by Professor Layton
reviewed on NDS
Dragon Quest Epidemic
If there is video game genre that the Japanese love more than anything, it has to be role-playing. Blockbuster franchises such as Final Fantasy and Fire Emblem have always been received well, both in terms of review scores and sale numbers. However, those two franchises alone only dwarf that of Dragon Quest, one of the Japanese’s favorite franchises. Whenever Square Enix announces that it has plans to bring new Dragon Quest titles, gamers grow ecstatic, and for good reason too. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Dragon Quest is one of the most remarkable role-playing franchises to grace any platform.
In other parts of the world though, the games are met with a rather lukewarm reception. Despite the games receiving relatively high scores, sale numbers are usually poor compared to those of Japan. With the ever-growing success of the Nintendo DS though, Square Enix is hoping to increase the popularity of the franchise around the world. To do this, they are remaking Dragon Quest IV to Dragon Quest VI in preparation for their big release, Dragon Quest IX, which is launching in Japan sometime in March 2009.
First Up to the Bat
First up to the batting plate is Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen, a remake of the critically acclaimed NES game Dragon Warrior IV, known in Japan as Dragon Quest IV. After originally being released on the NES in 1991 and then remade for the Playstation in 2001, it is quite easy to see that Dragon Quest IV isn’t your typical RPG – most blockbuster role-playing games these days are often remade several times, but in this case, Dragon Quest IV has only been remade one time prior to this release.
In a nutshell, Dragon Quest IV tells the tale of a young man who is destined to save the world, as well as the story behind his partners, all of which have joined him for a common reason. The game is divided up into six chapters, excluding a prologue at the beginning of the game. Without a doubt, gamers should easily be able to squeeze at least thirty hours out of Dragon Quest IV.
Jumping .5 of a Dimension
Unlike the original NES version, Dragon Quest IV (DS) uses the same 2D/3D tricks that the Japan-only Playstation remake used. With that in mind, the developers have attempted to make the game feel like a brand-new experience while still keeping with the feel of the original. Using the DS’ unique capabilities, the game has now been redesigned so that the most of the over-world is presented in 3D, whereas character sprites are placed in the world in 2D.
When you think about it, it is sort of disappointing that Dragon Quest IV hasn't been totally remade in 3D. Square Enix’s last DS remake, Final Fantasy IV, was completely redone to take advantage of the DS. Even the graphics were redone to make the game look as best as it could on the DS. It is a shame to see that they never went that same distance to make Dragon Quest IV feel as fresh as that of Final Fantasy IV.
Seeing as Dragon Quest IV is from the NES-era, the game isn’t too complex. When the game was originally released, it made a huge impact on the genre, starting trends that were eventually made essential in role-playing games. With that in mind, you have to take into consideration that the game has sort of a vintage feel to it. Literally, it even looks and seems that way. The menus feel dated, the top screen is bland, and the mix between 2D and 3D is unsatisfactory.
This Quest is Over
So there you have it, a rundown of Dragon Quest IV for the Nintendo DS. Although Square Enix never put as much effort into remaking the game as they have done with previous games, Dragon Quest IV is what it is – a solid role-playing game that is fun to play, despite feeling a little dated.
No Pros and Cons at this time