Dragon Quest VIII Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Dragon Quest VIII RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network How Gameplay Can Be Used to Shape A Game's Narrative https://www.gameskinny.com/kb7gm/how-gameplay-can-be-used-to-shape-a-games-narrative https://www.gameskinny.com/kb7gm/how-gameplay-can-be-used-to-shape-a-games-narrative Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:00:02 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

Many games have a disconnect between what happens when you're playing and what happens during cut scenes. At its worst, scenarios exist where one second you're an invincible killing machine and the next you're a fragile weakling that could be bested by the most basic adversaries. We've all had those moments where we turn the other cheek in order to rectify these differences in our mind.

A very salient instance from my childhood was returning to the ruins of Trodain Castle in Dragon Quest VIII, and the main entrance was barricaded by large vines as thick as trees. Instead of looking for another path, my fireball wielding team mate, Jessica, steps up and quickly burns these vines away. Despite the story showing that she can destroy these vines, the inside of the castle is full of unexplorable pathways thanks to the vines blocking the way.

Similarly, if you followed the logic of Borderlands’ mechanics, then any character should almost instantly be brought back to life when they die because of the New U stations.

Okay, the vines weren't as thick as trees. Give me a break; I was twelve!

The dissonance between mechanics and story is not necessarily a catastrophic thing. Both Borderlands 2 and Dragon Quest VIII are easily in my top 5 favorite games of all time. However, while DQ8 merely bothers me because a dungeon is made illogically, major plot points have the wind taken out of their sails in Borderlands 2 because of this (Even though it's sort of inevitable when you canonically make your respawn system based around an instant cloning device).

Shooters often suffer heavily from this dissonance. It's hard to believe a cutscene that shows a character dying from a gunshot wound when your invincible ally absorbed dozens of bullets in the preceding fire fight.

Even The Last of Us, which is hailed as having one of the greatest stories in video games, features an AI companion invisible and invincible during combat encounters. 

The recent Tomb Raider Reboots suffer from this dissonance to an extreme degree. One moment Lara is making insane jumps, shooting foes, taking bullets, and just generally being a badass. The next, a QTE asks you to take cauterizing a small wound seriously, despite having taken dozens of shotgun blasts earlier. You can’t heal from bullet wounds in seconds during gameplay while being vulnerable during cut scenes and expect your storytelling to carry full effect.

I promise you don't have to cauterize every single bullet wound.

That’s where Pharmakon enters stage left.

This indie strategy title uses its mechanics in multiple ways to sell its story and build its world. The first example is how the game handles its enemies. 5 different types of elemental beasts appear in 5 distinct kingdoms, each of which is built around the supposed dominance of their particular element. The kingdoms hunt down and exterminate these beasts, and devote a large amount of their existence to exterminating them. It's accepted that they're a threat and they are always hastily dealt with when encountered.

But see, here’s the thing -- while the game tells you that these beasts are a threat, they're not actually all that violent. Unlike enemies in almost any other game I’ve ever played, these foes will not actually attack you unless provoked. They only counterattack, or when they become infuriated by you knocking other enemies into them.

Whether they realize, or simply refuse to admit that the beasts are docile, isn’t ever alluded to. But that’s not important. What is important is what it says about a society willing to compete to fight a threat more perceived than existent. Pharmakon’s countries seem to have built their identities around facing off against these beasts. You could say I'm reading too much into this, but when I asked the game’s developer about it, he confirmed what I thought, adding:

"The Elemental Beasts are punching bags in which factions see one another."- Visumeca Games

The whole thing is reminiscent of North Korea. The government tells their people that they're at constant war with the western world to fuel patriotism and reduce upheaval, despite the country’s high poverty rate and poor human rights record. One can only imagine what sorts of secrets the governments of Pharmakon is hiding away from their own people.

Another great example of the game’s mechanics selling its story is your ambiguous, almost entirely anonymous avatar. You play as an agent of one of the 5 nations in its world, but you don’t choose your nation. Instead, it's randomized when you start the game and every time you die afterward.

Upon death, you're informed that you are no longer useful, and a new agent will be assigned to your mission. You see, you're not actually playing as just one agent, but as a series of agents. You're not a chosen one, you play as all the unfortunate dredges that were unlucky enough to be sent on this mission -- one after the other until one is finally successful. You play as metaphorical generations building on top of their ancestor’s backs.

It feels believable that anyone could get dragged into this. Much like when you see a crash in front of you and know if you were going a little faster, you would be the one in a crumpled up ball of steel and plexiglass. It could be anyone.

 "Abandon him and send a new agent."

I would argue that, in a lot of ways, mechanics do help build their worlds in ways that we don’t pay attention to. For instance, in Borderlands, getting loot is an integral part of the core gameplay, but it's also a huge motivation for every character in its universe. While the playable characters are mostly blank faces, it's hard to imagine a version of Pandora where they would be satisfied with the vault if it only contained gold and jewels but no wicked guns.

In a lot of ways, when mechanics compliment a game’s story it goes unnoticed, and when they actually conflict with the game’s narrative we choose to ignore it. Since this is so common, we really don’t have a lot more choice; we have become desensitized to it, or perhaps we were never sensitized to it in the first place.

That being said, the power of mechanics as a narrative device is undeniable. Pharmakon is an indie title made by a one man team with a very minimalistic approach to storytelling. If it weren’t for the mechanics helping do so much of the heavy lifting, the whole narrative would have lacked the weight it had. But it’s more than that. A game can be good and its story engaging when its mechanics conflict with its world. But to be truly great in this interactive medium, you need to blur the lines between the rules of mechanics and the worlds these systems exist within.

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3 Great Square Enix JRPGs Already Available on Android https://www.gameskinny.com/bp8ka/3-great-square-enix-jrpgs-already-available-on-android https://www.gameskinny.com/bp8ka/3-great-square-enix-jrpgs-already-available-on-android Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Erroll Maas

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There you have it, three great JRPGs currently available on Android mobile devices.

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There are plenty of other JRPGs on Android, both by Square Enix and other developers. The three on this list are just some of the more notable games in the genre. While it's true these games are on other consoles, not all of those versions are as easily accessible as these Android ports.

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If you'd like to learn about three great JRPG games coming to Android devices soon, then check out our list here.

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The World Ends With You

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This unique touch control JRPG was originally released in 2008 for the Nintendo DS, was developed by Jupiter and Square Enix, and published by the latter.

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The World Ends With You -- or TWEWY as it's called by some fans-- is set in modern day Tokyo district of Shibuya, similar to Persona 5.

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In The World Ends With You, you play as loner teenager, Neku Sakuraba, as he and other characters he meets unwillingly participate in a game which will determine if they live or die. 

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The gameplay of The World Ends With You uses the touchscreen to move and attack, with different swiping movements allowing different types of attacks.

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The World Ends with You also features a familiar art style by Final Fantasy artist and Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura. Some characters from The World Ends With You even make an appearance in the game Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

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Buy it on Google Play.

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Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

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In Dragon Quest VIII, you play as a young soldier who embarks on a journey to destroy an ancient powerful item which has fallen into the wrong hands, with an interesting cast of characters joining you on the way.

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One characteristic which makes Dragon Quest 8 stand out among previous games in the series is that some enemy monsters can be recruited, assist you and your party in battle, and participate in tournaments at the monster arena --similar to the Dragon Quest Monsters spin-off series.

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The Android port of Dragon Quest 8 features streamlined controls, which can easily be adjusted for either more simplistic or more complex gameplay.

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Buy it on Google Play.

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Final Fantasy IX

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The story of Final Fantasy IX follows monkey-boy thief Zidane and his friends on their adventures throughout the world of Gaia while learning about themselves as well as a malevolent evil force along the way.

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Final Fantasy IX features turn based combat and the Active Time Battle system introduced in Final Fantasy IV, in which there is a time gauge and enemies can attack or be attacked at any time.

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The android port of the ninth game in the Final Fantasy franchise comes straight from the PC version of the game and as such, it includes the same additional features such as achievements, seven different game boosters including high speed and no encounter modes, and an autosave function.

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Buy it on Google Play.

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JRPG fans typically don't play games in the genre on their phones. JRPGs are typically the realm of the console world. Despite this, the Google Play Store already has quite a hefty number of JRPGs available for mobile gaming, with a large majority of them being exclusives or ports of older games published by Square Enix.

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Square Enix has a history of making beloved JRPG series and games, such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Chrono Trigger, and has released these games on plenty of different consoles over the years. Now that smartphone technology is able to handle more JRPG's from Square Enix's library, it makes sense that they would be porting more games to mobile devices.

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Here are three of the best Square Enix JRPGs currently available on Android mobile devices.

"}]]]>
JRPGs Aren't In Decline... It's Just Square Enix's Offerings That Are https://www.gameskinny.com/g0j1j/jrpgs-arent-in-decline-its-just-square-enixs-offerings-that-are https://www.gameskinny.com/g0j1j/jrpgs-arent-in-decline-its-just-square-enixs-offerings-that-are Tue, 28 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Kris Cornelisse (Delfeir)

The JRPG genre rose to prominence almost entirely off the backs of two notable game development companies; Squaresoft and Enix. Responsible for bringing us the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series respectively, a huge amount of the most notable RPGs (and a number of less notable or unlocalized games besides) were created or published by these two developers.

Prior to the release of the PlayStation, you would be hard pressed to find a JRPG released in English-speaking territories that didn’t brandish either the Squaresoft or Enix logos. There are exceptions of course, notably on Sega systems -- I’d be loathe to ignore Phantasy Star or the Shining series -- but many would be unlikely to name those at first if asked for a JRPG series title.

More companies would start to join in the JRPG market throughout the PlayStation era, such as Konami or Monolith Soft, and the market quickly saw a boom of new titles that would continue well into the late PS2 era. But all throughout, many walked in the shadow of these two giants, or owed their continued existence to Squaresoft publishing for them. Every Suikoden or Xenosaga that was released would still never be held to the general pedestal that games such as Final Fantasy VII or Chrono Trigger stood upon.

Then, in 2003, the unthinkable happened: Squaresoft and Enix joined forces, merging into Square Enix and remaining as such to the present day.

One would think such a monumental occasion would change the landscape of JRPGs forever, and Square Enix would catapult themselves even higher to the top echelons of developers unopposed.

Did that happen? Nope. Not even close.

If anything, the vast majority of offerings in the JRPG genre since then by the company have been... well, questionable. In fact, I’d argue that since the merger, there have been almost zero titles from them to match their respective high points while separate. There was even a stretch of time where the vast majority of games from Square Enix weren’t JRPGs, almost as if they’d abandoned the genre entirely.

Does that mean that the JRPG has since died out, then? Nope. Not even close.

Despite some inklings that JRPGs are lacking in innovation or have declined in quality, the genre continues to see numerous excellent titles released from a range of companies.

Innovations and developments continue to be made, yet the core of the genre remains present, and many classic elements are still revisited in new and interesting ways. Thanks to the increased size of the gaming market in recent generations, more and more games of all genres are being made by companies new and old -- and JRPGs are no exception.

No, dear readers, it is not the JRPG that has fallen into disarray -- it is merely Square Enix’s offerings to the genre that are in serious need of improvement. Let’s dive deeper.

Classical History

Since Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are the classic series most are acquainted with, we’ll start with those. For those familiar with the respective series, I offer a question: Which of the numbered games in those series was your favorite?

(Yes, Final Fantasy Tactics and Dragon Quest Monsters were great, but humour me here and pick a number.)

Were I to survey or inquire the answers to that question, I think you’ll find that the vast majority of people offering favorite Final Fantasy titles will say somewhere between VI and IX, with occasional outliers between IV and X. Dragon Quest is most likely to be a toss up between V and VIII, though any between III and VIII could also be selected. Does this sound about right?

How many of these particular titles were released prior to the merger of Squaresoft and Enix, though? Excluding Dragon Quest VIII, all of them.

The first numbered non-MMORPG Final Fantasy game to be released under the merged banner was XII. While reasonably well received, it had a lot of mixed opinions on it, and it’s rare to find people who would hands-down consider it their favorite. Since then, we had XIII and its sequels, and while there are occasional defenders or proponents of parts of those games, the overall opinion is that they were a massive misstep.

Not convinced? How about XIV, also an MMO? Well, on release, the game was universally panned and responses were massively negative, so much so that Square Enix had to bring down the game and rebuild it entirely from the ground up with a new team. A Realm Reborn turned out to be quite good, but we cannot ignore that initial disaster; Square Enix is quite possibly the only company in gaming history to salvage a game like that, and most others would simply consider the expenditure too great and cut their investment right there.

Last chance, then... FFXV? Well... I could write many, many things about FFXV, and there’d be plenty of negatives in there to talk about. There’s decent gameplay, but the story is an utter mess and the open world is graphically pretty but largely devoid of things to do. It’s a flawed and unfinished game, regardless of whatever positives you might take away from it.

Now for Dragon Quest, almost all of which were developed prior to the merger. The first to be released under the Square Enix banner was Dragon Quest VIII, which would be the best offering but for one catch: it was actually developed by Level 5, rather than a studio within Square Enix.

Lest we think that it’s just their flagship RPG series effected, let’s try another example: Star Ocean, created by Tri-Ace and Enix before transferring to Square Enix. With five major games in the series, it’s widely regarded that the first three are considerably stronger than the latest offerings. Guess what? Star Ocean 3: Till the End of Time was released shortly before the merger. Compare most of the RPG series released by Square Enix and similar trends will be evident.

What about Kingdom Hearts, I hear some people asking? That is something I will concede as breaking the trend, but only in part. The first game was released before the merger, but Kingdom Hearts 2 was some time after, and it was received quite strongly.

But as a whole, I would say that the series is still hardly an exception to Square Enix’s declining offerings to the JRPG genre. While it does have good games, it’s also had some pretty weak ones as well. In addition, it seems like the company is doing everything in their power to hold off releasing Kingdom Hearts 3, with countless remasters adding tiny little details and padding out anything they can.

People bought PS3s under the assumption that it would be on it, after all...

So what happened? Well, if anything, the merger saw Square Enix become more of a publisher than an in-house developer. A massive number of games from a large number of companies worldwide are published under the Square Enix banner. This initially focused more on JRPGs, but has grown to include many varied genres and notable series, including Tomb Raider, Just Cause and Deus Ex.

An epic quest in the palm of your hand

If there was a decline in the number and quality of JRPGs available, it would probably fall within the previous console generation. Many are quick to highlight the number of quality RPGs available for the PS2 -- and earlier consoles -- but you’d be reaching a little further to list an equivalent number of solid PS3 or Xbox 360 titles.

But that’s not to say that they weren’t there; rather, they were to be found on handheld gaming systems. With the rising costs of quality game development, many smaller developers turned to the DS or PSP, as well as their successors, to develop their RPGs.

Square Enix was no stranger to this trend as well. Two of their most successful JRPGs released since their merger -- The World Ends With You, and Bravely Default -- were released on handheld systems. Dragon Quest made the switch to DS with the release of IX, and the upcoming DQXI is slated to arrive on 3DS and PS4.

Those who considered there to be a dearth of quality JRPGs were probably focused more on home consoles, but the genre has been alive and well in a portable form throughout.

Admittedly, many larger JRPG series fell dormant during this time period from other companies as well. While there was a spinoff Suikoden game on DS, no numbered title has been released since V on the PS2; the same can be said of Breath of Fire.

Which leads into the next point: many JRPG series are actually seeing new titles and rebirth on smartphones. Unfortunately, many of these are little more than name drops in order to attract a quick dollar, even by notable companies -- anyone who says Breath of Fire VI is worthy of that number is, I’d argue, completely delusional.

Failing that, they often are freemium Gachapon games with minimal gameplay and little more than a theme connected to the series in order to lure fans. Even Nintendo has started to fall into this trend; Fire Emblem Heroes fits this bill to a tee, though in its defence, it is of considerably higher quality and has stronger gameplay than many other alternatives.

However, despite my cynicism and the existence of some blatant cash grabs, there are admittedly more and more JRPGs being developed for smartphones that are actually worthy of attention. Are they quality enough to compare to games on other systems? Your mileage will probably vary on that, but there are certainly some that are worthy of attention, such as the recently released Dandy Dungeon.

Square Enix has been quick to jump onto this mobile bandwagon, too. The number of freemium titles they have is quite frankly excessive, but there are a whole slew of their titles available on smartphones that range from ports of classic Final Fantasy games to wholly original titles or remakes. They’re often extremely pricey compared to the wealth of cheap competitors on systems, but a handful of them are arguably quality enough to justify a purchase.

The point is that the JRPG is (and has always been) alive and well on handhelds and mobile, even if not on home consoles. But it’s not as though the consoles have been bereft of quality titles, either.

Square Enix aren’t the only JRPG developers

With all the money and attention that Square Enix receives, it’s understandable that their projects are the ones in the limelight -- that’s AAA gaming in a nutshell. They are effectively the JRPG developing and publishing equivalent of Electronic Arts or Activision Blizzard for first-person shooters.

But a big budget and high profile isn’t necessary for making quality games, as the growing indie scene can rightfully attest to. It’s not uncommon for some great JRPGs to emerge on PC from relatively unheard of developers; Zeboyd Games, the makers of Cthulhu Saves the World, are currently close to release on Cosmic Star Heroine, which is a love letter to the classic Phantasy Star games.

Failing that, there is a thriving scene of developers utilising RPG Maker or other engines to craft JRPGs by the droves, many of which are quite innovative or put interesting spins on classic concepts. Consider Undertale, or any of the games like it.

It’s not just indie companies making JRPGs, either. Square Enix may have the limelight, but perhaps you’ve heard of a series called The Legend of Heroes? My love for Trails of Cold Steel is well documented, but Nihon Falcom has been producing quality RPGs of all kinds for as long as Squaresoft was. Thanks to the hard work of companies like XSEED, these series are finally starting to see more of a resurgence in the West or on home consoles.

You can also look to the absolutely staggering number of games that are localised and published by Nippon Ichi to find a number of JRPGs that you might have otherwise overlooked. Seriously, there’s a lot, coming from a number of development companies such as Gust or Compile Heart.

There are other high-profile JRPG developers that have been constantly working on their craft, too. Bandai Namco and their Tales franchise are usually the ones held up in comparison to Square Enix’s offerings, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the work of Atlus during all of this. Anyone who stated that JRPGs were a dying breed needed only to look at the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei games to know that wasn’t the case.

Even Mistwalker Studios, formed by ex-Squaresoft veteran Hironobu Sakaguchi -- the creator of Final Fantasy -- has been going strong. Lost Odyssey and The Last Story were both very good games, though due to their exclusivity to certain consoles their audience has regrettably been smaller than deserved. Sakaguchi-san is hardly the only developer to have left Square Enix and gone on to continue making great RPGs outside of their banner.

Bored of the main quest? Start looking for side quests

The gaming landscape is only growing larger every day, with a broad library of titles available to explore across all sorts of platforms. Regardless of platform or where you look, however, the JRPG continues to thrive and expand. Whether nostalgia-laden throwbacks or cliched affairs to innovative twists on plots and mechanics, they’re there in force.

But just like for other genres, sometimes you need to look past the AAA developers of Square Enix to see it.

Think of it like the grand RPG tradition: sometimes you need to go off the beaten track and explore away from the main quest in order to find the truly valuable treasure. It’s the same in finding games to play. You might find something good to play amongst Square Enix’s offerings -- and there are some good titles from recent years, don’t get me wrong -- but the hidden gems can only be found by looking around, asking questions, and delving into the side quests of other developers in order to find something you truly love but rarely hear about.

Give it a shot. Forget the Final Fantasy series. Instead, go play Ys! Swap Dragon Quest VIII out of your 3DS in favour of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse! Forget I Am Setsuna and try Trillion! Live a little, explore, and expand your horizons. Who knows, you might surprise yourself with what you find.

It’s not that unheard of for the main quest to be pretty bad in comparison to the side quests, anyway. Right, Final Fantasy XV?

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5 Reasons Why Dragon Quest VIII is the Best Dragon Quest Game Ever Made https://www.gameskinny.com/3zb2r/5-reasons-why-dragon-quest-viii-is-the-best-dragon-quest-game-ever-made https://www.gameskinny.com/3zb2r/5-reasons-why-dragon-quest-viii-is-the-best-dragon-quest-game-ever-made Thu, 26 Jan 2017 07:33:23 -0500 Rob Kershaw

When Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King made its way over from Japan in 2005, it was a revelation. Apart from being one of the best-looking games on the Playstation 2, it was a genuinely terrific RPG. The Dragon Quest series had something of a checkered history, especially outside of its native country where it was renamed Dragon Warrior.

The eighth game in the series was the first to use its original name in the US, and it succeeded in attracting a significant number of new fans who were looking for alternatives to Final Fantasy. Its main rival had spammed the PS2 with three main entries and an online game in a four-year period, so DQ8 was released at the point of Final Fantasy fatigue for many fans.

DragonQuest 8 Heroes

But it wasn’t just great timing that got the game some well-deserved recognition. DQ8 was a triumph -- not only for the genre, but within its own series. And the recent Nintendo 3DS release went a step further in improving the game for a whole new audience.

Its success can be put down to five key factors.

1. It had brilliantly acted characters.

Like all Dragon Quest protagonists, the hero is silent in DQ8. But thanks to some superb voice acting from an almost entirely British cast, he was supported by a memorable cast of characters. Yangus was a Cockney geezer channelling Ray Winstone, Jessica was a no-nonsense English lass in pirate garb, and Angelo was a rebellious Templar knight.

What distinguished these companions from those of previous games was their fully rounded characters. All of them had a backstory to share, and the nuance of each was revealed as you progressed. Angelo’s brash demeanor hid a more poignant tale of childhood woe, while Yangus’ tale of redemption was emphasized by his implied relationship with Red -- who, along with Morrie, was one of two new characters added to the 3DS version.

Yangus Fight 3DS Version

It wasn’t just the playable characters that were notable. The eponymous cursed King Trode spent most of the game as a toad-like creature, which made his plummy accent even more hilarious. The pantomime villain Dhoulmagus hammed up proceedings no end, and even Medea --  the princess who got turned into a horse -- had her moments, mainly through some wonderful animation and facial expressions.

Other games in the series offered playable characters of varying quality, but none of them matched the tight-knit group in DQ8. Its sequel did away with predefined party members entirely, in favour of a completely customisable group. In doing so, it lost a lot of the charm of the previous entries -- something that we hope will be restored in the forthcoming Dragon Quest XI.

2. The music was incredible.

The game boasted a sweeping, fully orchestrated and unforgettable soundtrack which even today ranks as one of the best gaming OSTs ever composed for an RPG, and certainly bests the music from other entries in the series.

The intro blasted you with the majestic pomp of horns and drums, appropriate for a regal toad and his horsey daughter. In-game tracks flitted between the mysterious outdoor exploration of the huge game world, the comforting town themes that altered between day and night, and the frantic boogie-woogie comedy of the various casinos and bars you came across.

Yangus Psyching Himself Up

While there are certainly stand-out pieces, the entire soundtrack was a marvel and pulled you fully into the medieval world like no other adventure. That the orchestrated version had to be sacrificed in its port over to the 3DS was a shame, but it was a necessity in order to retain the fabulous voice acting. Still, the original themes were faithfully recreated as well as they could be for a handheld console.

3. It had awesome mini-games and a fantastic arena.

Though the story was engaging, like many of the best games it’s nice to take an occasional break from trawling the landscape in search of fame, fortune and a cure for animal metamorphosis.

DQ8 provided ample opportunities to unwind via a casino packed with three mini-games. Roulette, slots and bingo were all available and themed appropriately with slimes, and they were a great way of making a bit of extra gold as well as being enjoyable in their own right.

There was also a monster arena into which you could enter a team of creatures. By defeating specific enemies on your travels, you had a chance of recruiting them into your team and then working your way up the levels of the arena to win valuable items. Aside from being a fun little diversion that yielded some nice treasures, it also let you experience the numerous monsters' attack moves, of which you’d normally be on the receiving end.

DQ8 Crystal Ball

There were a few surprises too -- if you had specific members in your team, they could combine to unleash incredibly powerful deathmoves. For instance, if you recruited all three members of The Slime Squad, they would be able to merge into Ultrus -- a massive slime that was pretty much undefeatable in the early levels. The arena therefore offered you an incentive to explore the game world and track down new additions for your team, which you would be more than happy to do.

The DS remakes of earlier entries added in mini-games too, but it was DQ8 which set the bar and offered players the most interesting diversions. 

4. It was a genuinely interesting world to explore.

DQ8 was huge. As far as open world games went, it ranked as one of the largest in the series, even on the PS2. But unlike many open world games, it wasn’t just padding -- exploration was rewarded. Treasure chests could be found perched on precarious cliffs. Hidden caves contained monsters and riches, and there was even an optional boss and a series of trials once the game ended which revealed more about the Hero.

As with previous entries, the PS2 version was notable for its random battles which you either loved or hated. Since you would be traversing vast swathes of the world map towards any given town, village or dungeon, the encounters were fortunately more fun than grind thanks to a stellar series of enemies.

Thankfully, the 3DS version replaced random encounters with visible ones, meaning that the choice to fight was entirely in your hands -- but the pleasant surprise of encountering a weak metal slime for uber experience wasn’t quite the same.  

5. The gameplay hit the RPG sweet spot.

Turn-based combat might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but DQ8’s battles managed to endear themselves through a combination of simple mechanics, colorful foes, interesting attacks, and a heap of strategy.

The weapons, armor and magic items you carried were replaced with regularity by new and interesting gubbins, and your exploration of the overworld often rewarded you with goodies beyond your level. Blasting through slimes which caused you issues at the start of the game in one hit of a boomerang was immensely satisfying.

DQ8 Jessica Jail Cell

Whilst basic combat moves were the usual assortment of attacking, defending and magic, you could also psyche up your characters -- sacrificing their turn for the chance of a more powerful attack on your next go. You could also stack these psyche ups which resulted in a state of “super high tension” once you’d hit the final stack, and allowed you to unleash a blisteringly powerful attack.

Enemies were also able to increase their tension -- and with the to-and-fro of sapping, befuddling, and countering, combat was a frenetic affair tempered only by the moderate speed of turn-based battles. Even that has now been improved in the 3DS version with a high-speed combat mode which, combined with the new visible encounters, means that fighting has never been so much fun. Especially when Yangus breaks out his Underpants Dance.

When you add in the additional monsters, cutscenes, dungeons, weapons, and modes offered by the 3DS version, there's simply no reason not to pick it up.

***

Dragon Quest X never made it over to Western shores, and while IX was well-received, the lack of a traditional party structure made it feel somewhat distant and impersonal. The eleventh entry in the series is scheduled for later this year, but we can only hope it lives up to the extraordinarily high standard set by Journey of the Cursed King

Which of the Dragon Quest series is your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments!

]]>
Nintendo Treehouse at E3 2016 Won't Just Be Zelda https://www.gameskinny.com/czb0j/nintendo-treehouse-at-e3-2016-wont-just-be-zelda https://www.gameskinny.com/czb0j/nintendo-treehouse-at-e3-2016-wont-just-be-zelda Fri, 03 Jun 2016 05:07:16 -0400 Anthony Pelone

Heads up, Nintendo fans: the company has announced the Treehouse livestream dates for this year's E3, which will be a two day event on June 14-15. While the upcoming The Legend of Zelda for Wii U will still be the only playable Nintendo game on the show floor, it'll hardly be the only one shown. Nintendo has lined up several games for the event.

Pokémon Sun and Moon will kick off the program on the 14th at 9 AM PT. The second day will focus on other upcoming titles scheduled for Wii U and 3DS this year, such as Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and Monster Hunter Generations. Pokémon fans can also look forward to a Pokémon GO developer Q&A, which will open the second day's livestream. It's been implied these won't be only games shown, so those curious will want to stay tuned for the full schedule.

Will you be watching the Nintendo Treehouse livestream this E3? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Source: Gematsu

 

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Dragon Quest Heroes coming to Steam this December https://www.gameskinny.com/ip2pj/dragon-quest-heroes-coming-to-steam-this-december https://www.gameskinny.com/ip2pj/dragon-quest-heroes-coming-to-steam-this-december Fri, 20 Nov 2015 06:04:18 -0500 Daniel Williams_2179

On Dragon Quest's official Twitter account, they announced that Dragon Quest Heros will be coming to Steam on the 3rd of December. This copy of the game will include 13 DLC items from the PlayStation 4 version of the game. 

Dragon Quest Heroes is a hack-and-slash game, designed similar to the Dynasty Warriors series. The game is set in the kingdom of Arba. Here mankind and monsters live peacefully. One day, the monsters start to attack mankind. It is up to the captains of the royal guard, Luceus and Aurora, to fight the monsters and find out why they started attacking.

At the moment, there is no word of Dragon Quest Heroes coming to Xbox One. In other Dragon Quest news, Square Enix has announced that Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII will be making its way over to the west on the Nintendo 3DS.

The games will be released in 2016 though no date has been confirmed. 

 

 

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All Nintendo Direct (11/12) annoucements https://www.gameskinny.com/q22et/all-nintendo-direct-1112-annoucements https://www.gameskinny.com/q22et/all-nintendo-direct-1112-annoucements Sat, 14 Nov 2015 13:53:10 -0500 Lad Johnson

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Did you hear the news you were hoping for? Did anything blow your mind, foregoing your imagination. Let us know in the comments; and remember today several pieces of Nintendo history were made.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/c/c/0cc9971ce39a3298be0cdc51f51b055d.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/c/c/tiny_0cc9971ce39a3298be0cdc51f51b055d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"91852","description":"

Super Smash Bros

\n

For some this is the biggest piece of NEWS this year. Fans of Final Fantasy and Smash Bros will be pleased that one of the most requested characters has been announced. Cloud Strife is here with his buster sword and a new stage in tow. There are no dates on when he will be available, but we were told to expect news in early December. Have fun playing matches to the classic Final Fantasy theme song that will also be included.

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The Wii U has not been totally abandoned by third party developers. There are still quite a few games coming to the console.
\n

Hive Jump- Q1 2016

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Kerbal Space Program- Q1 2016

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Mighty No. 9- 2/9/2016

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Lego Marvels Avengers- 1/26/2016

\n

Terarria 4/12/2016

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/a/9/0a910107a9785f416d6d144302eef259.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/a/9/tiny_0a910107a9785f416d6d144302eef259.jpg","type":"slide","id":"91819","description":"

 

\n

Dragon Quest: VII & VIII

\n

Both games were announced and are set to release next year.

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Hyrule Warriors: Legends 

\n

Another bevy of good news; Hyrule Warriors: Legends gives us much to look forward too. A new original character was announced; a girl named Linkle that uses double crossbows. She is the first female version of Link. The release date was announced as March 25, 2016. You will also get a new home menu theme for your 3DS when you purchase the game.

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Pokemon: Blue, Red, and Yellow

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We were all blindsided by this one. All three of the first generation Pokemon games are coming to the eshop. The games will be true to their original versions sans one feature; players no longer need a link cable to trade Pokemon. You can now use wifi to trade and battle with your friends. These release the same day as the originals did twenty years ago -- February 27, 2016.

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MegaMan: Legacy Collection

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A collection of the first six MegaMan games; this title offers a lot of content for fans to collect in game. The game will have exclusive challenges that can only be accessed using a MegaMan amiibo. On that note there was also a new gold colored Megaman amiibo announced. It can only be obtained by purchasing a copy of the game's collector's edition. The game is available February 23, 2016.

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Final Fantasy: Fates

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Fans already knew the game would be releasing in two parts simultaneously. But today all the options for obtaining all three games was revealed. After completing one of the two launch games players will be given the choice to purchase the other game as half price. There is also a bundle available, as well a collectors edition that comes with an art-book and carrying pouch for your DS. This is available for $79.99. Other DLC maps are also planned for the games.

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Final Fantasy Explorers

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This game was initially released in Japan last December and has received a few updates since. The North American version of the game will gave players access to all of the game's released DLC free of charge. There is also a collectors edition releasing. It will include the game, an art-book, a CD sampler. and exclusive quests. Pick this up on January 26, 2016

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Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam 

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A release date of January 22, 2016 was announced. If you love Mario RPG's then you need this title. New battle cards with effects to help you get past tricky levels and challenges were revealed. You can use your amiibo to create character cards which are more powerful than battle cards. Mario party amiibos will be compatible with this tittle.

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Pokken Tournament

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The fighting game everyone is waiting for received some new footage. It was also revealed how players would be able to access the Shadow Mewtwo character that leaked a while back. If your copy is from the first production run; players will receive a special card that allows them to use the character immediately. If not, players can complete a few things in game and use him later. The game releases Spring 2016 for Wii U.

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StarFox Zero

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Starfox Zero was finally given a new release date. After being pushed back from this holiday season, the game is now slated to release April 22, 2016. Mark your calendars now, people.

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amiibo

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Of course these popular little trinkets were center stage. Almost every game had a mention of them. We also received a release date for some of the Animal crossing and the Lucas figures -- January 22nd

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There are also four great new games coming to the Nintendo eShop. Nintendo is obviously eyeing its casual gamer market.

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    \n
  • Typo Man-November 19th
  • \n
  • Fast Racing Neo-December
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  • Steam World Heist-December
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  • Pokemon Picross-December
  • \n
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Nintendo Badge Arcade

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A free to start title, this game gives you badges to customize your 3DS home screen. Collect the badges using a claw game. Players can pay to receive more chances to collect the badges. Some badges will be limited edition, so make sure you check back often if this is something you are interested in.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/9/8/c98f7170a8b7a9bd878901bd1b09ddd1.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/9/8/tiny_c98f7170a8b7a9bd878901bd1b09ddd1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"91801","description":"

Xenoblade Chronicles X

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For those waiting on a new Metroid or Legend of Zelda game this is the best Nintendo is offering; an open world space adventure that will release on December 4th. If buying the game physically, there are four packs that can be pre-installed to allow the player to load up the game faster. It is recommended to download the first pack at the least.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/e/f/cef7825909370e513d469f20faf28ee3.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/e/f/tiny_cef7825909370e513d469f20faf28ee3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"91799","description":"

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash

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An all-new move was revealed for this game. Performing a jump smash will allow players to jump up and attack the ball before it has had a chance to bounce on their side. This will add a new layer of strategy to matches. Knock your opponent off balance then use the jump smash from the designated point to perform an ultra smash.

\n

There are also mega battles where Toad will add mega Mushrooms to the match to make characters larger; how exciting? Add in amiibos to use as a partner in online and expedition matches.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/0/c/20c3f5ba63399bdecaddc596b4535531.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/0/c/tiny_20c3f5ba63399bdecaddc596b4535531.jpg","type":"slide","id":"91798","description":"

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival

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This game will initially launch packaged with two amiibos and will be the only way to acquire the Isabelle and Digby amiibos. Digby will be even more exclusive as he is only available with the launch copy of the game. Some of the games puzzles and game modes were also showcased. 

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Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon

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This game will release on November 20th and feature every single known Pokemon.  The new connection orb will allow you to send and receive rescue requests. The game will also come with a free theme for your 3DS.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/b/a/0bac4a1ff76c398386dea714a231e90d.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/b/a/tiny_0bac4a1ff76c398386dea714a231e90d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"91800","description":"

Splatoon

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Nintendo has done well keeping this seasons sleeper hit stocked with new content. This was the largest update to a previously released game announced.

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    \n
  • 80 pieces of new gear and outfits
  • \n
  • 27 new weapon
  • \n
  • New maps- Both have features that will have you changing your strategy as the match progresses.
  • \n
      \n
    • Museum d' alfonsino
    • \n
    • Mahi-Mahi Resort 
    • \n
    \n
  • New updates through July
  • \n
  • New matchmaking
  • \n
  • No additional charge
  • \n
  • New website to track stats
  • \n
  • A Nintendo treehouse tournament is also planned for next year. There are also player tournament modes in development.
  • \n
"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/6/5/0/65039fc396c8f0985bf66ba7f17c0b82.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/6/5/0/tiny_65039fc396c8f0985bf66ba7f17c0b82.jpg","type":"slide","id":"91795","description":"

Super Mario Maker

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A new portal site was announced that will allow you to search for particular levels on your PC or mobile device. Search for the type of level you wish to play or bookmark one you find while browsing. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/1/0/21010916a5b006b14e62feb0606f5a91.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/1/0/tiny_21010916a5b006b14e62feb0606f5a91.jpg","type":"slide","id":"91797","description":"

The Legend of Zelda Tri-Force Heroes.

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A free update is being developed that will add the Den of Trials areas. Unlike normal dungeons where there might be 4 challenges, these levels will have an overwhelming amount at 30 plus! Did we mention that you and your team must defeat every single enemy in a stage to move on to the next one. But don't be discouraged; the den has checkpoints littered throughout to help you make it a little further.

\n

New outfits are also planned: Linebeck's Uniform, which will let you see inside of chest before opening them, and The Fierce Deity Armor, which will make your sword fire off beams in four different directions.

\n

These are both free updates that will release on December 2nd.

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Zelda Wii U

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New gameplay footage for this tittle was shown after the reveal of Twilight Princes HD. The new WolfLink amiibo will have an effect when used with this game.

\n

The release window was not updated and the game is still slated for a Wii U release sometime in 2016.

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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

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After a weeks of speculation and rumor, Twilight  Princess HD received an official announcement. The first announcement of the event included enhanced visuals, a new wolf Link amiibo, and other enhanced features. This will be a fun experience even for those who have played this classic a few times. The game will also be compatible with other amiibos from the smash series. Twilight Princess HD releases March 4th 2016. Preorder now to receive the official soundtrack for free.

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Did you miss the Nintendo Direct event? Here's a recap of all that was announced earlier this week. Everything Nintendo has planned through early 2016 now has a release date. If you're a Nintendo fan, there is much to celebrate.

"}]]]>
Dragon Quest VIII for the 3DS gets some extra goodies https://www.gameskinny.com/d1ss7/dragon-quest-viii-for-the-3ds-gets-some-extra-goodies https://www.gameskinny.com/d1ss7/dragon-quest-viii-for-the-3ds-gets-some-extra-goodies Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:48:11 -0400 TheBlaksamuraiX

In addition to the new characters, the 3DS remaster of Dragon Quest VIII will also come with a couple of new dungeons, new monsters and even a new end game boss.

A mysterious cave appears!

The new end game boss, known as Juhagaros, will test the player's skill as well as offer up some new mechanics. Not much is known about this new boss only that he was previously sealed away and has awoken. Square has stated that as release draws closer, more information about the boss will be released.

Behold the mighty Juhagaros

The game will include voice acting, unlike the mobile port, but it isn't clear whether the original voice actors will reprise their roles. Square also hasn't mentioned whether the game's stunning soundtrack will be synthetic or if they will use the original scores produced by the orchestra years ago.

New dungeons also means new treasure!

Dragon Quest VIII was originally released for the PlayStation 2 system way back in 2005, along with a mobile port of the game last year. Both were highly praised by critics with the former winning a few awards. The 3DS version is set to release August 27th in Japan with no talk of a western release just yet.

Are you guys excited for the remaster? I for one wish they would have made it for the PS4 but beggars can't beggars can't be choosers. Think the new boss was needed? Think it will come to the west? Let me know in the comments below!

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Retro RPGs in Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest Series Discounted on Mobile Devices https://www.gameskinny.com/ijs6z/retro-rpgs-in-final-fantasy-dragon-quest-series-discounted-on-mobile-devices https://www.gameskinny.com/ijs6z/retro-rpgs-in-final-fantasy-dragon-quest-series-discounted-on-mobile-devices Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:03:33 -0500 Brian Spaen

Need an classic RPG fix for the holidays? If you have an Android or iOS phone or tablet handy, you can get multiple Square Enix games at heavily discounted prices.

Normally, the later Final Fantasy titles are available for $15.99, but all the titles will be discounted until January 5th. Highlights include Final Fantasy IV and VI for just $7.99, Dragon Quest VIII for $12.99, and Chrono Trigger for $4.99.

Here are all the deals for select Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games on Google Play and iTunes.

  • Final Fantasy - $3.99 (50 percent off)
  • Final Fantasy III - $7.99 (50 percent off)
  • Final Fantasy IV - $7.99 (50 percent off)
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years - $7.99 (50 percent off)
  • Final Fantasy V - $7.99 (50 percent off)
  • Final Fantasy VI - $7.99 (50 percent off)
  • Dragon Quest II - $2.99 (40 percent off)
  • Dragon Quest VIII - $12.99 (35 percent off)
  • Chrono Trigger - $4.99 (50 percent off)

For those wondering, the only classic Final Fantasy title that's left off the list (pre-FFVII) is Final Fantasy II, which is available for $3.99 and doesn't have a discount. All of these Final Fantasy games are remakes that have been found on various Nintendo and Sony consoles and handhelds.

And as a friendly reminder to those that remember playing the great Final Fantasy III on Super Nintendo, that is actually Final Fantasy VI on this list. The FFIII on this list is from the original Nintendo that was only released in Japan before Square Enix remastered and brought all the titles over to North America.

Will you be picking up any discounted titles from Square Enix over the holidays?

Image credit: Nerd Reactor

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