - none of that.
I don't recall loading times - maybe there weren't any - or maybe they were extremely short, so the gameplay flowed very quickly and seamlessly from one scene to another.
The characters that join you in your quest don't suddenly wake up one day and decide to join you for no apparent reason - the story legitimates their presence in the party, which gives it a feeling of realism and obviously makes the story more engaging and interesting too.
The story itself moves back and forward a lot, is quite enjoyable, but not unique.
Remarkably, this is the only videogame I've ever come across that has managed voice acting flawlessly - and to top it off - it even includes many British accents ranging from scottish to cockney and even the posh ones.
Yangus, a rough thug kind of character in the game, speaks in cockney accent and sometimes yells out: CORR BLIMEY - which is extremely funny because it is so unexpected and usually done to disrespect another member of the team. He also says things like, "Alright, guv" or "He's havin' a laugh"
Set in medieval times, so transport is either on foot, carriage/ship or an animal. Great advantage nevertheless is the fact that once you have visited a town/city/place you can teleport to it instantly from anywhere by using a special item or a magic spell - which saves a lot of time and stress otherwise wasted on travelling.
I read somewhere that before the idea of Pokemon even came out, Dragonquest games were the first to introduce monsters that you could catch and battle against another in arenas.
The same is the case with DQVIII, it has a wide range of monsters which you can catch, train, link up in teams and fight your way up the ranks in a monster arena
This is especially good when you feel you need a break from the mainstream gameplay, need to level up, or feel like having some fun on the side.
There is also an alchemy pot in which you can combine rare and ordinary items alike to make new hybrid items, which in turn make more rare hybrid+hybrid items - these come in handy because you cannot buy them or find them anywhere in the game world.
There is some sexual innuendo at times, which is very cleverly done and interesting.
Concerning abilities, you get points which you allocate to ability fields in which you want to progress, so its a little different form the traditional levelling up system usually found in other role playing games.
There is gradual transition between night and day which is interesting because people you meet in towns/cities say or do different things at these different times, and sometimes you have to be at a certain place at a certain time to discover something interesting, or to progress further.
The battles are turn-based which allows time for you to think about what spells, attacks or abilities you should use, and a lot of it is based on tactics, weaknesses and strengths and so on.
A very humorous and cute thing to note is that sometimes the enemies miss a turn by filling it with something silly or unbenefitial to their fight against the party.
An example would be of a cute enemy called a Kalamari kid who sometimes misses his turn because he's too busy doodling with a stick in the ground - which is very cute to watch!
Sometimes, when the enemy is weaker, you may begin a battle and find they flee, which is good as it wouldn't benefit you to fight weaker enemies anyway. You can also use the intimidate command, which makes your party member boo or shoo the enemy away until he flees.
The colours are bright and cheerful, the surroundings are picturesque and breathtakingly detailed and beautiful. You can view the world in first person mode to see things in more detail.
The dungeons, caves, puzzles are fairly easy and not as tedious as in other games for example Dark Cloud.
This game was developed by the same people as Dark Cloud - Level 5, hence there is a lot of similarity in the creativness of the gameplay.
You can find, make or buy clothing items to change your party's clothes and also raise stats - this applies especially to Jessica, who gets to wear dancers outfits and magic bikinis!
A very fun and creative idea was to turn the Church into a save point and a center for eradicating all ills - e.g. curses, poison, paralysis, KO status and so on.
The music that was played was average, but it was reused over and over again, different tracks were re-used in different locations, unlike final fantasy games which usually ordain a seperate unique track to every single destination as to give it a certain feeling.
If I heard music from a final fantasy game I would know what location that was played at, because usually it wouldn't be played anywhere else. With DragonQuest VIII, although they put a lot of attention to detail, gameplay, characters and story, they did do a poor job on the music, and sometimes I even turned the music off alltogether.
Money is one of the hardest things to earn in this game. The monsters drop appalling amounts, trading and reselling and making new items gives minimum amounts of profit and generally there is no leeway in which one could earn a lot of money just by fighting with or training on monsters.
To make things worse, new items that appear get more and more expensive and you usually need a few of them to make a difference to the whole group, otherwise one person is customized, and the others are vunerable.
There is a casino in which you can play, but to buy one token you have to pay 20 gold pieces, and if you earn a lot of tokens during gambling, you cannot turn those into money - hence the money problem - and you can only redeem items with the tokens - but some items you can find usually, and others that don't sell for a lot if you resell them.
The main problem I had with this game was the lack of character in the main character, named, the Hero in all of the DQ games, which is supposed to be you, the player. Hence you assign a name, and he never speaks his mind or speaks a word for that matter. This ruins the gameplay because all the other characters are so full of life and personality, and the main character who's doing all the hard work and all is just a puppet or mime.
The story itself is very fairy-tale like to begin with, but branches out and becomes very unlikely and strange, but it still doesn't have the magic that Final Fantasy games offer - their stories feel more like movies than DQVIII's story did.
In DQVIII I could predict what was going to happen next, it was pretty cliche, although the gameplay was very fun. A lot of it was doing odd errands, strange quests and so forth.
Everyone was after a common enemy, and then there is a twist which was so nessecary, that without it, the whole story would have been a joke.
Enemies are often the same in appearance with the difference of names and colours, which can be very repetitive and annoying. Tabby cat is the same as the Candy cat, except their colour.
In DQVIII, a lot of non-player character deaths happen, but none touched me the way the deaths that happened in Final Fantasy games did, they tried to make them dramatic too, but it just didn't come across as important as the Final Fantasy games made theirs out to be.
Overall...this game resembles Dark Cloud a lot, which was a very enjoyable game, but the story couldn't be taken seriously. If you like games that lack a story that can be taken seriously, but the gameplay is absolutely outstanding, this game is for you.
As for me, I was first attracted to videogames only due to the final fantasy series which offered such isightful, deep and engaging storylines that I played the game to find out what happens next, rather see what happens next to play the game.
People who like racing, puzzle, fighting, action games would appreciate a buzzing mix of puzzle, action, fighting and general quest-doing in DragonQuest VIII.
This game is readily available in GAME shops at £29.99 if it is pre-owned, and most likely £34.99 if brand new.
In shops like GameStation it is available at £21.99 pre-owned.
At Amazon.co.uk it can range from £16.50 - £24.99
At Dealtime.co.uk it can range from £17.00 -£25.00
Thanks for reading.