Dragon Quest VIII: The Cursed King's Odyssey - Review

Author: Biagio "Shinx" Etna
Date: 2020-07-30 23:19:34
Dragon Quest VIII: The Cursed King's Odyssey is a classic that a JRPG enthusiast can't miss. Developed by Level 5 and distributed by Square-Enix, the title, originally released on PS2 in 2004 (2006 in Europe), probably represents the highest point reached by the entire series. The reasons for this success, at the time of the release, were self-evident: well-characterized and fascinating characters, outlined by the unmistakable trait of Akira Toriyama, a simple but multifaceted game structure, always ready to offer a challenge worthy of note, a extraordinary technical aspect, and - last but not least - an enviable longevity. With this remake, the 3DS welcomes a titanic product to say the least in its software library, with the intent, not even so obvious, to establish itself again twelve years after the original release. The story faithfully follows the stylistic features of the classic fairy tale, narrating stories with a boyish flavor, but no less appealing for an adult audience. The fall of King Trode by a perfidious minstrel throws the kingdom of Trodain in total despair. A curse launched by the shady and bizarre individual imprisons the sovereign's castle in a bundle of brambles, with the consequent transformation of each of its occupants into a plan. A single guard, the nameless character featured in the game, will have to help his sovereign and princess, transformed respectively into a green monster and a horse.

Clearly, following the tried and tested structure of Japanese role-playing games, the heroic caravan is destined to become richer over time, including among its passengers the "good thief" Yangus, tough and combative, the charming Jessica, mistress of the magical arts and Angelo, known Don Giovanni with noble origins. Unique characters, ready to accompany us along our perilous itinerary and who already give me the "la" to talk about some additions to this remake. In fact, two new heroes will be able to join our group, mixing the party's skills properly and expanding the options during the fight.

Although they have been shown to the right and left in every corner of the internet, I prefer readers to decide whether and how to see new entries. You can easily find them on the net, but personally I recommend you discover them for yourself. Following the canonical nature of every good vintage JRPG, Dragon Quest VIII does not escape certain rules: the boundless world to be explored will see us first sadly on foot, then equipped with means (mechanical or "organic") capable of bringing us among the immense plains by land, by air and also by sea.

The fights, although indispensable, are no longer random: in this remake the enemies are clearly indicated on the screen and it is up to us to decide whether to engage them in battle. This is certainly not an absolute novelty in the world of role-playing games and their evolution, but the inclusion of this feature in a title with twelve years on his shoulders could seriously damage the balance of the game. Not only does this not happen, but the struggles become even more intriguing, thanks to the introduction of new monsters, new protagonists and a gigantic work of global balancing.

Among the minor improvements, the bestiary has slightly increased, both through simple recoloring and thanks to brand new enemies. It also adds several objects and confrontations never faced in the combat arena (a place you will learn to love / hate). The positive note of these changes is the way they fit into the adventure: they are so comfortable, fun and well implemented that they get stuck in a practically invisible way in the flow of the action. By continuing to talk about combat, the opportunity to speed up animations is welcome, a magnificent option, especially for those who want to unravel the secrets of the game.

Other devices, apparently modest, make the gameplay fluid and with an enviable rhythm. First of all, there is a convenient quick save, indispensable given the portable nature of the conversion, but also very useful if a save point is well beyond our patience, desire to continue or simple tiredness. The map shows off on the lower screen and some icons indicate which monsters are recruitable for the aforementioned Arena. A bizarre camera will compete to amuse us both within the same game, through some sub-quests, and in the recreational and social sphere. There is in fact a small editor for the personalization of our shots, with consequent sharing via street pass.

Then there are the ninety pieces: new sub-quests, a completely new underground, the dubbing of the cut-scenes, the aforementioned heroes to be recruited, as well as the possibility of accessing a new ending. In short, if we exclude non-orchestrated music, Dragon Quest VIII is the best version of the game ever published: immense, technically finished and artistically sublime, an immortal masterpiece that all fans, including those who finished it twelve years ago, they should play without thinking about it for a second.

I downloaded Dragon Quest VIII: The Cursed King's Odyssey thanks to a code provided directly to me by the distributor. I played for over 70 hours, not only seeing the excellent remake, but enjoying the numerous additions.