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Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King Discussion (Nintendo 3DS) [game]
 

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Posted: 01/22/17, 02:25:04  - Edited by 
 on: 01/22/17, 02:56:45
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I loved this game on the PS2, but never finished, so I've been anticipating this release for quite a while.

My initial impressions were somewhat mixed. On the negative side of things, the text was kind of blurry, the orchestrated soundtrack was gone, the textures and models were weaker, and the color palette was somehow too saturated/bold and also too dark. And I couldn't use the Circle Pad in any menu, meaning I had to keep switching my hand position while playing!

Buuuut...the improvements to an already great game very quickly won me over. The photo mode is hilarious fun and comes with an addictive and charming sidequest that fits this game's exploration element perfectly. The improvements to the alchemy pot make everything much more streamlined and fun to play around with. The lack of random encounters means that not only is exploring more fun, but the world feels far more alive now with creatures running about. Plus, the small tweaks to the gameplay are welcome (such as having all picked up items go directly to your bag). I haven't even messed with the sped up battles yet or reached the extra characters, but I'm looking forward to those as well.

Beyond all that, the core game is still terrific, with great pacing and charm and a strong blend of exploration and linear progression/storytelling. I've played about 8 hours over the past couple days and only stopped because my system needed to charge. Despite the audio/visual downgrades, this is a great game and I'm having a heck of a time revisiting it.

Currently just landed in Maella Abbey after poking around doing some side stuff for a bit. Looking forward to filling out my team soon!
Posted: 01/22/17, 05:50:27
Bump!

Where is everyone? What, are you all playing the swarth of Nintendo games that we've gotten in the last few months while waiting for the Switch? Crack open a 3DS and play this gem, you blokes! Do it for the guv.
Posted: 01/24/17, 05:30:01
I started diving in tonight.

I like it!

I like that you can choose when to battle. The battles go relatively quickly, too. Leveling up doesn't seem so much like a chore. Granted, I've only played for two hours, but I like what I've played.

Item/equipment management took me a bit to figure out. Seems kind of archaic/unnecessary? Not sure.
Posted: 01/24/17, 06:35:43
@TheOldManFromZelda

Welcome to Dragon Quest where everything is archaic Well the item management stuff anyway.

I played it a bit, this is actually my first time too. The improvements over VII are very welcome. Voiced characters adds a lot of personality too which I love. Definitely makes visiting new areas feel less boring. Plus what seems to be a more focused plot definitely helps keep things interesting. We'll see if it lasts though. I sure hope so! Seems like I could actually enjoy this one.
Posted: 01/24/17, 07:20:02
@VofEscaflowne

I couldn't figure out for the life of me why I couldn't equip new things.

Then I figured out I actually had to carry the thing I wanted to equip in my "bag". Geez.

It makes sense, but this is a video game. Help a brother out!
Posted: 01/24/17, 15:19:30
@TheOldManFromZelda

And then comes the thing where you wonder if they can use that item so you transfer it to them... and they can't use it so you have to transfer it back out. Unless if I'm missing something to simplify things.
Posted: 01/24/17, 15:38:36
@VofEscaflowne

I think when you put something in a character's bag, it will ask if you want to equip it now. That's the only clue you get.
Posted: 01/24/17, 15:52:20
@TheOldManFromZelda
You can also go to the separate "Equip" menu if you want an easy way to compare character equipment to each other (this is also one of the only parts of the game in true 3D). That said, it has to be in that character's inventory first.

DQ's inventory system is a little quirky, but the game is balanced around it, so it works nicely when you get used to it. Be thankful that you have the "bag" feature that was implemented in the 90s--earlier DQ games only let you store a limited amount within each character's pouch!
Posted: 01/24/17, 16:59:05
In my case, I already own and played this on PS2, so I'm in no rush to go out and grab it. I still have DQ VII to play as well. I'll probably never replay the game on PS2 though, so when I feel like doing that, that's probably when I'd buy this. The improvements would certainly make it easier to play.
Posted: 01/25/17, 01:03:08
It might make me seem shallow, but I opted out of this release because of the lack of an orchestral soundtrack.
I have very fond memories of playing this on my PS2, and the music was a big part of that experience.
Posted: 01/25/17, 03:13:08
ploot said:
It might make me seem shallow, but I opted out of this release because of the lack of an orchestral soundtrack.
I have very fond memories of playing this on my PS2, and the music was a big part of that experience.
I can understand that. In fact, it took quite a while for me to get past this disappointing element of the game (especially since the Japanese version kept the orchestrated soundtrack in!). The good news is that DQ8 has held up wonderfully and the tweaks and additions kind of balance everything out in the end. I'm not sure which version I prefer; the PS2 one has a richer atmosphere and is gorgeous, but the 3DS one has stronger gameplay and more content.
Posted: 01/25/17, 03:55:33
Yeah, I've got this on my "to-do" list. I picked the game up, so I already own it. But I haven't started because I'm still waist-deep in Pokémon Moon. Plus I haven't finished DragonQuest VII. Or Bravely Second. Or Project X Zone 2. And I keep finding myself getting online and playing Super Smash Bros. when I have down time. Also Super Mario Maker.

It's official. I've been buried under my 3DS backlog. Maybe forever.
Posted: 01/25/17, 22:24:55
One explanation I've heard for the lack of the orchestral soundtrack is that the English voices take up more space than the Japanese ones. This means they needed to free up some space in order to get them to fit, so they cut out the orchestral tracks which use more data. They didn't want to use a higher-capacity game card because it would cost more to manufacture.

Not confirmed of course, but it sounds plausible to me.
Posted: 01/25/17, 22:38:43
That would make sense, I suppose. It takes less words to write the same thing in Japanese than it does in English, yeah? So I guess it would make sense that it would take less words to SPEAK the same thing in Japanese than in English.

Still, too bad they couldn't spring for that larger capacity game card. Oh well.
Posted: 01/26/17, 03:37:12
Bump.

Finally beat the main story of this a couple days ago. It's fantastic! Really, what a great game. It was funny, it was emotional, it was paced well and smartly done and a joy to play through from start to finish (in fact, beyond finish because the post-game content has some important backstory and new character development). This is my new favorite Dragon Quest and one of my top games on the 3DS. Very happy that DQVIII helped make this final month of waiting for Zelda/Switch go by easily. Now to dig into the super-hard post-game stuff.

Go play it!
Posted: 02/12/17, 20:02:03
@TriforceBun

Still playing it, feels like I'm approaching the end. Unlike VII, this one I'm absolutely loving for the same reasons I mentioned above. The difficulty feels good so far. Nothing too hard but still some battles that leave me struggling by its end. I only died a few times at this one battle so far but a little extra leveling up and learning Multiheal made quick work of it. That and I have a tendency to save my skill points in games that I can't decide what path to take My main character had 150 saved up at one point! But yeah, definitely feel better about the series again. IX was my first which I loved. VI I never finished which says a lot. VII I also never beat but made it to the final battle... which was a mistake. VIII is back up there with a quality and classic feeling JRPG which really hit the spot
Posted: 02/13/17, 00:34:18
@VofEscaflowne
Glad you're having a good time with it. I'm pretty sure I know exactly which battle you're talking about ("What a pity!")! I won it by the skin of my teeth thanks to Munchie's Cured Cheese (basically Multiheal), a strong Monster Team and a bit of good fortune. If I'd lost, I'd probably need to go level up a touch to nab that Multiheal spell (which makes it much more manageable for sure).

Crazy that you were sitting on 150 Skill Points. Those get lapped up like a thirsty dog whenever I level up. I specialized in Boomerangs and Courage and never regretted it thanks to how it handled mobs of enemies, but now I'm focusing on Swords.

As for the other games, VI and VII are similarly styled so I think that might be why you had a rough time with both of them. If you'd like to try another beloved DQ game, I'd recommend V. It's much shorter than most of them but has a very strong, emotional core to it. Keep in mind that 8 and 9 are among the most "modern" DQ games so there's a bit of an old-school sensibility to the others.

My current DQ rankings:

9. DQ2. Unbalanced difficulty and esoteric exploration.
8. DQ7. Very charming but too easy and padded.
7. DQ6. Underwhelming story but a large world.
6. DQ9. Lots to do with polished gameplay.
5. DQ1. Invented the JRPG in a smart way.
4. DQ4 (need to replay). Really fun cast and gimmick.
3. DQ5. Strong emotional core.
2. DQ3. Great game considering its age.
1. DQ8. Hail to the new king, baby!

I have full reviews of all of them on NW except for 4, 7 and 8 (all of which I plan on getting to).
Posted: 02/13/17, 04:41:00
@TriforceBun

Haha yup, that's the battle alright. Nothing has been quite as difficult so far.

I ended up using all of those points shortly after I hit 150. Figured that was a good number to start spending them I went straight for swords myself even though I was mostly using a boomerang but with Angelo and Jessica being able to efficiently handle mobs, I had no reason to focus on boomerangs anymore. Angelo's Shining Shot mixed in with Jessica's Kaboom usually does the job. But now I also have Zap to help in with the tougher crowds. Fun combination!

I plan to play Dragon Quest V next for sure. I picked up a copy on Amazon a while back in case it became rare what with the cart production having ended some time ago. It was one I always intended to play but forgot about it down the line. Might have to wait a bit more before I get to it because I definitely want to play more of VIII and then of course there's Zelda in March. And Persona 5 in April. Games everywhere!
Posted: 02/13/17, 05:24:29
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