Yes, I'm just going to quietly write a first impressions article as though I haven't taken the better part of a year off from posting anything. Also, this technically isn't my first impressions of Dragon Quest VIII, I had some experience with the game about ten years ago when my friend and roommate Zor The Red played through it and I watched him, intermittently. However, that was a long time ago, and the game feels pretty new to me.
Jane watched me play for the first hour, and the thing that made the strongest impression on her was how very adorable the enemies are. She's not wrong, they really are cute. I never really noticed this in the earlier NES Dragon Quest games, but here in PS2 High Fidelity, SquareEnix chose to really highlight the cuteness. In fact, I can now see how easily a Pokemon clone could be born from this universe of adorable monsters.
|The Dancing Devil's Sultry Dance would make Jane lol every time|
Play-wise, I find the games retro-turned based approach to combat to be soothing. It's a throwback with updated graphics, and sometimes that's just the thing. Turn based combat can lend to some pretty hairy situations where you must make very careful decisions. The voice acting is really good too, full of earnest overacting that reminds me of any great mid-budget cartoon. The world in general is very light and optomistic in tone, a nice antidote to the dreary worlds of other media.
Coming off of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Dragon Quest VIII's world is markedly un-interactive, but this is only occasionally frustrating; when I run into a small obstacle I can't simple jump or climb over. That being said, the view distance is really great, and I get the impression that, much like BOTW, what I am seeing is actually there, not simply part of the backdrop.
All in all, I'm pretty happy to be playing this game just after the end of Daylight Savings, and moving into the winter where playing a retro RPG on the couch is just the ticket.
P.S. a HUUUUGE thank you to Jaconian for giving me this copy to play! Thank you thank you thank you. I have no excuse for having been silent so long.