Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King Official Strategy Guide

Posted by staff | Posted in Strategy | Posted on 06-07-2010


Product Description
BradyGames’ Dragon Quest VIII Official Strategy Guide includes the following: A walkthrough highlighting various aspects of the gameplay. Detailed maps of every region. Thorough coverage of all characters, spells, skills and items. Expert boss strategies to defeat even the toughest boss monster, and ultimately Dhoulmagus. In-depth bestiary of all monsters. Signature Series guide includes an exclusive poster, bonus content and more! Platform: P… More >>

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King Official Strategy Guide

Comments posted (5)

This strategy guide is strange. It offers maps, details locations of some (key word being “some”) treasures, has a listing of the monsters, weapons, and abilities. It has a section dedicated to side-quests, one dedicated to the characters and their progression through the game, and a tutorial chapter that’s standard in all strategy guides. The strange part, though, comes when you get to the walk-through. It describes very little, and has little hints like “items appear after certain events,” yet doesn’t tell you what event that is. It even leaves out boss fight sections, a norm in every RPG strategy guide. I was stunned when the first boss battle appeared and found it wasn’t in the guide. Some would say this is good as it doesn’t spoil the surprises, but I disagree. A book can be detailed and still leave out all those spoiling elements.

Now, I’m a lover of strategy guides for one reason. I don’t have a lot of time to play video games and strategy guides get me from point A to point Z without missing much along the way. Replay value means nothing to me, yet it bugs me when I know I haven’t achieved everything the game has to offer. This strategy guide, however, seems to want you to play through the game again, to discover everything without its help. It’s sort of a mentor; it shows you the many right ways but doesn’t say which is best.

Despite all of that, though, the guide does help in one aspect. It has maps, and for anyone who knows Dragon Quest, maps are very important. It’s easy to get lost in the Dragon Quest games, and a nice little map to guide us away from confusion helps immensely. Another great section is the item section, which details how to make every weapon or piece of armor in the Alchemy Pot.

Instead of recommendations, I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons so that you can decide if the positives out-way the negatives:

+Detailed character section to help guide your characters progression through the game

+Appendixes of weapons, armors, items, and abilities, as well as monster lists and and “Infamous Monster” section

+Maps of the world and dungeons

+A section for side-quests

-A tutorial section of game basics that can be found in the handbook provided with the game

-Vaguely detailed in the walk-through

-Doesn’t always provide item locations

(ADDED)-Doesn’t provide any info for the last section of the game, including leading up to the final boss fight and the extra quest
Rating: 3 / 5

“An atlas is a bound collection of maps supplementary illustrations and analysis,” remarks the Brady Games staff in the introduction to this guide. This is, if you couldn’t guess, an experiment. And while I’m giving this three stars (for reasons I’ll explain) I must agree one-hundred percent with those who gave it one or two stars. If you’re picking up this guide to actually help you get through the game, you’re looking in the wrong place. If however, you’re interested in all the extras, you may actually get a use out of this guide.

Let’s start with the good. Everything outside the “atlas” section of this guide (which is the walkthrough) is good. Excellent explanation of characters, sidequests and very detailed items list.

The game basics section, which is basically an instruction manual, is good. It helps you clearly understand the gameplay components. If something is confusing you in the instruction booklet, it’ll be here. Fine and dandy, no doubt.

The characters section is also very well done. Each character has a profile and then a complete list of all their spells, skills, beginning stats etc. If you’re looking for the best way to use your skill points, this guide can help.

Likewise, the items and abilities list is also very detailed. So is the weapon and armor lists. Aside from those little things, the monster arena is explained very well, and the bestiary is very good too. Even the sidequests have great explanations.

Now why didn’t those explanations find their place in the walkthrough? Because Brady Games decided to make what should’ve been the walkthrough an “atlas”. Meaning, it’s got virtually nothing but maps. This, they claim, is to keep from spoiling all the suspense and plot elements of the game. I don’t know about you, but lately I haven’t had a problem with BradyGAMES spoiling anything in their guides. After the disaster of their FFIX guide, they seem to be doing a good job in concealing plot twist and leading us through the game in a respectable fashion. Basically, they’re trying too hard NOT to spoil the plot that the solution seems to be… don’t give people a walkthrough at all! These maps are gorgeous, and they even point out things you should do in dungeons, the problem is they don’t EXPLAIN anything!

There’s more crimes to this. You don’t know what to do in the town at all. They constantly tell you to listen to what it says in the game. Yes, that’s fine and dandy and all… and Dragon Quest VIII is by no means a hard game, but the reason I grabbed the guide in the first place was to get a leg up on the main quest without constantly having to talk to characters over and over. So that when I got stuck, I could know what to do. You will not get that kind of help from this guide. Are you lost? The maps will help, but what about if you’re just not sure of your objective? Or you forget. The guide doesn’t help there.

The next crime, where are the boss strategies? They don’t exist in the atlas. Not even a boss guide in the back. Trust me, if I’d known the walkthrough was that terrible, I would have certainly been willing to flip to the back for a boss guide.

Somehow, however, I let the guide slide with three stars. And as I said, I’d explain. The walkthrough/atlas is terrible, but everything outside of it is beautiful. The sidequests are explained in depth, the monster arena section is gorgeous and the maps are beautiful. Basically, as I stated before, everything outside this walkthrough is beautiful. And for that, the guide hits high, and gets some of my respect.

The problem is, the part that the guide is supposed to… you know, GUIDE you on, is too vague. Gorgeous maps don’t explain what to do at certain parts.

A strategy guide is supposed to include strategy. This is by far the worst BradyGAMES guide since the dreadful Final Fantasy IX guide. At least we’re not referred to a website, but this guide could’ve certainly been better. This is not what I like to see from BradyGAMES. Not at all.

The Good

+Pretty much everything outside walkthrough

The Bad

-Because of how bad the walkthrough is, I can’t honestly recommend anyone actually buy this guide. It’s helpful for all those extras but in actually completing the main quest, the walkthrough is terrible and doesn’t deserve your money. Hold on to your money, and save it for something else.

An actual strategy guide, perhaps.
Rating: 3 / 5

When is a strategy guide not a strategy guide? When it becomes a souvenir. This isn’t the first time I’ve bought a thick, well printed guide and found that, for all the pretty pictures and catalogs of monsters, it really wasn’t all that helpful. Perhaps this is because 80% of my rating for any guide is quality of walkthrough and extent and utility of maps. The remaining 20% is readability, and this guide suffers in all three categories.

The book is erratic. Sometimes there are good place maps and sometimes there aren’t. The big foldout maps don’t always follow the in-game maps, which means that things aren’t always where you expect them to be. And putting all the foldout maps on one large foldout is an invitation to torn pages. And yet, there are a lot of maps. Sometimes with annotation and sometimes not.

For some reason, the Bradygames team opted to take a walkthrough, edit anything out that is more than a vague hint, and then present the bits of information left in as out of order a fashion as possible. Fortunately Dragon Quest VIII is a kind game. It’s hard to mess up the game by doing something out of order, but I find it frustrating when something that should be straightforward doesn’t make sense for hours.

Most of this is really about why you buy a guide in the first place. At almost half the price of the game, I expect my guide to provide answers when I need them, although I appreciate the publisher’s reluctance to put spoilers in plain sight, they should be there somewhere. And for all the infinite variety of monsters in DQ8 this isn’t a game where you need an extensive bestiary. Especially when there is nary a hint of how to fight major battles.

Hence my three-star rating. This is OK as a reference tool, but if you want a real guide you are better off with the on-line walkthroughs. Especially if you are trying to fight some of the less obvious boss battles. This is a shame, because Bradygames’ guides represent a huge amount of publication effort.
Rating: 3 / 5

This is the worst walkthrough I have ever purchased. Whereas past Bradygames walkthroughs had detailed maps, directions, instructions, and facts related to the game, the Dragon Quest 8 walkthrough just lays out a very, very sparse overview of each area and character without going into any other detail. For instance, the maps tell you what items you may find around town—but it doesn’t tell you WHERE they are! It doesn’t even tell you where you’ll be attacked by a boss, or even the boss stats. Also, in the “Infamous Monsters” section, the names of the enemies in the index do not match with corresponding area pictures. So, in Farebury, you’ll encounter an Axoraptor, but in the index it’s called a different name. Very confusing. And the maps themselves are so small they’re practically useless. There is very little text on the pages, so don’t expect to be pointed in the right direction. Most likely all you’ll find is the author suggesting that you talk to all the townspeople to find out what to do next. Forget it! Just save your money and play the old-fashioned way. You’re not missing out on anything by buying this walkthrough.
Rating: 2 / 5

I am a big fan of strategy guides for the simple fact that I enjoy playing a game one time through and getting the most out of it, replay generally means nothing to me. This guide doesn’t give any strategy to enemy/boss battles. Even in the bestiary some of the bosses aren’t listed in order not to spoil the story. The maps are decent and will provide chest location but will not actually tell you what is in the chest, it’s up to you to figure out. Some detail is given to how to distribute skill points. I can see where the authors of this guide were going, but as a strategy guide it fails horribly. Perhaps they should have looked towards the Shadow of the Colossus guide for direction; that guide is able to balance simple direction and full disclosure. I highly recommend not to spend your money on this guide, instead use the Internet to search for a proper strategy guide.
Rating: 1 / 5

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