Square Enix recently released an enormous amount of new Dragon Quest VIII information along with new screenshots. First is a look inside the casino of Dragon Quest VIII. This completely 3D environment features slots, roulette, and bingo. Slots include frugal one-coin games up to 100-coin all-or-nothing machines. A roulette wheel occupies the middle of the casino floor, and players will be able to see the wheel turning in full 3D. Bingo is a game of luck and speed. Players must match up numbers in vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines, and the faster one finds a bingo, the bigger the prize.
Next is the Skill Master System, which includes weapon skills and special abilities. Weapon skills are based on each type of weapon. A character using a sword increases his or her sword skills and base attack, for example. However, this same character will not gain other weapon skills when a different weapon is equipped, as this weapon is not his or her expertise.
Each weapon class has its own weapon skill attacks. The hero can learn a special spear ability called Lightning Strike, a move that simply skewers the enemy. Jessica can use short swords to discover Lightning Death, which lets her fire a wave of light at enemies. Yangus's work with scythes opens up a move called Devil's Scythe where he jumps into the air and hurls his scythe through a group of enemies. Yangas can also use his bare fists to unlock Fire Punch, which allows him to distribute multiple hits among several enemies, or focus them all on one target. For Kukuru, bare-fisting unlocks a different attack called Miracle Moon. This allows him to pummel enemies and restore his HP. Clearly, different characters can learn completely different skills from the same weapons.
Special abilities are unique to each character. The hero has Bravery, Jessica has Charm, Yangas has Ninja, and Kukuru has Charisma. Increasing the hero's Bravery high enough unlocks the legendary spell Raideen. Yangus's special ability is a healing spell called Behoimi. Jessica's Charm leads to the ability Sexy Beam, which pummels the hearts of enemies and may leave them confused. It is said that the effect depends on the gender of the enemy; females may be unfazed by it. Kukuru's Charisma develops into Charming Glance. Like Jessica's Sexy Beam, it does damage and creates confusion among the enemies.
During their journey, the heroes will be able to turn to Torode for advice. One of his useful tools is the Fight Record. It compiles the number of battles the heroes have been in, including the number of victories and losses, and the maximum damage dealt in a single attack. If the record shows that the player has been having trouble, Torode will offer helpful advice.
Torode also maintains a detailed bestiary that includes the location of each encountered monster, as well as how much gold and experience that monster gives. The bestiary will also include information about the monster's attacks and defenses, and it will offer advice on how to defeat the monster. Torode also keeps a record of all the items the characters have collected throughout the game.
The November 27 release of Dragon Quest VIII in Japan is drawing near. A North American release has not been announced.