Dragon Quest VIII was released 10 years ago on the PlayStation 2 console to thundering reviews. DQ8 was the epic tale of an unnamed guard trying to restore the king and princess from his castle after they were transformed into a troll and a horse respectively. The game was massive and boasted over 72 hours of gameplay along with over a hundred if you completed it 100%. Needless to say Dragon Quest VIII was a masterpiece among the Dragon Quest series.
Eight years after it’s initial release the developers at Square Enix decided to port the game on Android and iOS. This was met with another warm reception from gamers as the game holds a 4.5 star rating in the Google Play store (and a 4 in the iOS market). However, the port does not run as well as it did on the PlayStation 2. On the PlayStation 2 Dragon Quest VIII ran at a consistently steady framerate without any noticeable lag. But, on the phones the framerate struggles to maintain a steady pace at 20 FPS. What does this mean for the players? Well for starters, the game in spite of it’s overall sharper image will never surpass the original. Looking around and trying to switch the camera from position makes the game jump and creates havoc.
If the player tries to circle around the player character they will notice jumps in movement. Turning the camera around is not the only issue as Dragon Quest VIII is also hard to control. Yes, movement is control by a virtual pad on the already tiny screen. You mix this in with the fact that the game has noticeable lag and it can be rather detrimental to the experience. Worst, yet is the fact that Dragon QuestVIII can’t be run properly on even the Samsung Galaxy S7. Which tells consumers that not only have they patched the framerate issue in two years after release. It means that even newer systems can’t run it properly.
Dragon Quest VIII is poorly optimized for the system it’s been released on. This is an unsettling trend that has been happening lately in ports of older console games. Despite our advances in technology it seems that porting technology is still not as effective as it should be. But, as with many other cases the amount of copies sold on the market will ensure this situation continues. However, if you haven’t experienced DQ8 in the PlayStation the game is still worth the price of admission. The Story and controls during battle are simple and will provide no problems during gameplay. Plus DQ8 provides many hours of entertainment for its cost.
A solid entry into the Dragon Quest series, DQ8 will remain a fan favorite for years to come. But, if you’re going to purchase it, I’ll always recommend the PS2 version over the Android/iOS one.