Nothing beats some good, old-fashioned grinding.

I’ve been spending much of my downtime both in my office and at home grinding some metal slimes and golden golems in Dragon Quest VIII.

Grinding in video games is often viewed as a bad mechanic. Some critics like Egoraptor dreaded it when it was introduce in the sequel to Castlevania. Even Undertale plays on the idea of grinding: “punishing” players who want to cheese the game by doing the same thing over and over again instead of rewarding them.

For some reason though, Dragon Quest games do their grinding right. I’m not sure if it’s the brand name, the Dragon Quest series is after all famous for leveling and seeing your warriors grow up.

Whatever the reason is, there’s a charm to grinding whenever Dragon Quest does it. Maybe it’s the sweet music or the satisfying feeling of listening to the victory theme and seeing your numbers go up. Maybe it’s the well-paced rewards for each milestone, maybe it’s on the overall structure of the game where each step is carefully planned out, maybe it’s the charming monster designs.

Maybe Dragon Quest is just a damn good series.

I don’t know. All I know is that Dragon Quest really is one of the best RPGs any RPG fan should play. Dragon Quest VIII is now up on 3ds and those long train rides could really use some metal slimes.

It’s the perfect portable entertainment filled with short bursts of gratification.

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