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Best Re-Release

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

Best Re-Release
Second Place
Third Place


Remakes and re-releases are sometimes good things indeed. Square Enix has made its share of unnecessary or just unpleasant remakes in recent years, but this particular game benefits from its new platform. The 3DS may have access to a huge portion of Dragon Quest already, but Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King remains the showcase for what happens when the series actually has top production values on its side. It still looks and sounds excellent, plus the ability to make combat move faster is incredibly useful for slimming down filler time.

A lot is new here, enough to ensure that those who played it on the PS2 won't be able to write this version off as a quick-and-dirty port. Its original strengths are also still present — it pairs the attention to the game world and characters that Dragon Quest started doing years before with the superb realization of what's taking place. It still won't convert anyone who despises this series to the core, but it keeps the essence of earlier Dragon Quest without looking or feeling antiquated. Anyone with even the slightest hint of interest in this series who hasn't tried it yet should experience this one.

Not only was Final Fantasy XII an amazing game in 2006, but with some key improvements made to it, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age made for an extraordinary re-release in 2017. Overhauls in visual and audio departments don't hold a candle to how the International Job System rejuvenates the entire combat experience. Giving each job class its own license board, casting characters in set-in-stone roles while still providing flexibility by letting two jobs be assigned to each character at a time, this stellar re-release marks a great time to experience the game for the first time, or simply play it again the way it was meant to be played. Being able to fast-forward through battles doesn't hurt matters, either.

Undertale, given its influence from classic console RPGs, proved to be the perfect fit on PS4 and Vita. Sure, it has borders around the screen due to the version of GameMaker Studio used to make the game, but it proves to be a minor thing. Everything that made the original a wonderfully refreshing take on RPGs remains. Allowing players to find ways to not kill every single enemy encountered in the game, it constantly subverts player expectations, all while providing fabulous humor at every turn. Just like the PC version, the game tracks what you do, including reloading a save to try a different approach such as not killing a boss, and in-game characters will actually respond to these things. There's simply nothing out there quite like Undertale, and it's great especially now to have a portable version to take with you wherever you go.

by Mike Moehnke, Pascal Tekaia, Michael Apps


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