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Dragon Quest Megathread
Old 02-15-2021, 01:01 PM   #1
Ginkasa
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Default Dragon Quest Megathread

After having played through the Final Fantasy series last year I felt a hankerin' to make my through the Dragon Quest series this year. Its been a while since I've played through all the games. I've had it in the back of my mind to go through the series again since playing through DQXI a couple of years ago and getting the Switch releases of the first three games, but now I'm getting to it.

Dragon Quest is, probably, my preferred RPG series although it seems I've talked a heck of a lot more about Final Fantasy on this site. Probably the best FF games are better than the best DQ games, but there are no DQ games that are as bad as the worst FF games.

I first got into the series with the Dragon Warrior I&II collection on the GBC back in the day. That was right about when I really started to getting into video games as more than just toys (and just a few months before I joined Nintendose!). Even though these were of course remakes, I was excited for III on the GBC just like it was a new game.

Dragon Warrior IV was my first taste of the uncertainty of this series. I had planned to get a PlayStation solely to play that release (advertised in the back of the GBC III manual), but that release was ultimately cancelled and it was years before I could continue the series.

I did try to play Dragon Warrior VII, but it was too different from what I knew and I didn't have the bridging games to ease that transition. I was able to get into Dragon Quest VIII though on the PS2 and that really brought me back into the series along with the DS releases of DQ IV and V and then IX. Of course, we faced a lot of uncertainty with the DS release of VI, X on the Wii (etc.) never made it, and it was unclear whether we'd see the 3DS release of VII (ultimately did) and we never did get the 3DS version of XI.

****

Regarding DQI, I did play through it last week on the Switch. What I really appreciate about it is honestly how simple it is. It is like if you defined the absolute core elements of a jRPG and put just those in a game you'd have Dragon Quest I. You have one character who fights one enemy at a time. There are no skill trees or classes. There is a linear progression of equipment. The world is small enough that you can kind of brute force your way through it. There's not much chance at getting lost. You can beat it in less than a dozen hours (maybe just a handful?).

It actually works really way as a handheld/mobile game. I've tried a couple of RPGs on my phone, but I can never get very far because I don't want to spend a ton of time playing a game on my phone. With Dragon Quest, though, most of the playtime is grinding so even if boot the game up for just a few minutes and fight a couple of battles you've made some kind of progress in regards to the experience or gold you've gained. Just a few sessions of a few battles each and you can move on to the next town or buy the next piece of equipment.
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Re: Dragon Quest Megathread
Old 02-20-2021, 04:40 PM   #2
Ginkasa
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Default Re: Dragon Quest Megathread

I just beat Dragon Quest II.

To be honest, I don't feel quite as fondly towards DQII as I do to I even though I have to admit in most ways II is the better game. Honestly not sure why. It might be due to my experience the first time I played the game on the GBC with the Dragon Warrior I&II collection. I remember playing I and being really excited to move beyond it and play II, but felt a little disappointed. I got stuck at one point and paused for a long time until I finally came back and beat it. That feeling of disappointment and not being able to move forward has just stuck with me I guess.

But the game is really a big leap forward from I in a lot of respects although I wouldn't quite call it fully formed Dragon Quest yet. You have a party this time - three playable characters instead of just the one. You start off with just the Prince of Midenhall - the seeming main character. Unlike the Hero from I (and all future main characters), II's hero only has physical attacks. No magic. You later gain the Prince of Cannock who can kind of do both physical and magical attacks (but lags behind Midenhall regarding physical attacks) and the Princess of MoonBrooke who is primarily focused on magical (but of course she can swing a stick if she needs to).

You also face more than one enemy at a time. This plus the expanded magic spell list adds a lot more strategy to how you approach battles. Physical attacks of course only hit one enemy. Some spells hit a set of like enemies and other spells can hit all enemies. Choosing which enemies or sets of enemies to prioritize in your battles is the main brunt of strategy.

The negative aspect of the game, at least in my opinion, is that once you get the ship the game just becomes a massive easter egg hunt across the entire world. Unlike I which was small enough to remain focused (or the pre-ship parts of II which provide pretty decent direction), there is no clear direction to go once you get the ship. You just explore and collect the random hints in random towns to try to find the macguffins (or even what the macguffins are) or maybe you just find macguffins randomly as you explore. It reminds me a lot of Final Fantasy I after you get the airship. Just a lot of back and forth and aimless wandering.

Overall, though, I would say it is a decent RPG, especially the recent Switch and mobile versions which cut down on some of the frustrating difficulty (like they removed the final boss's ability to cast FullHeal on himself) and reduces the amount of time needed to grind. I would still say that in the end I prefer DQI for being a much more focused, nostalgic experience. II is just a weird bridge between the simplicity of I and the full features of III and beyond.
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