Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King review
The 3DS is no stranger to large JRPG releases, with Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse and Pokemon Sun And Moon releasing in 2016, but there’s still room for another gigantic journey, and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King fills that niche excellently.
Dragon Quest VIII kicks off with an evil mage named Dhoulmagus turning innocent people into different creatures and animals, and it’s up to you and your party to find a way to stop this curse, as well as Dhoulmagus.
Accompanied by Dragon Quest’s lighthearted tone, it’s not a hugely mature story. Instead, the game captures the tone of going on an adventure with your friends, all the while chasing down an evil wizard who sometimes has a tendency for equine transformation.
The game flouts the traditional moody JRPG protagonist and world-bending plot to make something a little bit more grounded that still has a whole lot of heart behind it. Your friends and party members are Dragon Quest VIII’s lifeblood, with the skits and interactions between them becoming the real core of the game. As you begin to bond with your party-members and interact with NPCs, the story takes a backseat in favour of the incredibly cohesive world.
As you explore the world, you’ll run into random battles. However, these come at a steady pace and are not so frequent that it becomes a chore. Expect a relatively simple battle system, with normal attacks bolstered by elemental spells in addition to healing and buffs. While serviceable, there’s not much variation or difficulty in the combat, nor does Dragon Quest VIII ever really expand on the basics. With a simple upgrade path for your party as you level up, the game never mechanically expands to something more compelling.
However, where Dragon Quest VIII shines is in the little details. From the bizarre monster designs like giant humanoid chickens to the exaggerated accents of your party members, Dragon Quest VIII’s world is brimming with personality, with the lighthearted tone, monsters and party members making for a memorable journey.
Dragon Quest VIII is a pretty lengthy game, with the total playtime for the main story racking up to around 40 hours. However, despite the somewhat basic battle system, the game keeps itself fresh by letting us explore dungeons, grab loot and givingour characters costumes, it never feels like it’s been padded out like so many other JRPGs.
Dragon Quest VIII is just a joy to be in, with the world being the main reason you come, evil wizards and looming destruction be damned.