43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
buy it now,
This review is from: Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King (PS2) (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...