Long before any of today's consoles were even invented, I was playing every Dragon Warrior title I could find. Mainly the four that were for the nes. Upon getting a PS1, I came to learn about many imports from part of the entire series. Sadly, most needed translation. I managed to find a few that were translated. I believe that Dragon Quest 8 is one of the most underrated games that I have ever played.
The cell shading in this game is absolutely remarkable. The color choices and how they blended together kills! The sunny and early evening skies were so well shaded I couldn't believe it. After playing this game I became an instant fan of cell shading. The programmers kept all of the colors simple and appealing. It's just remarkable in it's simplicity. Brightness and darkness are perfectly balanced and pull off one Hell of a color combo where it's critical for the general flow of the game. They really set the bar with this magnificent engine.
True to form this title is reminiscent of all of the older installations in the series. Much like other role playing games there are monsters from the very first game in the series that show up in this one. Slimes for example. They really went to town on the newbies also. I found that some of the monster's behaviour in this installment to be humorous at times with their actions in battle. Some of the wackiest special attacks I've ever seen. The appearance of many of the monsters is a hoot also. The battle is turn based and it's commands are simple to use. If I had to rate the difficulty of the battles on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say a strong 7. Not too hard. Not to easy. If memory serves, there is no "Active Time Battle". This allows the player to put some extra thought into their battle strategy without monsters attacking them while thinking. This is a good thing. Some monsters demand a well thought out strategy on the player's behalf. The abilities of the party members are wicked effective and abundant, but not too complicated. The music in this game is not too bad. It's fits certain situations in the game pretty well. Not awesome, but cool though. It's certainly better than many others I've heard. The level grinding in this game decent. It doesn't take 10,000,000 battles to level up a character. Most monsters are pretty generous with the experience your receive when you kill them. For a real boost in experience head to Howlwind Hill when you receive flight power. 90% of the encounters there are Metal Slimes, Metal Babbles, and the elusive Metal King Slime!
There are a plethora of features that I love in this game! To begin with, when you are walking around different parts of the world you will see various types of monsters walking around. These turds are no easy win unless you happen to have party members that are insanely high in level for the area you see the monster in. This can be accomplished by level grinding to such a point that the monsters in any given area that would normally kick your ass if you didn't take the time to grind before fighting them. Later in the game, these special monsters become extremely useful and damn near critical in certain spots in the game. They will fight for you in battle and also fight as your team in the Battle Arena! I won't spoil it for those who have never played, but there are many of juicy side quests to sink your teeth into, adding lots of spice to your adventure. You will not believe the coolness of what happens after you complete the game! When it comes to items, weapons, and accessories, there are many to buy and receive after battle. The prices of these in towns are fairly reasonable in price. The monsters drop a decent amount of gold after a fight also.
Another great feature is the Alchemy Pot. This allows you to combine two different items and as a result, cook up some awesome stuff that can only be obtained by doing just that. At different times during your quest you will notice that the characters speak to each other and the player can hear them talk as opposed to just reading. Jessica for example, speaks with a British accent. The puzzles in the game are a fair challenge but not insanely tough like many other role playing game's puzzles. You won't be pulling your hair out at the roots in this game trying to figure out puzzles. This game's tsunami of secrets is incredible to say the least. It isn't a short game at all. There is so much to do. This adds a deeper and hugely entertaining experience. I loved going around the world searching for special monsters to add to my team that fight in the arena. It's so much fun! Upon completion of the main quest, something very special and a well deserved occurrence happens. The one and only gripe I have about this game is the Alchemy Pot. It's slower than a three legged turtle cooking the two items to produce your new one. There might be a way to fix this if you play your cards right. Pick up this title if you get the chance. You won't be disappointed.