Whoa! That looks incredibly realistic.
In a move commensurate with a game that has reportedly shipped forty million copies in Japan, Sony is showing off Dragon Quest VIII in style. Each of the console booths was decked out with a customized PS2 controller, shaped like a slime. The demo started in a field area and proceeded into a waterfall cave, where the monsters got considerably tougher.
Dragon Quest VIII is standard Dragon Quest action, and the venerable series really hasn't changed much over the year, so the battle system doesn't really require much explanation. What has changed is that the action menu has finally gone and joined the rest of the dinosaurs, meaning that things like opening chests have become mercifully simple. Based upon the waterfall cave, dungeon maps are now a part of the action too, although these require viewing a submenu to access.
The biggest difference between Dragon Quest VIII and its predecessors is its look, which is nothing short of amazing. Or at least, it would have been had it not been displayed on an HDTV, which was most unflattering to graphics that would have looked excellent on a lower resolution screen. The anime-styled characters are great fun to look at, and many of the monsters have quirky animations that add to the game's charm.
Don't go chasing waterfalls...
The item system remains similar to previous installments, with each character having personal inventory and a bag holding surplus items. Equipping characters is fairly easy, but the system is somewhat cumbersome for a modern RPG. Nevertheless, with all the other interface improvements that have taken place, it is a relatively minor complaint.
Dragon Quest is a crowd-pleaser and is sure to please when it arrives in North America later this year. I am officially now looking forward to this title.