For many players, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed Kingis the best chapter of the Square Enix saga, and not only because it was the first game in the series to be released in Europe. The characters, the world, and the turn-based combat system showed attention to detail that impressed players and using the art style of Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, was the icing on the cake.
Although Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest both belong to Square Enix, and both in the RPG genre, they are two completely different approaches. While Final Fantasy always tries to show something new and original (not always successfully), Dragon Quest makes it a habit to keep the traditions and roots of the series. It does not mean that there are no innovations in the game, but when there are, it seems to be something imposed by the advances of the industry, and not so much by a desire to change and innovate. In other words, if you are fans of Dragon Quest, you always know what you are buying with a new game in the saga; a traditionally Japanese RPG, with a very definite distinction between good and evil, a light-hearted approach to the story, and turn-based combat against scary monsters.
Dragon Quest VIII was a hit when it came out on PS2, and it is not by chance that it has now been resurrected on Nintendo 3DS. If you are interested in this type of RPG, this chapter continues to be an excellent entry point for the series, even after so many years since the original release.
As is usually the case in Dragon Quest games, they will take on the role of an unnamed hero. When the adventure starts, the hero serves as a guard at the Trodaine castle, but when the kingdom is attacked by the sorcerer Dhoulmagus, this hero ends up being the only one who inexplicably remained conscious. King Trode and Princess Medea also survived, although the king was transformed into a huge green monster and the princess on a horse. The hero is thus tasked with finding the villain, defeating him, and breaking the spell that devastated the kingdom. Along the way, you will meet new characters who will join the group.
Dragon Quest VIII is never taken very seriously and has almost always with a light tone and a good mood. This does not necessarily mean that there are not some more serious or tragic moments in the story, but the mood of the game is generally well-disposed. The narrative itself is very simple, but it is told with great passion and charm, in such a way that it becomes difficult to land the laptop. That said, they need to accept the exaggeration of the characters (especially the villain Dhoulmagus, who becomes annoying) to really appreciate the story.
The main addition of the 3DS version is the introduction of two new companions that the player can recruit, and who will be familiar to anyone who has played Dragon Quest VIII. Another interesting function is the addition of a shooting mode. There are also some customization options (such as whether or not to use both screens), but otherwise, there is not much more that deserves to be mentioned.
Unexpectedly, Dragon Quest VIII seemed to be a good portable game. The slow, friendly pace, the familiar game mechanics, and the charming style he uses fit well for short game sessions if needed. Many current games are intense, and as a rule, I like it, but it also feels good to calm down with a more traditional and slow-paced RPG.
One disillusionment of this adaptation to Nintendo 3DS is the graphic element. After comparing videos of the PS2 version with the 3DS version, it became clear that the portable version was lost in terms of graphics quality. We expected the opposite, that the 3DS version would be more polished and detailed, but unfortunately, this is not the case. We were also disappointed by the absence of 3D functions, although not a crucial flaw. The excellent soundtrack, fortunately, received a few taps and is superior in this version, which can not be said of the interpretations of the voice actors.
Dragon Quest VIII for Nintendo 3DS is, therefore, a reasonable adaptation of a classic PlayStation 2, but that is not necessarily superior. More important, however, is the fact that this RPG is still an easily recommended game for fans of the genre. If you enjoy this style of RPG, or you miss the original version, you will be well served with Dragon Quest VIII.