Creating a tier list for the characters in DQ8 probably seems like a bit of a futile endeavour, after all the base version of the game only has 4 characters available for the party, which has 4 slots in it. Still, the 3DS version added 2 further choices that heavily influence these things, and we do love writing about the series as a whole, so we’ve decided to put the whole subject to rights regardless. These characters do, in some cases, compete for similar roles in the team, so comparing them against each other isn’t entirely worthless.
It’s not entirely unusual for the Hero of a Dragon Quest game to be powerful, after all this was the basis of the early titles in the series, however the extent to which the DQ8 version demolishes others in certain areas is remarkable. His journey as a character is one of peaks and troughs; the early game is punctuated by utility, filling holes in the team where necessary, but his mid game reveals unparalleled healing power, followed by a late game where he’ll become a group damage monster. The massive healing provided by Omniheal, utility provided by weapon choices and cheeses and the power granted by the mastery of Courage and Swords, make him an essential and tremendously powerful character, and one that’s ultimately deserving of a slot in the S Tier.
Joining him in our S Tier is Red, a character that is exclusive to the 3DS version of the game, at least in terms of being a party member. Even then, she doesn’t join until very late in the game, so what does she do so well that puts her in our S Tier? Mainly, it comes down to her ability to passively gather both gold and items, thanks to her Roguery skills. Both of these things are in deliberate short supply in DQ8, due to the developers wanting to encourage significant exploration, so having a character that improves on both things is absolutely fantastic. Things are helped further by her having access to fantastic damaging skills via her Fan and Whip skills, all of which combine to make her an essential party member, and a worthy S Tier inclusion.
Before going into our A Tier, for which our first choice is Jessica, we should note that there are no characters that are technically bad; they can all do the job well, but some do their roles better than others. It’s perfectly reasonable to complete DQ8 and the vast majority of the post game with almost any choice of team.
When it comes to Jessica specifically, it’s all about her damage here, and as you might imagine she is tremendously powerful when it comes to dealing damage to groups of enemies. Some of her spells are incredible, and the point at which she tends to access them means that she’ll regularly be doing the most damage possible to your opposition, at least within the story portion of the game. Combining this with certain items, skills and accessories, Jessica can become a well rounded team member, even contributing buffs, single and group heals, and even useful defensive abilities.
Alongside Jessica in our A Tier is Morrie, who specialises in powerful buffs and good damage. When it comes to the latter, he’ll provide you with some excellent damage choices, the highlight of which is his Boomerang skills that he can use to decimate enemy groups. The real benefit however, is the buffs that he can access through his Passion skills. Morrie is capable of boosting the Tension level of either him or another party member by a massive two levels, which will massively increase the damage that they do. Combining this with a powerful physical attacker, or indeed himself, makes him nigh on essential for trying to deal the most damage in the shortest possible time period, which is absolutely fantastic for some late and post game bosses.
Again, we’ll repeat that any character is technically usable in DQ8, however both Angelo and Yangus do tend to float towards the bottom of the list. For Angelo, he is eventually and unfortunately eclipsed by others in almost every respect within the Party. He gains access to good heals, for example, but is defeated in this regard when his Multiheal is overtaken by Omniheal, learned by the Hero. His spell power, whilst reasonably good, is easily beaten by Jessica, and his damaging weapon skills are very quickly defeated by others. He’s a great utility character, patching the holes in the team where required, but when 6 are available he does unfortunately sink to the bottom.
For Yangus, the situation is quite similar to Angelo, but in a much more pointed manner. You see, his job is almost entirely to deal damage to your opponents. He can contribute a small amount to team utility, specifically in the early game thanks to a Heal and Kabuff, but following this you will be looking to him for damage. Skills like Thin Air, plus his ability to deal great Axe damage and take down Metal Slimes are a positive for sure, but when you directly compare his damage to other options here, he really doesn’t stand out. His Scythe tree does eventually grant access to Big Banga, which is a fantastic group damage skill, but the tree itself is completely defeated by Red’s passive skills, eliminating the need for active stealing at all. At the end of the day, he doesn’t bring a great deal more than simply being a damage dealer, and whilst this is nice for most of the story portion of the game, he’ll quickly fall behind the others due to utility alone.
Categories: Dragon Quest VIII