Of all the new features added in Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, one of the most pervasive is the photo mode. As you go through the game, you can take various snapshots of your adventure. While the images you collect won’t be as intricate and involved as the ones you can take in the photo modes offered in PlayStation 4 games, the purpose they serve here comes across as more important.
You’re able to take your shots immediately in Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. The concept is introduced in Fareday, the first city you visit. But, you don’t get an opportunity to really use it then. Sure, you can take a few pictures of different creatures, build up a photo album, and send off a postcard, but that’s it. There’s no focus or reward to it yet. It’s only after arriving in Port Prospect, Cameron Obscura’s hometown, that you receive Cameron’s Codex. As you exposed to the world and accomplish different things, new photographic challenges become available. Stamp cards are automatically doled out when returning to Cameron, allowing you to earn items for collecting a certain number of good shots.
It’s a brilliant means of getting you to do and see new things. Cameron’s Codex isn’t a collection of obvious missions. It requires you to think or do things you wouldn’t otherwise, all in the hopes of filling cards to get valuable items and equipment. For example, one of the earliest tasks asks you to fight 30 slimes, all so you can get a giant creme caraslime to appear. You get three stamps for this impressive task. A less trying, early task involves watching a jailcat and getting a picture when it’s grooming itself, all while not attracting its attention and getting into a battle. (This is a two stamp affair.) These can even get you to check every part of each town, hunting down a Golden Slime statue, all for that guaranteed one stamp bonus.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King even makes photo acquisition easy for you. There are over 100 Cameron Codex challenges. Delving into the Misc. menu all the time can be a bit tedious. Fortunately, there are certain people and places in the world that are nearly always challenge photos and, if you take a picture of them out of curiosity, the game tells you if it’s something you were supposed to get a shot of. Important people are always a must, so getting a picture of named NPCs is a smart idea. Certain landmarks or items are good to grab too, like Alexandria’s treasured statue in the tower. It’s an incredibly efficient thing you can rely on and, with Zoom, you can swiftly slip away to a spot to complete a challenge.
I like to think of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King’s as using Cameron’s Codex to get you to grind and explore without you even noticing it. There are some pretty sticky situations in this game, and you’re going to need to make sure your characters have acquired levels and earned helpful skills. By sending you off on these optional excursions, you might find yourself revisiting dangerous locations, trying to beat certain numbers of the same kind of creature, and venturing off the beaten path. It’s a means of encouraging adventuring.
It also offers an opportunity for whimsy. The StreetPass function in Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King lets you swap virtual postcards with one another. It’s a way to see things you might have missed and they didn’t. There’s even a nod to purikura (Print Club) photo sticker booths. You can take the photos you’ve saved and add filters, frames, and stickers. While the Square Enix copyright at the bottom does detract from things, you can put together some elaborate, goofy, or even artistic designs and share them.
When new features are added to games, it can be difficult to discern how much they’ll add to the adventure. With Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, the new photography feature adds so much. It gives us additional objectives to enjoy, with great rewards that can actually make your journey much easier. It also allows us to connect with other players and feel like we’re all in this together. Cameron’s Codex is a blessing that absolutely makes this JRPG more enjoyable.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is available for the Nintendo 3DS.