Monday, April 28, 2008

Dragon Quest 8, part 11

I am finally almost done with Dragon Quest VIII (I think). I have just clocked in over one hundred hours in the game.  And I was worried that the game would be too short when I first started. It feels like I am finally running out of thing to say about the game too. I still have a bit to say about the plot devices used in the game though.

Not too long ago, I fought a major boss battle in an attempt to save the life of the last of the descendants of the seven sages who stand at the center of the game's plot. However, my reward for beating this boss and saving the life of the sage's descendant was to be accused of being assassins by a third party and thrown in prison (again). What's worse is that the guy I tried to protect was killed of anyways off-screen while my party rotted in the worst prison in the world for a month. Some reward.

The trick is that protecting the last descendant of the sages was absolutely vital to the heroes' quest of saving the world. With no more descendants of the sages left, the Big Bad of the game would be free from his prison and begin destroying the world. On top of that, winning that boss battle gave the heroes a chance to take back the cursed scepter housing the Big Bad's soul and reseal it. Yet, the heroes let themselves be led off by a few guards to prison and left the scepter of pure evil lying around unattended near the person  they were trying to protect from it.

Realistically, the heroes should have put up more of a fight. After all, their entire mission and the fate of the world was at stake. Four or so guards should not have been much of a problem for the heroes who just beat down a villain who was strong enough to KO or kill most soldiers and guards in single blows throughout most of the game. The game had clearly established that the heroes were incredibly strong, by creating opportunities where the heroes could clearly outperform both regular soldiers and the elite mercenaries of the world's richest man.

The entire scene just felt like a cheap excuse for the game to continue. If left alone, the heroes could have sealed away the Big Bad again. But, the game scenario called for all of the sage's descendants to die so that the main heroes could get a shot at facing him at his full power. While I can certainly see the need to keep the game moving, the method the developers used just felt too forced. It would have been better to have used another method to keep the scepter out of the heroes' hands.

For instance, the heroes could have left the scepter on the floor where it landed, and simply convinced everyone to stay out of the room while they figured out a way to safely handle it (a smart choice, since the last time one of the heroes picked up the scepter, it ended in a boss battle). Then, someone could have simply snuck in and stolen the scepter, perhaps foolishly intending to use its power for his own gain. While still a bit cheesy, it would have resulted in making the heroes look like fools.

On another note, I am continuously baffled why both times the heroes are arrested and thrown in prison, no one ever takes their weapons off of them. It just looks weird to see four heroes sitting around a jail cell while still armed to the teeth.. Besides, dungeons where the heroes have to break out of a prison and fight off/avoid guards while searching for their equipment are a classic part of RPGs.

EDIT: My brother just reminded me of a detail I forgot about. The heroes actually received the Ultimate Key, capable of opening any locked chest or door, as part of the story earlier in the game. Getting out of that prison should have taken 5 seconds.

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