I think most people know this year is The Legend of Zelda’s 25th anniversary but many have overlooked that it is also the same anniversary for the Dragon Quest series. It’s funny to think that two of my favourite game series were created in the same year. However, I haven’t been a DQ fan for very long…
It all started last summer when I was browsing for any new DS games I might be interested in. I subscribe to a few Nintendo magazines and was constantly being bombarded with Dragon Quest IX posters, guides and reviews so wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Looking at a few website reviews I decided to go ahead and order the game; what I didn’t realise was as soon as it arrived my entire summer and beyond would be taken up playing it! Anyone who was at uni with me during my first semester will know I was playing it whenever I got some free time.
Right from the beginning the game drags you into this immense world. One of the first things I liked is that the game doesn’t spend ages making you work through a tutorial section which has little relevance to anything related to the story itself. You’re simply thrown into your first battle then sent on your way. Speaking of the battles, the system is one of my favourites from any series. It’s based on the turn-based system but feels far more free since the characters have great animations and each new enemy is often a joy to fight. I would often find myself grinding for hours, not because I had to but because I wanted to.
The ability to create your own characters was also a nice touch. Your party can hold up to four members who can be designed (with limitations) to look and be a class of your choosing. I found I spent hours building up various skills and weapons when I learned I could change classes throughout the course of the game. Often finding new upgrades and powers along the way. The only criticism I have about these creatable characters is that they have no personality and are merely shells for you to use. It would have been nice to see some character in the people you play as but it can be forgiven considering the amount of other things which are happening around you.
The story itself is quite generic, beat the bad guy and save the world but it’s done in such a way that will keep you wanting to play right until the end. Even after finishing the main story there’s so much to do as well as constant downloadable content that I’d be surprised if anyone has cleared the game 100% or even close.
I recently purchased DQVIII but haven’t played as much yet. It looks to be just as addictive as my first experience though. Overall I’d definitely recommend trying this series if you’re a fan of that type of gameplay.