One of the best RPGs ever.
Dragon Quest 8 starts off so basic and familiar that its almost comforting. An evil man has gained new powers and cursed a king (omg shock!) and you survived his craziness, now its up to you (and a few friends along the way) to save the king and the princess and the whole kingdom!
Such a predictable and used plot! So why is this the best RPG on the PS2? Because its the perfect example of old school RPGs, the story is actually good, it flows nicely and doesn't leave you wondering what the hells going on! Its just a good story that flows.
The graphics are excellent and consistent. With character designs from the designer of Dragon Ball Z, so some characters look familiar. The environment is very nice to explore and the dungeons are creepy yet beautiful. The wonderful 3D world is vast and full of bonuses to reward the curious.
The music is fantastic! The voice acting quality is superb, and the action sound effects are very well done! Its a wonderful orchestrated sound track that makes you cheery, sad, and scared.
Now, the big thing about this game, is of course the genre trade marked battle system! ITS wonderful! You may take turns, but it feels action packed! And the random battles have an excellent interval in between, enough so you can get places, but not long enough to get comfy or bored. Its perfect, they didn't tweak anything about turn based battles or the random battles, they just perfected it!
Whats great about combat is how unique each ally is in battle. This is due to a nice selection of combat styles through different skills they can level up as well as excellent weapon customization. If you are using a boomerang versus a sword, you will see the boomerang on his back and in battle, but each weapon (and there are lots) is unique and its fun to customize. You can change certain appearances with specific combinations of armour, its sort of cool but the combinations are tough to get and ultimately does not impact game play at all.
I also like the implementation of saving, you go up to a priest and select confession to save! It feels like your really in the game, rather then the normal Square Enix save spot, the blue sphere that randomly pops up. The church is used frequently in the game, to check progress on leveling up, to save and to resurrect a fallen ally.
As with RPGs the game is sort of difficult because very soon the enemies will give you a run for your money, and MP and HP carry onto each battle. You don't heal after each one so difficulty raises especially in dungeons when you must traverse the whole thing with lots of random battles then top it off with a boss. This can be fixed with hours of grinding. Each new town I would grind at least three levels before entering the dungeon. Plus there are certain combinations of attack patterns you can create with the heroes that are more efficient.
This game is stupendous for RPG fans, PERIOD! What it really is, is an old school RPG, and the core systematics of the genre have been perfected.
An absolute must own for the RPG fan and gamer, and if your not so much into RPGs then its still worth renting, though you may not have enough time to complete it! Its a big game, its fun, and it kicks butt!