As I’ve stated before, Dragon Quest is a niche series in the rest of the world, but enjoys rock star status in Japan. This meant that for a long time, the US never saw much of the series, barring fan translations. With Dragon Quest 6 finally released on US and European shores, the Zenithian trilogy is complete in the rest of the world (alongside Chapters of the Chosen in 2009 and Hand of the Heavenly Bride last year)
But was this grand adventure worth the wait?
There will be spoilers in here, so if you want to be surprised, click away now.
Story: Very Good
While certainly not original in terms of the ultimate goal (you still have to save the world), the game does a good job with the theme of finding oneself–the story begins with our hero (I named him Arran) on an epic quest to save the world. Just as his adversary is about to put the smackdown on him, we learn that it was all a dream–but our hero has no clue who he is. Complicating things further are an accidental foray into the world of dreams and a message from the guardian spirit of his village telling him to save the world and find himself in the process. Along the way, he meets up with various allies in both worlds that are dealing with the same problem. The idea of two interconnected worlds may evoke Zelda to some people (and it certainly did on its initial release on the SNES), but overall, DQ6 manages to take these tropes and the timeless theme of finding yourself and weave them into a beautiful narrative.
The cartoony DBZ style graphics you know and love are back, but of note here are the effects, such as fire and flashing light–these and other effects are very nicely done, which shows how much love the team put into sprucing up the old graphics. In addition, characters turn transparent when they fall into the dream world, which is a neat effect in itself. Overall, it is very clean and sharp looking, and worthy of Square’s high standards.
Sound/Music: Very Good
Again, most tunes you know and love are here–the bombastic opening, the file select, the spell cast noise, and the like. While most of the other songs are reasonably likeable, the normal battle track can grate on your nerves after a while, keeping this from earning an Excellent. Grievances with the normal battle theme aside, this is a pretty solid soundtrack suited for an epic adventure.
There have been a number of changes between this and the SNES version–aside from the obligatory name changes, one nice perk from the other DQ DS remakes carries over here–even inactive characters gain XP, which saves a lot of frustration trying to get every character evenly leveled. The biggest change comes in the Beastmaster class–no more can you recruit monsters, but you CAN recruit special slimes that will help the party (even Healie is back) Couple this with a number of mini games and three casinos, there’s plenty to do outside the main quest.
Aside from some annoying tracks and a story some may find cliche, this is still a very solid RPG that offers plenty to do, and worth a rental at least.
Final Word: Very Good (4/5)