Dragon Quest: Journey Of The Cursed King Review

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Japan's best-kept secret finally makes it over here


Whenever a new Dragon Quest game is released in Japan, fans will happily queue throughout the night to get their hands on a copy; not because it’ll sell out, but because they can’t wait to get stuck into the next instalment of this epic role-player. But while the West has until now been ignorant of the series’ scope and charm, Journey Of The Cursed King could be the adventure that brings Dragon Quest to the global audience it deserves.

Following pretty much the same routine as previous instalments, Dragon Quest ups the ante by recreating the series’ classic monsters and lush fantasy worlds in glorious 3D for the first time, while the new ‘tension gauge’ that allows you to charge attacks - and streamlined roster of abilities that each play an important role in the game - add extra depth for gamers already converted by this Far Eastern phenomenon.

But what really impresses is the game’s superb presentation, with unforgettable characters designed by Dragon Ball Z artist, Akira Toriyama, a sprawling, vibrant game world full of detail and beauty, and robust voice acting that adds gravity to the quest in hand and helps bring the colourful characters to life.

A traditional RPG that takes the familiar formula and updates it for a new audience, Dragon Quest VIII will delight fans of Zelda and Final Fantasy and is sure to be a contender for 2006’s most engaging old-school romp.