Generally favorable reviews - based on 63 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 63
  2. Negative: 0 out of 63
Buy On
  1. 90
    To be totally upfront, I haven't played an RPG all year that's had me this excited to see what happens next as Dragon Quest VIII has... even if I could figure out what that "next" was probably going to be.
  2. There are plenty of good reasons for RPG fans to pay attention, too, because Dragon Quest VIII is a beautiful, lighthearted adventure that pairs satisfying, classic-style gameplay with a whole lot of charm.
  3. Game Informer
    Continually baffles the mind with its visuals. [Dec 2005, p.168]
  4. The blend of cel-shading with the more realistic, yet light-hearted, world works really well.
  5. The graphics do an excellent job of immersing us into this fantasy world. Characters are charming, funny, evil and mysterious.
  6. Sure, the story may be a little weak, but that doesn't stop Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King from being among the best, not to mention most polished, role-playing games of the generation. If you’re at all a fan of the genre, don’t miss it.
  7. There's also a powerful shot of nostalgia for folks who grew up on NES "Dragon Warrior," as the menus are patterned after that style - and yet as usable and slick as anything you'll find in an RPG. All told, Dragon Quest VIII is one of those rare games that can be fairly called a masterpiece.
  8. 100
    This game stays truer to its roots than any other currently surviving hit game series from the 80s, and it's all the better for it; it shows us that radical rethinking isn't always the key -- that developers can preserve the look, feel, and soul of a series across decades.
  9. So, the most beautiful world in a game? Perhaps. To look at it’s cohesive, well-formed, has some of the best, most inventive enemy designs ever conceived, and the shimmering draw distance constantly beckons you into it’s hazy good-looking promise.
  10. The core of Dragon Quest VIII is the epitome of elegant design while the aesthetics are nearly unmatched. What it lacks in innovation it makes up for in refinement and delivery, leading to the new king of the old school.
  11. 80
    Granted, the underlying structure of DQ8 is totally derivative and younger gamers may find the pacing too slow, but those with an appreciation of its style will rejoice in what is essentially the culmination of kooky Japanese RPGs.
  12. Games Master UK
    Dragon Quest is absolutely beautiful. [June 2006, p.60]
  13. 95
    The reason I know Dragon Quest VIII is 90 hours long is because that was my time when I finished it. It's that good.
  14. The ultimate descendant of classic console RPGs. It's what all RPGs might be like if Final Fantasy VII hadn't come along and changed everything.
  15. games(TM)
    For the first time in the series’ beleaguered overseas history, the game is going to hook westerners long enough to draw them in past the insane difficulty and into one of the most rewarding, player-loving games of the last decade. [JPN Import; Feb 2005, p.86]
  16. You can’t go wrong with a game that’s got beauty, personality, and fun, and Dragon Quest VIII has all these in abundance.
  17. It proves that placing more attention into the gameplay and taking these few characters on a massive journey can still be appealing to both the hardcore RPG fan and the mainstream gamer, and could spark a flash of imports as players seek out older Dragon Quest titles to play.
  18. Edge Magazine
    To call this style over substance would be grossly inaccurate. The substance is all there – weighty, deep and stretching off 90 hours into the distance. But, unmistakable, it is substance from another time. [Jan 2005, p.78]
  19. 100
    Thanks to careful balancing, rewarding pacing, and an excellent translation, Dragon Quest VIII is one of those rare games that's more than the sum of its parts.
  20. While Dragon Quest VIII is content to leave the furthering of the RPG to other games, it does a brilliant job of bringing the past into the modern era by coupling old-fashioned gameplay with some beautiful art design.
  21. 100
    The ease of play and deep gaming experience are a perfect blend for whiling away far too many hours, and marathon sessions with this game are going to be commonplace. It is just really hard to put down.
  22. Dragon Quest comtinues its tradition of excellence with this perfect blend of strong storytelling, enchanting visuals and solid combat system.
  23. Play Magazine
    DQ8 is the epitome and ultimate maturation of traditional role-playing, nothing more, nothing less. [Nov 2005, p.26]
  24. Pelit (Finland)
    An excellent RPG. The whole is significantly more than the sum of its parts. [May 2006]
  25. Dragon Quest VIII succeeds brilliantly by taking time-tested traditional-RPG gameplay and placing it in a uniquely vast and beautiful world that is a pure joy to explore and inhabit.
  26. DQ8 is so freaking big that it's almost like the dandy RPG fan's answer to "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas." [Dec 2005, p.154]
  27. 85
    Provides exactly what it ought to - a premium J-RPG experience for anyone who has been yearning for a true challenge, a riveting story and a long, satisfying quest.
  28. Dragon Quest VIII's world flows. It moves. It's utterly huge. It reminds one of "Zelda: Ocarina of Time" on a "Grand Theft Auto" scale. It is an adventure. It's possible to get hopelessly lost in mountain paths, or on tributaries in rivers that dissect giant continents with no place to land a boat outside of a shady hidden casino in the rocks. [JPN Import]
  29. The landscape could be considered a character in itself - it rivals the state of San Andreas in size and detail. It's one of the few landscapes where you can look in any direction and realize that the mountain in the distance isn't scenery. [Dec 2005, p.116]
  30. There's nothing particularly new or original about the game, there's not even a distinctive game feature you can put your finger on as a reason to own this game; instead Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King provides a game that is just enjoyable to play due to the attention paid towards its presentation, the cast of the characters and ensuring the gameplay is robust and without fault, if largely unremarkable.
  31. While not terribly original in terms of storytelling, Dragon Quest VIII offers enough variety in presentation and gameplay to make it worth playing, especially if you're fanatic about your Japanese RPGs.
  32. PSM Magazine
    Check it out and experience the wonder Japanese gamers have felt for nearly 20 years. [Feb 2006, p.78]
  33. The game’s presentation is second to none, and serves as a new benchmark for role-playing games in general.
  34. It’s an extremely hard, yet very refreshing RPG that is of the highest quality you can squeeze out of a game like this.
  35. It’s easy enough for complete beginners to pick up and play, and it has more than enough content and depth for hardcore gamers to enjoy. It’s beautiful and engrossing with literally days of gameplay.
  36. One of my favorite games of the year. Great graphics, storyline, characters, gameplay, controls and polish, this is simply a fantastic title. I have not been this addicted to a Dragon Warrior (Quest) game since the original on the NES.
  37. 93
    Dragon Quest VIII may not revolutionize the console RPG genre, but it has done one thing that all the older RPGs have strived to be: it has become the greatest classic RPG experience of all time. [JPN Import]
  38. This was absolutely worth waiting for, and credit must be given to Squenix for releasing a game that bravely sticks to its guns in the face of all these ridiculously complex additions to the formula that Dragon Quest got right all along.
  39. But those willing to give it a chance will find the best role playing GAME -- emphasis on the game part -- they've played in a long time. It might just be enough to make a fan out of you.
  40. Whatever the situation, we can only judge the game as it is now. And one thing is for sure: playing it for the first time is a journey that borders on magical.
  41. 89
    With over fifty hours of gameplay and side questing on top, an engrossing leveling up system including the creation of new items by experimenting in an alchemy pot, and a delightful storyline, Dragon Quest offers too much to be ignored - even if RPGs have never been your bag.
  42. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King isn't like "Final Fantasy" with its over-the-top visual carvings and boundary-pushing gameplay. Here, Dragon Quest VIII is the comfy but less attractive affordable footwear. It's the trim without the finesse. It's the vanilla milkshake without the need of additional toppings.
  43. 95
    Dragon Quest hits every check-mark on the list: it looks and sounds great, plays well, and tells a heart-warming and comical story that is never heavy-handed and is always enjoyable.
  44. The system of character progression is elegantly simple but players still have freedom to choose weapon and magic specialties.
  45. In its elegant simplicity DQVIII comes together as one damn near flawless RPG that exemplifies superb game design, narrative work and presentation all in one sweeping stroke.
  46. Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK
    Looks sensational, plays tightly and lasts like a marathon-running robot. Not for casuals but a hardcore delight. [Apr 2006, p.102]
  47. 80
    The story is compelling, the characters interesting, well developed and likeable, and it’s all gelled together in an environment that rewards the player for exploration, as well as being an enjoyable experience just to roam about and take in the countryside.
  48. 80
    Gamers who are seeking a more modern RPG, possibly darker and a more mature western-style storyline may not really find Dragon Quest VIII to their taste; the whole game may be a little too cute for their liking.
  49. There's nothing especially original in Dragon's old-fashioned gameplay, but it does it all beautifully.
  50. It all boils down to the extremely high quality and production values of this title. The gameplay IS a bit old-school and the story isn’t extremely intricate, but that’s part of the magic to behold. Don’t let anything turn you away from trying out Square Enix’s latest blockbuster.
  51. It features great old-school RPG gaming, a cool graphic style, nice sceneries are times and it’s just plain fun to play.
  52. A very compelling game to play and one of the few titles I will continue playing long after reviewing. In fact, that is exactly what I am going to do right now.
  53. Few old school series get such a great modernization like this. Considering the game easily clocks in well over 50 hours, any RPG fan will get their money's worth.
  54. Just an extremely enjoyable, beautiful, nostalgic, and engaging RPG for the PlayStation 2. This charming, atmospheric RPG is not to be missed.
  55. It's a huge, old-fashioned monster of a game, which both makes the game work and provides a fair bit of frustration. However, none of that can really deny how much fun the game can be when it's really on top of things.
  56. Weekly Famitsu
    10 / 9 / 10 / 10 - 39 platinum [Dec 2004]
  57. It's full of numerous, wonderful touches you'll remember long after the game's end - a cheeky little devil's Sultry Dance attack, which cause your party members to dance uncontrollably; the way the blue slimes do deadpan better than Bill Murray; even the way saving your game requires a trip to the church to confess.
  58. Dragon Quest VIII is bound to polarize RPG gamers. Veterans will appreciate Dragon Quest VIII’s challenge, excellent localization and emphasis on exploration. However, compared to most modern RPGs the story is a mere skeleton and the battle system is primitive. [JPN Import]
  59. PSM2 Magazine UK
    An absolutely massive game world, an amazing soundtrack, gorgeous visuals, and some of the best RPG combat we've ever tussled with. Social Life? What's that? [May 2006, p.60]

Awards & Rankings

#10 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2005
#5 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2005
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 277 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 277
  1. Oct 30, 2010
    This game is aThis game is a masterpiece!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Full Review »
  2. ChrisW.
    Dec 6, 2005
    It is an awesome game. It's the most fun rpg I've ever played. The music brings the game to life. I have the music stuck in my head It is an awesome game. It's the most fun rpg I've ever played. The music brings the game to life. I have the music stuck in my head because its so awesome. It's the best Square Enix game yet! Full Review »
  3. GrayF.
    Nov 16, 2005
    never had this much fun in YEARS...