Dragon Quest is an age old series dating back far beyond many of our memories. It was the original RPG that stood alongside Final Fantasy. Now Nintendo and Square-Enix are partnering to release the old titles in a new light on the DS handheld platform. Previously Dragon Quest IX was available and garnered heavily positive reviews. Does Dragon Quest VI live up to that same caliber of RPG or does it fall short and remain only a memory?
Good Morning Hero
Gamers will start out as the Hero in what seems like the end of your adventure but you are met with the evil that is Murdaw, the demon king. You and your party are thrown into a battle that you sadly cannot win and your character wakes up in what he believed to be a dream. You start your journey with preparing for a local yearly festival and throughout the course of the game you meet new companions that help you fight off Murdaw’s evil forces. As a twist the game combines real world (for the game) and dream world scenarios that have you utilize interesting aspects like not being able to have a conversation with anyone in town as they cannot see you, or stealing items. Each world has a few differences and similarities, they both have a main King and Queen in Somina and they are both under the evil shadow of Murdaw. The battle system is the same as every other Dragon Quest title, a turn based attack system where you can use magic and items. The sprites are upgraded from the original 16 bit look but still keep their luster from the original days. Every terrain you encounter enemies on, be it sand, marsh or grass to name a few will get a different background for the battle. The gameplay is top of its class as far as DS RPG titles.
Enter Another Realm
The gameplay is so easy to pick up and play and the hidden items you will find by switching between real and dream world as well as side-quests for each world will add hours to the gameplay. The overall story adds up to a nice 8-10 hour romp through the countryside. One thing I disliked was getting characters who were lower levels and having to get them ‘up to speed’ otherwise battles would be harder. On a more personal note as this is with many of the Dragon Quest and early low (16-32) bit RPG’s of the era including Final Fantasy, I hated that when I died you could not revive your characters yourself, you had to travel to a priest and pay a hefty amount. To make matters worse, if your whole party falls, your main character is left alive with full health but your money is cut in half and you are forced to travel to a priest to revive the rest of your party with what money you have left. The game becomes a grind just to make sure you don’t die, but this is just a personal gripe not anything bearing on the title itself as it is a top notch with minimal flaws that were always apparent in this long running series.
Dragon Quest Reborn
Dragon Quest VI was originally released in ’95 for the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo) in Japan only. The re-release on the Nintendo DS changes a lot of the characters names but most changes don’t really matter. A few notable changes are the Beastmaster class is no longer able to recruit monsters, a slime curling mini-game was added, built in map of both words, monster recruitment has been removed and instead there are hidden monsters you are able to recruit and finally the ‘Tag Mode’ from Dragon Quest IX has been implemented into VI. Many of the changers were for the better but a few purists will be unhappy about the inability to recruit monsters.
At the end of the day Dragon Quest VI boils down to a great handheld experience of a classic title that is a great upgrade over the original and retains a lot of the love from the source. A fun and engaging RPG experience awaits fans of the series who can tolerate annoyances and grinding needed to get past the game without any difficulty. Hours of gameplay await players wanting to experience the latest Dragon Quest that stands up on its own but does not fly past the previously released Dragon Quest IX. [starreview tpl=16]
Final Score: 4/5