Western gamers might not know it, but DRAGON QUEST VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is one of the most important titles in gaming history. The original Dragon Quest game, released in 1986, is the wellspring from which pretty much all other Japanese role-playing games are drawn. A new entry in the series is worthy of attention from the mainstream press in Japan, and Journey of the Cursed King was the best selling PlayStation 2 game of all time thanks to its popularity. And yet, when the game made it to Western audiences on its original platform it failed to make a splash. So, for JRPG fans this 3DS update to the game is an opportunity to connect with a lost piece of gaming's history, brought up to date for modern audiences.
The story begins with a jester, Dhoulmagus, coming to Castle Trodain and stealing the king's sceptre. He uses its power to transform the king into a troll, the princess into a horse and the rest of the castle inhabitants into plants. Only a single guard manages to escape, and it's up to him to travel the lands, recruit allies and end Dhoulmagus's trail of destruction.
Dragon Quest's style couldn't be much further from the angst of the Final Fantasy series, and much of its joy comes from interacting with the charming characters you'll meet and interact with on your journey, and new playable characters are among the upgrades to this 3DS release. Players will also find various tweaks to make it more mobile friendly, as well as brand new story content.
For Dragon Quest veterans and newcomers alike, Journey of the Cursed King on 3DS is a chance to revisit a classic.