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115 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 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...
Published on November 25, 2005 by Antonio D. Paolucci

versus
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A hopeless love affair
I'm a bit surprised how well-received this game has been by the average gamer, I'm also a bit surprised why I as a huge JRPG-fan can't bring myself to like it as much.

Almost everything about DQVIII is excellent. The environments are impressive, the music is beautiful, Toriyama's character designs are better than ever and the voice acting couldn't be more spot...
Published on October 27, 2010 by Raymond J.


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115 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Reborn in the Same Shell, November 25, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
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.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic nostalgic RPG gameplay, June 2, 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
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.
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107 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm impressed!, November 17, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
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...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid fun, June 12, 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
Dragon Quest 8 is a good, solid RPG that any fans of the genre should be playing. This review is just to let potential players know what they are in for. I won't go into the story, but to help you decide, I'll just list the features that my be the make-or-break factors for your enjoyment.

Battle style: Traditional turn-based, although you enter all character commands at once and then see the results. Depending on abilities, the turns may not come out on screen in the order you enter them, and monsters will take their turns dotted between those of your team. This can be a problem if you cast a attack-building spell on your strongest character, only to see his turn come up before the person casting the spell! Also, some reviews of the game mention that there is an AI setting for your team members so that you can let them fight by themselves and only control the team leader character directly. Well, there is but it's entirely optional, and for me that is not what an RPG is about, so I never used this setting once. Total manual control all the way, thank you.

Random battles: Yes, frequent. The world is large and getting from one place to another can take a while, so expect a lot of fighting. It's also very sprawling and confusing and you don't even get a world map for the first few hours of the game (arghh!), so expect much roaming, searching and getting lost. You'll want to kiss the character who finally gives you the world map after the hours of wandering before then (don't worry it happens at a set point in the story, and can't be missed!)

Transport: Yes, after you reach a certain point you gain access to a ship to cross the seas, and later on you are even able to fly. Plus, instead of all that running, you also become able to ride sabretooth tigers, which makes land exploration far less tiresome (you still encounter monsters but can cover ground much faster if you're just searching for treasure chests).

Saving: In a word - Argghh!! Which is because you can only save (and rest) in towns. So all the dungeons ending in a boss have to be completed in one sitting, with every recovery item you need taken along with you. This sounds like a harsh feature, but in return, you are given skills that allow you to do two important thing: you can instantly warp to the dungeon entrance at any time, and when on the world map, you can instantly warp to any town. So if you play deep into a dungeon and want a rest or are too beaten-down to face the boss, you can always warp out and recover, then come back to the front door and make your way through again - hopefully more swiftly this time, as any solved puzzles or unlocked doors will stay solved if you've done them once. And you can even cast a spell to cut out random battle encounters for a few minutes at a time, which makes these repeat trips through the same dungeon less irritating. So that's not so bad, then. I wouldn't cut out random battles too often though, because the levelling up system in this game is sloo-oow. After a brisk start, the required experience to gain levels starts becoming larger and larger, and you may be forced to do many loops of monster hunting to gain points before facing the more difficult bosses.

Items: Phew! There are hundreds of weapons, shields, clothes and accessories, plus the game features an "Alchemy Pot" which will allow you to combine items and turn them into new ones. This echoes the "Inventions" scheme of Dark Chronicle, and the "Item Refining" of Star Ocean. It's deliberately vague, presumably to encourage experimentation, and can turn into a huge side-game by itself. For those that like distractions, this could be a very large one, as many of the advanced recipies for alchemy are cryptic or just plain secrets. I guess it all helps towards the sale of strategy guides...good luck!

Which leads me on to...side-quests. Yes, we have plenty of those, one of which does not appear until you have beaten the game once. My favourite is the entirely optional Monster Arena...extra-strong enemies, a bit like mini-bosses, can be seen roaming around the world, and they can be recruited once beaten in battle, to make up a "monster team" that you can enter into tournaments for big prizes. Of course if you can find the really strong ones ( along with actually defeating them) in the far-flung corners of the world, you can form a real killer team and earm some great rare items. Plus your team also become available as a "summon" in battle, and this turned out to be a life saver for me in some tough fights, as your monster team can really come to your rescue and dish out the damage - and withstand it - in some of the harder battles of the main game storyline. Plus it's very satisfying to see a monster that took so much effort to beat go out there and use those powerful offensive moves for your benefit - I almost found myself cheering when my top team won some of the arena battles! They are real characters to watch too, because they act of their own accord in battle. When you let them fight (in the Monster Arena and as your support summon), you can only start the fight and then cross your fingers as the team make their own decisions on how to proceed...hopefully they will make mincemeat out of your enemies, but some of the more dopey monsters will choose comedy actions like doodling on the floor (Squiggles), or staring into space and scratching himself (Klub Kong). This can be hysterical to watch, but it's hardly a winning battle stategy!

That aspect leads me to the sense of humour present in this game. There's a lot more fun in the random battles in this game that I expected. Whoever wrote the script for them has a great sense of the absurd. First of all, the magic spells have been given comic book names like "Thwack", "Kaboom" "Squelch", and my favourite, "Oomph"! Plus the monster enemies are pretty daft too, and you'll be up against things like purple apes called Pink Pongos, or Puppet Masters whose attack is to put on a little puppet show for you. Then there's the Tap Devil can perform an attack called "Underpants Dance" in which he does a kind of disco shimmy, and then pokes his backside at you. The first time I saw this, my male characters were unaffected, but Jessica fell to the floor in shock...and I was laughing my head off. Other comedy came from some sexy witches who do a bewitching attack called "Puff-Puff"...which is basically some fluttering of eyelashes and bust-jiggling while a cheeky parp-parp noise plays on the soundtrack...it can entrance the male characters, but if tried on Jessica it will fail, and the caption says "Jessica has won the battle of the bulges"...And in addition to all this madness, the voice acting is British! People talk in a wide range of comical accents ranging from broad cockney to the overly affected, they call each other "dearie" or "old bean", and talk about tea and say things like "posh" and "cor blimey"...it was all very accurate and authentic!

The above examples should let you know that Dragon Quest can be a very entertaining game as well as a challenging one. But don't let all this fun fool you - some parts of it can be tough and there are times when you may think the enemies being thrown at you are unfairly difficult. So be prepared for a challenge. Interestingly, the game never ends after a party defeat, you will automatically be resurrected at the last place you saved - but minus half your total money holding, which is harsh indeed if you have saved up a small fortune to spend on expensive weapons and items, only to see it completely halved by one defeat. But again, the game is not really unfair, as I already mentioned that if the going gets tough, simply take a break from your current quest (flee current battle, call Monster team, etc), by immediately warping to a town to recover and save. There's no need to risk the next random fight if you are near death with no magic or healing items! However, you may be well prepared but still fall in the face of a particularly unfair match (I've seen battles with up to TEN opponents squaring up to my team of four!!), but to ensure your finances, the game has banks in certain towns for you to deposit money in, rather than carry it around, and this is NOT lost by a party defeat. So be sure to drop off large sums regularly - its free! Plus defeat and ressurrection does not rob you of any experience gained up to that point...so put that together and I hope it all sounds like a fair trade for the harsh save system. I appreciate the thought put into these settings, as I feel they are fair enough to stop unexpected death being a total waste of 3 hours play without saving, but strict enought to make you cautious, and learn when to retire and re-group. It only took me two cash-draining downfalls to never forget it!

Take all this in, and the game becomes totally addictive. It looks good, plays smoothly, and it's a long one too. Be ready to give up a lot of your social life!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!, November 16, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
Dragon Quest VIII not only marks the first Dragon Quest game on the PS2 (in the states they were previously known as Dragon Warrior) but also marks the first fully three-dimensional one in the series, and I must say it looks aboslutely stunning! Former fans and new fans can rejoice at the sheer brilliance of Dragon Quest VIII!

An evil wizard named Dhoulmagus has gotten hold of a legendary scepter and has placed a curse on the castle which he got it from. He has turned the King into a frog, and the Princess into a horse. You, a lonely knight, are one of few to survive the attack. Now you and a set of friends, King Trote and Yagnus, will set off on a quest to find this evil wizard and break the spell.

In addition, you'll meet up with two other characters named Jessica and Angelo, who will join you in your quest. There aren't a whole lot of characters in Dragon Quest VIII, but at least each one is unique. Each character also has their own strengths in battle that'll prove useful to you either way.

Battling is a simple turn-based battle system. You select commands and then watch your characters tear the enemy to shreds. The battles occur at random, but they don't pop up too often, and they're often fun. Battles are also quick. You can select attacks and use magic spells. Some spells attack the enemy, some raise stats. No different than your usual turn based RPG.

In addition to the battle system, you've also got skill points. You gain skill points by gaining levels. Each character has four weapon skills you can spend skill points on. Weapons like your swords, axes... so on and so forth. Each character also has something unique for them that you can spend ability points on. The more you spend, the better the skill.

Battling is now always easy, though. Most Dragon Quest veterans know this. When you could be thrust into a battle with eight enemies (and there are only four of you) things can get hectic with enemies constantly healing each other, calling for back up, and even reviving dead allies! This seems annoying, but it makes for a much more unique RPG. One where you don't have to hold down the attack button. You can't just go into a battle thinking that attacking is all you'll do. Battling in Dragon Quest VIII actually calls for strategy.

If you lose a battle, though, have no fear. Unlike most RPGs, Dragon Quest doesn't have the dreaded "Game Over" screen. You simply are reverted back to the church where you last saved. You lose half your money, a small price to pay in the long run (or a hefty price, depending on how you look at it).

If you do find yourself getting into lots of trouble, you'll more than likely be well prepared for the worst. You learn a spell that helps you escape from dungeons fairly early in the game, and most of your healing assets don't cost too much money. The game is a challenge, but not impossible.

The graphics of this game are absolutely spectacular! Fans of Dragon Ball Z or Chrono Trigger will be happy to know Akira Toriyama was brought on board to shape the world in which you're playing. The character movements are smooth, the frame rate is consistent. And if you're an old school gamer, the enemy designs haven't changed much. I think some will appreciate that. If you're not an old school gamer, fear not; the monsters aren't the same old cardboard cutouts they used to be, either. I can't express enough how gorgeous these in-battle graphics are! They're fast, and you'll be instantly stunned by it's beauty.

The music is just as stunning as the visuals! From the music made in dungeons and the overworld map to the voice acting. It all shines with nothing but sheer brilliance.

The game is long, and full of side quests as well. You'll easily be playing for more than fifty hours. The only downside to how long it'll take you is the same one that plagues most Dragon Quest games. You'll probably spend a lot of that time leveling up.

Overall, Dragon Quest VIII is worth your hard-earned cash. Fixing the problems that once plagued the series, it deserves your gratitude. An engaging tale, gorgeous graphics and sound, great characters--what's not to like? Grab it, you won't be sorry.

The Good
+An Engaging Storyline
+GORGEOUS GRAPHICS
+Excellent Voice Acting
+Excellent Sound
+Battling is fun, fast, and simple
+Wonderful character development
+It includes a demo of Final Fantasy XII!

The Bad
-Random Battles Are Tough
-Some may feel there are not enough characters
-The game is long, but most of it you'll no doubt spend leveling up.

I assure you those small qualms won't turn you away from this instant classic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A high quality game, you'll enjoy!, November 24, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
Dragon quest 8 has the distinction of comming with a demo of Final Fantasy 12, but don't buy/rent it just because of that, for DQ8 is a great game by itself. This has been well recieved by critics and rightly so.

GRAPHICS

The graphics are great and use cell shading (dark cloud 2, wild arms 3) to excellent effect. The character designs are superb and fit perfectly with the personalities of all the people/creatures in the game such as the sexy redhead Jessica. Also all weapons and some armour will actually show up on the characters which is a nice touch. All the environments are good as well and there is a real feeling of it being a living breathing world.

9/10

SOUND

One of the strongest aspects of the game is the superb music and voice acting. The music is done by a highly skilled orchestra and it sounds great, and fits the mood of a particular scene very well. The voice acting is brilliant and the use of British voice actors was a stroke of genius. All the voice acting is great, nothing sounds forced and there is real emotion behind the words. As such the atmosphere is never lost or diminished.

9/10

GAMEPLAY

The game is set in a third person perspective and plays much like a cross between wild arms and dark cloud. The battles are random (but the encounter rate is balanced), and the fighting is traditional turn based style. It's decent and you can learn many skills and wield a number of weapons. It's also quite hard, as enemies can often wipe you out in one or two rounds, and much of your time will be spent levelling up and getting better skills and equipment.

You have to visit a church to find out how far to the next level up and to save the game (Like the classic phantasy star). This can be irritating at first as it means backtracking, although you can quickly get the skills that allow you to teleport instantly. If someone in your party is reduced to 0HP then they die, the vast majority of RPGs have you simply falling unconcious. This is not a good aspect of the game, as you cannot lose, because even if your party is all killed you wake up at the church, albeit with half your gold taken away. It seems foolish to have dead companions in your party when it would have made more sense to have them fall unconsious like 99% of rpg's.

It's also nice how you can vist the battle status screen and check how many battle have been fought, max damage etc, and your travelling party leader gives you comments and criticism. There is also a large number of monsters and a good library to look at. Especially impressive is the variety of monsters and their atacks, some will try to defeat you with brute force, some will use only spells, others will have many different techniques needed to beat them, and others still will use their good looks to prevent you from attacking them!

The interaction between you and the party members is good,and you can talk to them at any time and their conversations always change depending on where you speak to them. Although this is another rpg that has a silent hero, which isn't that good as he should have a voice, because he clearly speaks to people. Also you name the character, which in an rpg with spoken dialogue has no point, because people should call you by one name only.

There are a number of mini games such as the Casino, the monster collecting/arena etc. You can also make alot of custom items with the alchemy pot which is a great addition to the game. There is plenty to do besides the main quest.

9/10

OVERALL

This is a solid rpg with a traditional combat style, and great music/voice acting. Given the number of disappointing rpg's released recently this is a welcome change. Certainly worth buying and a great experience. Best RPG of the year 2005. There's a reason this sold over 3 million copies in Japan alone, people know quality when they see it!

9/10
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Instant Classic, November 20, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
Wow, this game is excellent! I won't say much about the graphics, music, and voice acting, because it's all been said before...it's just gorgeous, and you feel like you're in a living cartoon.

As for the gameplay, it's incredibly fun. I enjoy RPG's, but I often get frustrated because I find them too difficult. So I was worried about this game before I played it, because I'd read that it's fairly hard. And I was a bit overwhelmed when I first started playing it. But I soon found that all I needed to do was roam around a bit leveling up. Also, life becomes much easier as soon as your hero can afford a boomerang! Now the battles are much more manageable, as long as I'm strategic.

My only minor complaints so far are with the amount of random battles you need to fight (but I guess that's fairly standard in this type of game), and the number of button clicks it takes every time you want to save a game in a church. But the latter is a small complaint, and the former isn't so bad because of the fun variety of enemies the game provides. Where else can you fight cute blue gumdrops, evil bell peppers on skewers, and a giant squid named Khalamari who uses his tentacles as hand-puppets to voice his multiple personalities?? I love the marriage of cute characters, serious and challenging gameplay, and beautiful scenery.

I recommend this game highly to anyone with an interest in RPG's , even if you're intimidated by them like I am. I can see some people being turned off by the cutesiness of the game, but I happen to love it myself. This has immediately become one of my favorite games, and it will consume all of my free time until I've played it to the end!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An adventure worth experiencing, November 17, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
Amir0x here.

I've always been "on" and "off" with the DQ series; sometimes I'm into it, and other times -- well. But that doesn't matter. Dragon Quest VIII is a game I'm sure will appeal to any true RPG fan, regardless of your previous opinion of the series. Here's a game that has the beating heart of the old-school, super traditional RPG. Being true to this core is especially admirable considering the increasing emphasis on next generation visuals and gameplay (with the impending 360, PS3 and Revolution). And yet, it's not without irony. While it is true that it retains that sort of hardcore appeal, this is a title that can proudly stand alongside the most beautiful games this generation. It's an odd convergence that you don't expect to see in such a day and age, but every little aspect drips with polish.

The first thing that catches your eye is the remarkable visuals, which combines Akira Toriyama's legendary artistic "talents" with Level-5's (Dark Cloud 2) attention to detail and magnificent cel-shaded engine. Here is a world where you can't help but stop to stare at the sights, because there's such a excrutiating attention to detail. Every mountain you see can be climbed, every bridge crossed. The sense of distance is pretty intense even early on, when you can frequently find yourself getting lost in the huge world if you're not careful. But your exploration sense may get the best of you - this is world WORTH the trouble.

US audiences received a special treat in the form of orchestrated music. And it cannot be said enough just what this does for the final product, as someone who experienced the original compositions. This is a brilliant piece of work, and any fan of game music would do well to have it in their collection. But inside Dragon Quest VIII, where it's intended, where it has its most potent effect... it's quite the package. Although at times it can have a rather odd echoe (this is apparently due to the fact that the orchestrations were recorded in an auditorium with no audience, and only 7 microphones), it is such a great improvement. Definitely shows SquareEnix went above and beyond the call for this release.

As a suppliment to this, the US localization team gave DQ8 voice acting too. This is a hit or miss affair, but generally comes off much better than most RPGs with voice acting. Yangus especially is charming, with spot on delivery and a chuckle-worthy accent. In fact, the entire game was done with European accents for the voices... giving it a sort of odd, British melodrama feel that as I read was the intention. And it works, what can I say. It never allows you to take the story too seriously, and sets the tone perfectly.

So back to the hardcore, traditional aspect. The battle system is the staple of the Dragon Quest/Warrior series, with stat-crunching, difficult, ultra addicting gameplay. You select your commands from the menu as in the old school RPGs, and you set your character into action and he performs it. The turn-based battle system is honed to perfection in here, and I don't think there's anyway to remain this traditional and still be as enjoyable. DQ8 has pretty much nailed it shut, it doesn't get better for this type of old-school game. Random battles are weighed well, and never get too annoying or impossibly inbalanced. Generally, it's a good mix.

At the end of the day, whether you like DQ8 still depends entirely on your perspective of the genre back when gaming was young. But this is by far the ultimate expression of traditional role playing games, and the slick coat of paint and phenomenal music just helps make the transition back to this period even easier. If you love RPGs, don't miss it. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My kind of RPG, May 17, 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
I have been losing a lot of interest in RPGs as of late, because of the overemphasis on stories. Don't get me wrong, the story is crucial to an RPG, but I don't need 20 minute movies to flesh it out, with almost no gameplay in between mammoth cutscenes.

That's why I lost my interest in FF(X totally lost me since I felt like I was in a movie, not even really playing it).

I know that most modern gamers don't mind, but to those of us who are pretty much sick of that, this one's for you.

The game is really old-school, to say the least. From the story, to the fighting, it's pretty classic stuff. The graphics, however, are drop dead gorgeous. You'll see numerous comments on the graphics here, and they are well deserved. Probably the best looking PS2 game that I own.

This is definitely a LONG RPG. It took me about 72 hours to defeat, and I didn't do much at all with the side quests. Like I said previously, this is really old school, so expect a lot of gameplay(fights) to level up your characters. I enjoy this in RPGs, but some do not.

The sound is really good too. The music is (mostly)played by a real symphony. That really adds a lot to the feel of the game. I can't see how anyone would have problem with the voices, since the British actors all do a fine job, and isn't like a lot of lame American translation jobs. Really top notch. Also, no squeaky Anime porn voices!

The only negatives that I can really say about the game, is that the story is a bit "light", although it does get darker as the game progresses. Also, the combat system could be just a touch more complex, and i've never been a big fan of random battles.

Other than that, the game is one of the best I have played in years. I had a blast with it, and if you're more into old-school RPGing, you should too.

Of course, if you want to watch a movie, there's a ton of other games to choose from...

Sam M.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best RPG of 2005, December 20, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Video Game)
A mute, a fat guy, and a mouse walk into a bar.

This is not the start of yet another tired, old joke but, the beginning of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, the latest game in the popular RPG series that didn't want to grow up from Square-Enix. The sequel comes four years after the Dragon Warrior VII, the game that caused many a gamer to quit their jobs and left their families to complete before the coming apocalypse, was released.

Its evolution, baby.

The series finally sees many noticeable upgrades in many areas while still retaining the simple charm that made Japan's gamers sell their souls and devote their lives to getting one more level up and maybe finding one more treasure chest around the corner. It with these new improvements, plus others added specifically for the American release, that Square-Enix hopes to capture some of that insanity here in the US.

My eyes! The goggles...hey, wait a minute.

The first thing you will notice, aside from the fact that we are now playing Dragon Quest instead of Dragon Warrior (Enix finally got the rights to the Quest name), and probably the most talked about upgrade for this game are the graphics. They are without a doubt, some of the finest, beautiful, most detailed, oh my god I just creamed my pants graphics ever in a Dragon Quest game, and quite possibly for the PS2. Everything is bright and colorful. The world is alive and moving with many little things going on in the background. Speaking of the background, almost everything in the background is part of the world. See that mountain off in the distance? Walk on over and climb it. As far as I can tell, every piece of the world is accessible and not static. The characters look as if they were ripped straight out of an anime. Akira Toriyama's artwork is represented accurately, making you wonder if everyone in the DQVIII world has a receding hairline or if they all just have very large foreheads.

Pump up the volume.

All of the familiar themes are back but this time fully orchestrated. For the US release Square-Enix removed the PS2 synth music and inserted arranged music from the Dragon Quest VIII Symphonic Suite, conducted by Koichi Sugiyama (the man behind every DQ game's music) and played by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. The resulting effect is incredible and will probably make you weep tears of joy when you hear the Overture March. It will make you run to the dresser drawer for new underpants upon hearing the battle theme for the first time. It is very dramatic and makes the hours you will spend leveling up a joy. Hearing the over world music for the first time will make traveling and exploring one of the most serene and calming experiences you have ever had in a video game. It is something that I hope sets the standard for RPGs and that more companies follow suit. All of these beautiful melodies are accompanied by sound effects ripped straight from the NES games, and that is perfectly fine. If this were any other game, it'd probably lose points for combing really beautiful music with old, substandard sound effects, but with Dragon Quest I think it is necessary to have these sound the same as the first time you heard them in 1989. There is also voice acting, another addition to the US release, which doesn't fit the game at all and really was only added to appeal to gamers who can't stand to read a few paragraphs of text. Thankfully, they can be turned off.

Time to party like its 1989.

Even with graphical and aural upgrades, you would think the one thing that would not change is the game play. In Dragon Quest's nineteen years of existence, the game play as remained exactly the same as it appeared in the first one with only minor tweaks and changes. Now comes the biggest, most significant change to the series' core game play since the ability to fight multiple enemies at once and that is...wait for it...THE ABILITY TO SELECT INDIVIDUAL TARGETS FROM WITHIN A GROUP. Yes, I am totally shocked.

But it doesn't stop there, no it does not! After seven games in the main series, several remakes, and quite a few spin-offs you can now SEE your party members in combat. Oh my god, jaw hit the floor, dubba-yu tee eff, barbeque. After the initial shock of seeing this it can be good or bad. To some of you it will be a welcome change, especially for Jessica fan boys, and to the rest of you, you will probably be bothered by how the animation can slow down the pace of battles but you will get used to it.

Also, depending on how you like your gaming, is how the skill point system will affect you. Gone are job classes and making one character sport several different jobs. Now each character has a specific set of skills you can raise at level up with skill points acquired along side your experience points. Definitely a step back but, its simplicity may turn someone away who enjoyed spending three hundred hours leveling every job possible in previous games. The last big change to the "game play" is that all the classic menus you know and love are gone, replaced with graphical menus full of icons. Movement around them is rather cumbersome but isn't much of an issue considering that the original menus were never the most streamlined to begin with. Still, it's a piece of nostalgia that has been lost for players that have played the series since the beginning.

Little Draque has grown up.

Developer Level 5 took the little boy and molded him into a man. That is the best way I can describe Dragon Quest VIII. While still clinging onto certain aspects of his childhood, he finally grew up and became more refined and distinguished yet still a kid at heart. While he may have done some things we really don't care for, they can be forgiven because of his charm and charisma just makes him too lovable to hate and all of his faults can be ignored. Folks, this is a true coming of age. Dragon Quest VIII has so much good going for it that the few bad things it has going for it are totally overshadowed by it. I truly do believe this is RPG of the year right here, if not game of the year. Go out and buy, rent, borrow, whatever you have to do to play it. Those of you who grew up playing Dragon Quest will have little to complain about and those of you new to the series should be intrigued and compelled enough to seek out the older games in the series to see what you missed or weren't alive to see them. I guarantee it.
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Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King by Square Enix (PlayStation2)
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