[PS2] Dragon Quest VIII

posted 5 Jan 2011, 00:43 by Thomas Vale   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 00:43 ]
I think the following review can be summed up in one sentance: 'The game is fantastic'. This is another game I had sitting on my shelf for a while after I bought it, just waiting for me to play it.

I'm not a fan of Akira Toriyama. This is probably due to the fact that I really dislike the circular storytelling of 
Dragonball. At least I wasn't a fan before I played this game. The artwork of this game is superb, and gives the game a cartoony feel without making you feel like this is a game your as yet unborn son should be playing (Zelda anyone?). It is cell-shaded beautifuly. The landscapes are textured in such a way that they are detailed while still retaining the cartoon-esque feel. The characters are oozing with polys so that Jessica's breasts.... uhhh everything looks really smooth. The special effects used in battles are impressive without being so ott that it takes 14 minutes to take a turn. All the weapons that people use in combat look different. You can actualy see the difference between a rusty old sword and whatever the ultimate weapon is, even in the field. The game is in short beautiful.
However, what was interesting is that I can only remember one (count that: one) fmv in the entire game. The storytelling is done so well scripted in the game engine, there simply was no need for more.

The Voice acting sounds very.... British. It's pure class to my mind. The voices really sat right with the characters they were portraying. I could find very little to fault in the overall performance, but very occasionaly there were pregnant pauses and once again occasionaly a lack of the right emotion. The music... the music was awe inspiring. A proper orchestral soundtrack which I never tired of the whole way through. There was a tendancy to re-use tracks, but I really did not mind as like I said the music was superb, and memorable throught the entire game

The Gameplay was solid. It used essentialy the same turn based battle system we have seen for years. But this was done with such polish you could not fault it. I liked the skil points in particular disciplines, allowing me to focus my Hero on a multi hit weapon rather than the standard Sword affair. The characters had reasonably clearly defined Jobs, and in this type of game it is a good thing as a characters Job is a part of their personality. The game has a lot of side quests, mini-games and the now ubiquitous 'New Game+' where you can go back into the game with your characters in the state they were at the end of the game, giving it a lot of replay value on top of the already 40+ hours play time

The plot is I suppose standard fare: Hero finds himself emroiled in a battle so save the world, but once again, such polish is put on it, such development is given to all the characters, it turns it into something entirely different. Square Enix went a lesser trodden path in this game, not having the hero speak, (a-la Chrono Trigger). It works really well for this game, as teh story is driven by everyone else's chat and Hero's actions.

The game is a masterpiece. It takes me back to the days of my snes rpgs while at one and the same time is very much a, well I suppose it's Current Gen now, RPG, with beautiful graphics, great voice acting, superb music, old school plot, great old school gameplay all wrapped up perfectly together. If I was still giving scores, this would be well up in the upper 90s. Buy it! Now!

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