Dragon Quest VIII Official Guide PS2 Review

Strategy guides are a bizarre thing. I’ve never really understood bringing out official guides for games like Tomb Raider, Need for Speed, etc. They are usually short games that you can easily get a free guide on the internet to help you play through. Ones I do pay attention to are guides for RPGs. Role Playing Games are one of my favourite genres and are usually varied and stuffed full of things to do. The genre usually includes all sorts of weapons, items, characters, side quests and so on. So when Dragon Quest VIII hit the scene I was offered to check out the new Piggyback Dragon Quest VIII (Actually just called Dragon Quest in Europe) Official Guide.

Just like all other guides, the cover to the Dragon Quest Official Guide is just the cover artwork from the box art. One thing you do notice as you browse through the guide is the beautiful artwork that is contained within, all done by Akira Toriyama (Dragonball, Chrono Trigger.) The guide is stuffed full of Toriyama’s drawings of the characters and villains. This also makes the guide extremely colourful on the eyes.

There are six sections to the guide, not including the index. The first section is “How to Play” which is basically explaining everything you need to know. It explains the controls, exploring buildings, day and night cycle, inventory, attributes and gives you some basic information about combat. The second section is an introduction to the games characters. It gives the reader details on how the characters will level up, their spells, weapons and efficiency in handling them. The third section is all about items. It explains their function and how to get hold of them. Monsters are covered in the fourth section.

The bulk of the guide is section five, the walkthrough. Dragon Quest VIII is a huge game and that calls for an in-depth guide. The guide is really easy to understand, it has clear diagrams of maps which displays where all the items are in the area. The text is clear. Important things like items are highlighted in a red text to make them stand out more. The last section of the guide is all about those lovely secrets. This is kind of split into two sections because the first part is about side quests and mini events. The other part is actually sealed and is called the “Top Secret” section. According to the guide this area is strictly confidential and contains all of the secrets that appear after the end of the main game. Of course I had to dwell in, I mean its top secret right? It’s not supposed to be really kept a secret. Inside it shows off more bosses and side quests.

The level of detail is impressive. The guide contains a bulky 234 pages and is jam packed with stats; also it covers basically everything for the enemies and your comrades. It even tells you what strength you will be when you level up, you can look in advance and see that level 40 will make your strength 123.

What it basically boils down to be is that is the guide worth the R.R.P of £12.99? You can actually find it for £9.99 in a lot of game stores but still is that worth it over a free walkthrough on the internet? Well yeah if you like your guides beautifully coloured with incredible artwork and informative information on pretty much everything in the game. They certainly mean it when Piggyback says “We’ve delivered the 100% complete companion guide”. There’s no slacking off with this king of Dragon Quest Walkthroughs.

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