This review is an old one from a long time ago but I was playing through DQ8 again(for the first time in a very long time) and was just reminded of how great it was. So I felt it necessary to paste it here again with a few new tidbits of info.
The graphics are stunningly beautiful. The characters and monsters were drawn by our favorite mangaka Akira Toriyama (who we all know did DB/Z) and they were translated great into the game. They’re wonderfully cell shaded that gives them an anime appearance and are very colorful. The other graphics (houses, towns, forests, dungeons, etc) are also beautiful and make the world seem to be very realistic. The downside to the characters (not so much with monsters) is that they all look very similar to a DBZ character. One character, for example, looks exactly like Trunks only with white hair instead of purple and a red cloak instead of a Capsule Corp. jacket. And it’s not just main characters. There’s an NPC in the first town that looks just like a skinny version of Mr. Satan. I suppose that it’s because it’s done by Akira Toriyama, but it leaves you wondering he’s even able to draw anything else.
The controls were changed for American audiences and are very easy to learn, unlike the Japanese version (where just to talk to an NPC you have to bring up a menu to get to “talk”, i.e. the old Dragon Quest style). Battles are well done and I especially love the skill point system (where you can allocate skill points into certain skills/traits). Looks like there will be some replayability with that alone (choosing how you want to make your characters progress). Battles are interesting and monsters will often do various things that will keep the player watching to see what’s coming next (as opposed to just constantly hitting X over and over until the battle is over). It’s nicely done.
I’m mentioning this in a separate category because I wanted to point out that it’s huge. Although it’s not uncommon for RPGs to do this now-a-days, the world is continuous, much like FFXI. It’s pretty much to scale. This makes it so that there’s TONS of stuff to explore. Also, it goes from day to night (like FFXI did) if you spend too long outside. Not the first game to do it, won’t be the last, but I was shocked to find that out (the few times I had played the demo the first time I started playing I never stayed outside long enough for it to happen).
And here is where the game starts to lack. While the music IS beautiful, it gets pretty repetitive. My main complaint is really the battle music. It’s not bad per se, but it’s not great either. It doesn’t get you excited to be in battles. In fact, after a few hours of it, you’ll probably be looking for a CD to turn on while leveling. I should add that the American version got the better end of that stick. Our music was redone in orchestra format, which does sound better than the Japanese/demo music. It still leaves you wishing for more tunes though.
Do you like your RPGs difficult? Do you like level grinding fests in order to be able to beat the next boss? Then you’ll love DQ8! The bosses in this game are insane. Even some of the regular monsters can kick your butt if you’re not careful. It’s probably possible to beat the bosses/monsters without spending hour after hour grinding but it wouldn’t be easy. Of course, even though I say that, this DQ game is not nearly as grinding-intensive as previous games of the series. They really did tone it down a bit. Overall, this is definitely a really hard RPG compared to a lot of others out there.
It’s kind of cliche, honestly. A kingdom is placed under a curse and your job is to hunt down the mage responsible and undo it. Nothing groundbreaking, but it’s still interesting enough to draw you in and make you want to play.
So that’s just a taste of the game. Seriously, this review is pretty old and the game has been out for years. If you haven’t played it…WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU??
I highly recommend it. It was one of the first RPG I had played in really long time that had me hooked. I think, currently, my play time is over 50 hours and I still have at least 1/3 of the game left before it’s completely finished.
There’s not much else I can add right now. I’ll just end this with some pictures.