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The 2005 PS2 Role-Playing video game

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Beautifully rendered cell-shaded bliss

  • May 13, 2009
  • by
This is the first Dragon Quest to make its appearance on the PS2 and quite a debute it is. You control a precocious young scamp named Hero who is in search of a way to reverse the spell that has plagued his world. You will recognize the characters as they were designed by the creator of the Dragon Ballz and are cell-shaded to produce that true anime feel. The game also includes a playable demo of Final Fantasy XII...though I bought mine used and never got it. Anyway, let's take a closer look at why this game is so popular.


The Kingdom of Trodain has been attacked by an evil jester named Dhoulmagus who breaks into the kingdom's treasure vault and takes a mysterious scepter....he then uses the magical scepter to inflict a plague across all the lands in an attempt to free Rapthorne, the prince of darkness. You control a precocious young scamp named Hero (you'll name him yourself, thus the generic name) who was unaffected by the plague and is asked - neigh - commanded by the king (now a monster) to retrieve the scepter and defeat Dhoulmagus so the plague will be reversed. Upon entering your first town you learn that an evil jester has been killing innocents who are mysteriously linked to each other, but how?


As with previous Dragon Quest games, they don't really offer any revolutionary advancement in the RPG genre....just your basic turn based fighting system, but where the series shines is the amount of customization you're allowed for each of the playable characters. Each character also has a unique ability that when optimized will offer the party some intriguing abilities during battles. There are some tedious aspects to the game: leveling can take quite a few kills to advance just one level....and the gold distribution doesn't reflect the price of the weapons, armors, and items you'll need to progress the story. With many costing in the 1000s you will soon discover that the amount of enemies you'll need to fight just to acquire that amount is staggering. Another feature that is either hit-or-miss depending on your taste, is the church save system. If you want to save your game, learn about your characters, cure them, etc... you must confess your actions to a member of the clergy....but this is only a minor annoyance. The game is loaded with side quests like Monster Arena, alchemy, and collecting mini tokens that can be exchanged for some valuable prizes. While there are quite a lot of side quests, Monster Arena is by far the most fun. Monster Arena grants you the option to capture certain monsters to use in a 3-on-3 battle against other teams in the arena. This aspect of the game is highly addictive and more often than not you'll find yourself searching for monsters to capture rather than advancing the story.

Graphic and sound:

Being a cell-shaded game, Dragon Quest has some of the most stunning graphics around. The world, its characters and everything else that it encompasses is beautifully rendered and a joy to experience. The sound doesn't match the graphic's quality but is adequate for conveying the mood of the game.

Final thoughts:

Dragon Quest VIII is the very definition of RPG. It utilizes well-established aspects of the genre and introduces a few new ones. There is enough here to keep new and old fans of the series busy for weeks. However, once you do finish it, there isn't much in the terms of replay.

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More Dragon Quest VIII [PS2] reviews
Quick Tip by . September 26, 2010
The only stateside PS2 Dragon Quest Game and damn if they only had to get one, they got a good one. Four party members, the same great feel and items to collect and monsters to slay.
review by . November 06, 2009
In Japan, the Dragon Quest games are huge.  So much so that the creators are urged to release the game on Sundays or Holidays.  It's not quite that way in America or in other countries.  In fact, in several countries, Dragon Quest VIII was the first Dragon Quest game they ever got.  America at least got the first four games and the seventh installment.  Throughout the years gamers are constantly baffled by the huge love affair Japan has with the games.  True enough, …
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Justyn Joe Richardson ()
Ranked #129
My name is Justyn Richardson but I go by the name Shoyu - after joining the on-line gaming site, Pogo, I have reverted back to my childhood nickname of Tasteless Joe. I first acquired the name when I … more
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About this video game


Dragon Quest VIII uses cel-shading textures for the characters and scenery and is the first game in the series to have fully three dimensional environments. This game retains most of the series' role-playing game elements, such as turn-based combat and the experience level system. Dragon Quest VIII follows the silent Hero, the main character, and his party of allies as they journey towards their goal of defeating the wicked Dhoulmagus. The kingdom of Trodain has been cursed by Dhoulmagus and the King, Trode, and his daughter, Medea, have both been transformed and it is up to the Hero to return them to their original form and save the kingdom.

Dragon Quest VIII has enjoyed much success since its release, both in Japan and in the US. It is a Square Enix Ultimate Hits and a Sony Greatest Hits title. A survey conducted in 2006 by the magazine Famitsu earned the game the #4 spot as the best video game of all time after Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy VII and Dragon Quest III.
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ESRB: Teen
Number of Players: 1 Player
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Level 5
Console: PS2
Genre: RPG
Release Date: November 15, 2005
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