Game Ramblings #8 – Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

More Info from Square Enix

  • Genre:JRPG
  • Platform:PS2
  • Also Available On:Android, iOS, 3DS (Japan Only)


  • Full Story Completion
  • Roughly 75 hours

Dragon Quest 8 is really a classic of a very core RPG.  It has a simple turn based battle system, but a good story, entertaining characters, and decent voice acting, all in a bright and large overworld.  If someone was to point at a great example of what the core mechanics of any JRPG should start at, it would be this one.  While it hasn’t necessarily aged that gracefully in the last 10 years, it’s still a fine example of the type of JRPG that was coming out at the tail end of the PS2 era, and any fans of the genre would benefit from playing this one.

What I Liked

The gameplay overall is simple, but pretty fun.  The battle system is a standard turn-based affair.  There’s some entertaining moves, particularly Jessica who has an entire over the top sex appeal category of moves to distract enemies.  In addition, the characters can essentially save up turns to pump themselves up and do enhanced damage in subsequent moves.

Visually the game has also held up really well.  It’s similar to Wind Waker in the sense that the cel-shaded style really helped simplify the visuals of the original, but have ended up holding up a lot better than “realistic” attempts of that era.

What I Didn’t Like

Unfortunately also a stand-in of older JRPGs, there were some grindy segments of the game, particularly in the late game.  As I got to the last boss, I basically had to grind to a point where I had near-max gear, as well as three characters to revive.  Once I got the three revive, the final boss was fairly trivial, but until that point I couldn’t keep up with healing to save my life.  To some extent I expect it within the genre to have to grind, but this game felt a bit overboard.

What I Was Indifferent To

The largest side-quest thing I found was the monster arena, where special monsters you defeat in the world can battle out against each other.  There’s some good prizes to be had, but I honestly couldn’t be bothered to run around finding the strongest monsters and run back to fight them out.

There is also an alchemy system for gear and item production.  I used it a handful of times for gear, but without going to gamefaqs to come up with specific recipes it’s a lot of finding books in the world that give vague descriptions of recipes that may or may not be of any use.  Helpful for end-game gear, but really only if you know specifically what you’re trying to make.

Game Ramblings #7 – Omega Quintet

More info from Idea Factory

  • Genre: JRPG
  • Platform: PS4


  • Roughly 25 hours of story
  • All available side quests up to that point
  • Shelved in favor of other games, gameplay fun but repetitive

Omega Quintet can best be described as an idol JRPG.  Per the story, you are putting together a Japanese idol group in order to save the world (or at least the city you’re in), and fighting lots of monsters in doing so.  You hit all the JRPG/anime stereotypes, but the lighthearted story and interactions, and pretty solid game mechanics make this an overall solid experience for PS4 gamers looking for a new JRPG to fill that niche.

What I Liked

The battle system itself was pretty fun.  It takes the time/turn-based gameplay of a game like Final Fantasy 10, and adds some range and AoE mechanics that add a lot of depth.  Moves can be single target,  horizontal or vertical line AoE, or circular range AoE, so finding the right moves and right target to maximize full party damage adds some interesting quirks to the battle system.  In addition, the full party can engage in combo mechanics for particularly large damage.  On top of that there is a pretty nice elemental system for additional damage bonuses, with the addition of individual weapon types per-character that act as elements.  Overall the battle system takes some well established gameplay from other games, and adds a lot of potential depth possibilities to really round out the battle situations.

The characters and interactions between them are also fun.  For the most part the game doesn’t take itself very seriously, so a lot of the dialogue ends up being pretty light hearted.  However, for the type of slice-of-life in a post apocalyptic world that the game takes place in, it adds a very non-serious tone that I feel fit the game well.

What I Didn’t Like

Missable side quests bug me in most games.  In this case, the side quests are time limited, but not always in the most obvious way.  My tendency ended up being to crunch on side quests until I finished them all, while avoiding story triggers that I knew about.  In some cases, missing the side quests meant missing moves that aid overworld navigation and interaction, blocking some additional treasures that would otherwise be available in hidden spots.  It didn’t end up penalizing me particularly much, but I prefer games that allow side quests to be done at leisure, particularly when they can have long-term negative consequences in the game.

What I Was Indifferent To

Overall the individual zones were pretty average.  The world consists of a 2D world map, then a bunch of smaller 3D zones with more or less linear paths.  As the game progresses, different environmental interactions open up the areas a bit more, but the maps still tend towards being pretty compact, with usually 3-5 enemy types per environment.

Side quests also tended towards being just kill x monsters, collect y items, etc.  Overall they were simple objectives, but to some extent felt necessary for character growth to at least be grinding them out a bit.  They provided for the bulk of easy points for gear purchases and upgrades throughout the game, so doing side quests was beneficial enough to worry about keeping them completed, but didn’t add much to the experience.

Game Ramblings #1 – Thoughts on Final Fantasy Type-0


  • 15 hours
  • 3 main chapters
  • All sorts of side things
  • Handful of mission replays


What I Like

First things first, the battle system is fantastic.  It still feels distinctly Final Fantasy while being real-time.  There’s nice timing touches to allow massive damage or instant kills that encourage avoiding button spamming all the time.  Dodging also feels extremely good.  While I don’t necessarily like all of the characters fighting styles, there’s enough variety that I can pretty much guarantee that one of my three active members is someone I enjoy controlling in a fight.

Somewhat related, the customization of ability sets on characters is also a nice touch.  It avoids some of the general issues of having pages of abilities being unused, and forces some strategy in how your party is setup in terms of who has healing magic, who is focused on damage, etc.  As an extension, having the magic abilities be upgradeable through items acquired during battles is a nice way to allow for some amount of micromanagement in your team.

Being able to replay story missions from the title menu is also a nice touch.  Experience and items gained also apply to the story progress, so this is both a good completionist/leaderboardy feature, as well as a convenient way to gain some levels.

Also, as is common for Final Fantasy games, the soundtrack is particularly enjoyable.

What I’m Indifferent To

The story is fairly normal Final Fantasy material, but it’s not what I would consider a good or bad story.  It just kind of exists, and so far hasn’t been more than adequate.  It’s not the worst FF story ever, but I wouldn’t put it up there with the best of them.  It is extremely clear that this was originally within the FF XIII universe though with all the l’Cie bits in the core of the story.

I’m also fairly indifferent to the side questing.  A large portion of the side quests are basically retrieval quests, and I’ve mostly ended up using them as ways to level up underleveled characters.

What I Don’t Like

The interaction of the side questing and a time limiting mechanic is…slightly annoying.  The main issue here is that I can’t queue multiple side quests.  I can queue one, complete, queue another, etc.  While ones that are purely collection can be done effectively at the same time, there are some that require multiple trips out of the main city (Ex: Quest: Kill 15 troops, Quest: Capture 3 troops) that are only tracked while active and require me to leave the main city twice.  Under normal circumstances this would only be slow, but the game requires 6 hours of in-world time to leave the city, and there’s a cap before being forced into the next story mission, which wipes out any remaining side quests in that chapter.  For me this is solvable with either multiple quest queuing or removal of the time limit, both of which feel like largely unnecessary features.


We’ll see how this ends up, but so far Type-0 feels like a game worth recommending.  It’s still very distinctly a Final Fantasy game, but has some interesting ideas with the battle system to feel like its own thing.