The battle system is a horrifying, immovable lump in the corner of the room. The words that you’ve been ignoring your whole life - “Break,” “Stagger,” “Back Attack,” “Auto-Attack,” “Affinity,” et cetera - seem to have all pooled together right here. You collect all kinds of different experience points and things; one kind of numeral allows you to upgrade the levels of the skills of individual characters, which does things like lower the cooldown time of your back attack from 8.5 seconds to 8 seconds.
What the hell is that? What kind of jerk do these jerks think I am that I’m susceptible to the pleasures of decreasing cooldown times by half-seconds? And hey, it’s not like I don’t like numbers; I find the numbers attached to every little piece of equipment in “Dragon Quest” totally adorable. When I realized that hitting an enemy with a spell they were weak to in “Persona 4” would knock them out of their next turn, I almost giggled. None of “Xenoblade’s” mechanics are adorable, and none of them tickles my brain at all. I don’t want a menu called “Collectopedia” and I certainly don’t want another one called “Achievements.” I have books to read. You are very inconsiderate, videogame developers!
All this stuff is nonsense, but at least it feels like it’s there because these guys think we want it; it never feels as condescending as, say, “Skyrim.” You start getting items that you realize you can take to a special shop, synthesize into gems which you can attach to the multiple slots in any of the half-dozen pieces of equipment that any of your three characters can equip, and you sigh; it’s like you’re a character in a sitcom who has to smile while he eats the disgusting birthday cake that his kid made for him. Only, you’re not on a sitcom, and you have a PS2, so you might as well just play “Dragon Quest VIII.”
1 star out of 4
Ben Hornsby will come to your house and watch you play 'Dragon Quest VIII' and he will try not to cry.