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.