Dragon Quest VIII : Journey of the Cursed King - Critique
Some portages give you the pleasant feeling of having reunited with an old friend, while others are like an awkward reunion in the company of old comrades with whom you no longer have anything in common. Fortunately, Dragon Quest VIII: The Odyssey of the Cursed King is a timeless role-playing game that is proving to be as valid and wonderful as it could be when it was first released in 2005. Its mechanics and basic structure remain solid. , and these are even reinforced by the arrival of certain new cleverly implemented functions.
Basically this is a Japanese RPG in its purest form. The turn-based combat system differs little from those adopted by its countless colleagues, the quality of its storytelling constantly oscillates between “charming quirk” and “bizarre charm”, and the way you travel between towns, dungeons and open environments overflowing with enemies feel surprisingly familiar.
What differentiates this adventure from the majority of its peers, including all those released after its great debut on Playstation 2, remains the control it shows when it comes to making its entire universe coherent. Not a single introduced element feels out of place, and not a single feature sees its potential spoiled, in this game's relentless quest to demonstrate just how rewarding the traditional structure of a JRPG can be. Everything from visual rendering and writing to battles and world map design has been thought out and designed with obvious flair and skill, and such successes can only be done by developers who understand. precisely the video game framework to which they are attached.
Take for example the character design, which turns out to be simply amazing and certainly represents one of the best works of famous manga artist and character designer Akira Toriyama. This is the man who drew a plethora of characters that you inevitably know, from Dragon Ball to Chrono Trigger, and the cast offered by Dragon Quest VIII meets the same quality standards as the aforementioned sagas.
The main reason why the game continues to be so attractive and timeless comes down to its character-design, its graphic cell-shading style and its wide palette of colors which manages to protect it from the ravages of time. This quality of design helps to give each character a unique personality, even before they have said a word. Yangus is more of the chubby and short legged type, a body type that perfectly portrays his rough and inelegant personality to say the least, while the sometimes pompous and arrogant Angelo adopts a very elaborate and trendy dress style, which turns out to be perfectly matched to his personality. .
This important work in terms of visual identity is further reinforced by a complete vocal dubbing (knowing that some voices are exclusive to this portage), and the strong presence of the different dubbers gives even more weight to this brilliant localization carried out in the language. by Shakespeare. Much of the vocal work produced takes on a burlesque dimension that emphasizes the humorous initial script, and this bias remains in perfect harmony with the deliberately grotesque approach adopted by the main plot.
The plot behind this campaign, which blithely exceeds 80 hours of playtime, takes on a simple concept: you must travel the world to discover how to break the spell that turned King Trode into a tiny little green troll and the princess into a big horse. White. Here's a synopsis that wouldn't have gone wrong in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movies, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, or in one of the Monty Python feature films - but with (usually) more swords and dragons.
The main story is obviously not the primary reason for losing yourself in the narrative, which instead boils down to the fantastic dialogues and the fun interactions between characters. It is truly a game that gives pride of place to improbable relationships and associations, which aims to demonstrate how people who seem to oppose everything are able to overcome their differences and unite in order to strive for a goal. which they would have been unable to reach individually. In this story, it is much more about the relationships between the characters than any quest.
An option to allow you to perform time lapse battles has been added, and this is an excellent feature that takes into account the nomadic nature of the 3DS console. The relatively brief moments of daily bus and train journeys can now allow you to progress quickly through the various dungeons, since you no longer have to wait during the combat animations. This is also particularly useful when you grind to gain levels in anticipation of a boss fight promising to be difficult.
Aside from this time saving option, the biggest change in how battles work is in confrontations, which no longer trigger randomly. If in its original version the monsters attacked you without warning (like a Pokémon or a Final Fantasy VII), you can now see them move within the play area and choose whether or not to engage combat (as is the case in Ni No Kuni or Final Fantasy XV).
This approach greatly changes the overall pace of the adventure, as it is now up to you to choose how often you draw your sword. If you come to the conclusion that it is better not to fight, due to low health or a lack of medicinal resources, you may choose to take a roundabout path to a town or refuge. which will allow you to avoid conflicts. Ultimately, it's always best to fight as often as possible in order to level up and become more powerful. Still, being able to retreat with my tail between my legs (rather than losing precious progress) is a welcome novelty, and it makes me feel even more responsible for my own destiny.
Battles take the basic turn-based approach, and require you to choose wisely when to attack or defend. The exploration component requires you to find the right compromise between the potential rewards that are open to you and the risk of dying and having to retrace your steps. By constantly placing me in front of this type of choice, Dragon Quest VIII managed to stimulate my interest and my attention, while embellishing these decision-making with a crazy script that regularly came to fill in the downtime with a little lightness.
These new features add some added value to this port, but they're not the only reason to devote your time to Dragon Quest VIII. As was the case more than a decade ago, these additions prove to us above all that it is quite possible to bring added value to a video game genre without necessarily breaking one of its fundamental rules.
If you've ever played the original game on Playstation 2, this nostalgic throwback will remind you how awesome this adventure was the first time around, and most of all prove to you that it hasn't aged a bit. If you discover this wacky adventure, it will give you a great example of the best that traditional JRPGs have to offer. Whether you are a novice or a connoisseur, the conclusion remains the same: Dragon Quest VIII is proving to be as entertaining as it could be in 2005.