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Dragon Quest VIII (Playstation 2) Review

I found DQ8 to be a bit of a contradiction: it requires you to dedicate yourself immensely to the game, but the combat system is so simple (for a hardcore RPG game like myself) that it gets boring sometimes. I can't play it for hours and hours straight like I did with FFX and Shadow Hearts 2.

I loved this game, really, from beginning to end. The graphics are unmatched, the overworld, the music score, The game is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen, and IM#O the 1st person view has the only purpose of you admiring all the character design by master Toriyama and also gazing at the beautiful scenery.

But all this has been told already. My gripes are:

- Bad Menus, too unpractical to equip weapons, exchange items with your pals, using the Alchemy Pot (a great add on BTW), etc. FFX and even Kingdom Hearts both have much more intuitive menus and interfaces, and we're talking about games from 2001 and 2002.

- Combat can be boring, though the monster's AI is not bad, it's too slow paced and archaic, just like other DQ games - nothing that pumps your adrenaline like FFX-2 and Shadow Hearts 2. Very slow paced too.

- Too many repeating dialogues. Every time you screw up at the Alchemy Pot and a number of other situations you have to go through the same dialog sequence like 'Try again, next time you may get it right etc).

- Leveling up takes AGES.

- No epic storyline, although the game has a lot of great story bits with decent in game cutscenes, it is nowhere near cinematic stuff like aforementioned games, in which you anxiously wait for what will happen.

- I didn't like the church guy calling me 'poor lamb' every time (j/k)

Don't take me wrong, I found DQ8 a FANTASTIC game and if those were major gripes it wouldn't get an 8 from me. The characters are loveable, even King Trode, who seems like an annoying little monster at first, shows he is wise and compassionate, and you end up liking him a lot.

IMO, DQ8 is a great game for beginners to the RPG genre (if they are willing to dedicate themselves so much for this game) and for veterans who can go over its small shortcomings. There's no game until now that has ever made me feel like I was inside a Cartoon. There's a bar brawl in the beginning of the game and your character just watches it. That time I really felt I was inside a Cartoon of the best quality. I also loved the monsters' design and their attacks, and the sound effects are awesome.

I recommend everyone to buy this game. Seriously.

Graphics: 10 - the best use of cel-shading ever, and with Toriyama's art it makes the graphics absolutely outstanding.

Sound: 9 - excellent score and voice-acting, but the soundtrack gets repetitive because youspend so much time walking on the overworld.

Gameplay: 7 - Archaic menu system and battles. Character control and camera, on the other hand, are spot on.

Replay Value: 10 - with a 100 hour quest and different endings, how could it not be 10?

Overall (not an average of the values above): 8.3


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