Right now, I’m only concentrating on a handful of videogames while I wait for the remainder of 2012 to fill in. Namely, these babies: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked, The Sword of Hope II, Metroid Fusion, and Borderlands. And, strangely, we can add…Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King to the list. Yeah, that one Level-5 RPG from way back in the day, circa 2005. Let me explain.
Well, as readers of Grinding Down already know from yesterday’s post, I’ve been immersing myself in another PlayStation 2 RPG via the Persona 4 Endurance Run over at Giant Bomb. This has been a constant reminder of the numerous great RPG/JRPGs that live on that system, many of which I still need to play some more or even ultimately finish. I won’t name them all just now–lucky you–but DQVIII, a game that I ate up like endless bowls of shrimp-flavored Ramen during my first few months in a new, Internet-less apartment in Clifton, NJ, suddenly called back to me. Like a sailor to a siren, and I went wide-eyed and mumbling, not sure what was to unfold.
Loading up my last save from six or seven years ago was downright disorienting. I mean, yeah, there was some immediate familiarity thanks to the 150+ hours I’ve dumped into Dragon Quest IX, opening back up in a church to that unchanging churchy tunes, with Akira Toriyama’s art style bright and clear and a colorful world as far as the silent hero’s eyes could see. My quiet guy’s name is Taurust_ with a bonus blank space at the end because I remember not knowing then what the confirm button was and accidentally adding an empty space at the end. Oh wells. It’s not like I played the game for that lo…oh wait, my save slot says 82 hours. Dang it.
And throwing caution to the wind, I immediately went to the spot where I guess I last stopped at, and that place involved a boss battle fight with an evil winged dog named Sir Leopold. Hmm…yeah. If there’s one thing I struggle with remembering about Dragon Quest VIII, it’s the story stuff. I mean, I know that I’m a mute, and that the king is Yoda, and the horse is his daughter, and that fat dude has a funny accent, but that’s really it. It might be beneficial to read a wiki or even the back of the box at some point, but whatever–fight turn-based style first, ask questions second. Except no, that didn’t work out. Sir Leopold wiped the floor with my team of four, and we woke anew back at a church with half our money gone.
So I’ve been wandering a bit and re-learning the ins and outs of the world, as well as the menus and other systems at play (casino, monster team, mini medals, item creation, and so on). I completely forgot I could summon a sabertooth tiger to ride. I’ve grinded a little bit, raising all four team members up a single level, so that’s good, but probably not good enough to take on Sir Leopold again just yet. I think I need better armor and weapons first, but to get those…I need gold, and I need a lot of it. Trying to see if I can earn a decent amount with casino BINGO, but that probably is a super slow process.
But I’m okay with dipping back into Dragon Quest VIII, even if it’s only to grind a bit and ultimately get nowhere. That Sir Leopold boss fight seems nearly impossible from where I stand, and it’s not even the final fight of the game. Not sure. I’d love to see how it all ends, considering I definitely wanted to see how it ended back in 2005, but somehow got distracted with shiny things like Final Fantasy XII and Rogue Galaxy. The music is, no surprise, gorgeous, and the battle system remains simple yet addicting. Unlike IX, you do not get to see what skill you’ll get when leveling up and assigning points, which is frustrating, but definitely keeps you guessing and crossing your fingers for something stellar. Between these two games, I’ve collectively used up over 250 hours of my life. Blimey, gov!