Time for me to get off my Final Fantasy high and review another game out of a favourite series of mine: Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest was originally known as Dragon Warrior on the American shores because of a copyright issue two decades ago. This game was actually one of the first RPGs to appear on the consoles, heavily borrowing off the famous Dungeons and Dragons tabletop RPG. Though not nearly as prevalent as Final Fantasy here in the Western World, in Japan this game is so popular that there’s a day dedicated to it.
Dragon Quest is pretty formulaic: you have a team of four misfits which travel with you to save the world in some fashion or another. Dragon Quest 4 takes after this dynamic but adds a twist to give the characters some limelight; they have separate chapters for the individual characters so you can level them up and understand their history. And it is a fun cast, from the irrepressible princess Alena to the honourable Ragnar. Eventually all stories come together so you can unite under the Hero(ine).
Chapters of the Chosen is not a game particularly unique in general, though it does have the fun task of being a shopkeeper for a while there. In addition to that there is a secret dungeon with an enjoyable boss battle where you can acquire the game’s most useful tools if you defeat them. Even better is if you figure out the game’s greatest secret you’ll end up with an obscenely overpowered ally and have a slightly modified ending.
The graphics, though dated, are so very very pretty, especially Zenitha. The character portraits are full of personality and seeing the various terrain is pleasing to the eye. But the in-battle graphics are just average, and the special effects don’t make much of an appearance. Obviously graphics isn’t this game’s forte but since it is a DS game, and a Dragon Quest game to boot, if that’s what you’re here for you, you are missing the point of the game.
What is the point of this game? The name of the game: Quests. You go on an endlessly litany of quests either for your characters or random NPCs. Acquiring the mini-medals, playing the game’s one-man form of monopoly and the aforementioned secret dungeon will have you coming back for more..at least until you exhaust all this, which doesn’t take that long, to be honest.
What’s so remarkable about this game (and the Dragon Quest series in general) is its eternal devotion to child-like good and evil values and its bright and cheery atmosphere, no matter how dark the current quest is. Whether this is a flaw or not in the game is more of a personal taste thing, but I find that with so many realistic and depressing games out there, one bright spot is a welcome relief. This is not to say that the over-reliance on everything cute and happy-happy-joy-joy doesn’t get annoying; it does, but sometimes a RPG should just be a good romp through dungeons, which this definitely is.
Dragon Quest has always been known to have a beautiful score and Chapters of the Chosen adds a few twists on its set of delightful tracks. The music in Zenitha and the last boss battle are two notables. Considering how long the last boss battle is, having the music change during the different stages is to great affect. The overworld theme is also enjoyable, giving you that adventurous feeling.
For those of you (like me) who didn’t get a chance to really enjoy this remake, you’ll feel content giving this a go. And like me, you probably won’t pick this up once you finish that secret dungeon and blasting away enemies with your super-powered ally. However if you were planning on something more unique and mind-blowing Dragon Quest 4 isn’t your thing (and, by extension, probably not the Dragon Quest series at all). It satisfied me until the next Final Fantasy came along, which, while not making the game glorious, does do exactly what I wanted.
When Dragon Quest makes a foray into the real world gaming you can bet it’ll be a masterpiece. Not that I mind the simple fun we have today.