Thanks, looks like I'll be looking elsewhere. I'm just finishing up Gothic 2 on the PC. Anything like that on the PS2?
I didn't feel like the random encounter rate in FFX was bad at all. I guess its all relative to your experience with other console RPGs but FFX is all around friendly in most of its mechanics compared to what is out there.
Funny you should mention Gothic 2- I've been heavily reminded of it while playing DQ8 these past few days. Yes, DQ8 has random encounters and turn based battles but it also has:
-Huge overworld to explore
-Going off of the beaten path can be quite dangerous yet quite rewarding for low level characters
-Day and night cycles with differences in what the townspeople are doing in each
All of which reminds me a lot of my experiences with the Gothic games. In many ways I think DQ8 reminds me more of a PC RPG experience than console RPGs. This is because the core gameplay of the DQ series is remarkably unchanged over the years and the original NES titles were quite similar to the early Ultima games (as someone in the DQ8 thread mentioned).