The Dragon Quest series has always been a bit of a niche series in most of the world, but in Japan, it has the rock star status that Final Fantasy enjoys in the US, so much so that there is supposedly a law saying that a Dragon Quest game cannot be released on a weekday (to keep people from missing work and cutting class to play it.) Furthermore, when this game released in Japan, 3 million copies sold in one weekend!
So when my copy arrived in the mail last week, I dove right in–and I can see why it sold like hotcakes in Japan.
Curious as to what spurred 3 million copies to fly off the shelves? Read on…
There will be spoilers in here, so if you want to be surprised, click away now.
Still with me? Let’s break the game down:
Story: Very Good (4/5)
You play the role of an apprentice Celestrian (the game’s answer to angels) in charge of guarding the small town of Angel Falls and collecting benevolessence (the people’s thanks and praises) to offer to Yggdrasil, the world tree. On one such offering, a flash of light knocks you down to the Protectorate (the world of humans) and causes you to lose your halo, wings, and angelic powers. With the help of a fast talking fairy named Stella, you set out on an epic journey to find Yggdrasil’s scattered fruit and help those in need, all the while seeking answers as to why the heavens were attacked.
While not exactly groundbreaking, it is still good, and drives the game along perfectly.
Graphics: Excellent (5/5)
The graphics are your typical DBZ style 2D you have come to expect from Dragon Quest, and they lend to the game’s world immensely–everything is crisp, clean, and colorful. There are a few minor blockiness issues with the 3D, but for the most part, 3D is clean and realistic as well.
Sound/Music: Excellent (5/5)
All the classic DQ noises and songs are here–the bombastic overture, the file select theme, and the spell cast noise are among the old favorites present. The new tracks are also nice to listen to as well, and some of them bear a striking resemblance to other songs (For instance, the inn in Stornway sounds like the Yodel Song in Snow White, for example)
Gameplay: 5/5 (Excellent)
Here’s where the game really shines, with a 45-50 hour main story that gives way to a ton of post game content. Also scattered throughout the game are mini-quests not unlike an MMO, and some of them have nice rewards. There’s also plenty to do on Wi Fi, with a marketplace of DLC and the ability to tag team with other players. You can even customize your characters, so you could hypothetically have a party of DQ all stars running around.
Final Word: Excellent (4.95/5)
A wealth of things to do and a lengthy story make it well worth the few minor issues–a great choice for a DS RPG.