Review by Bkstunt_31
The return of Dragon Quest's job system.
Some things in life will remain ever constant: the rise and fall of tides, the changing of the seasons, and of course Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation is the latest (and perhaps last) port on the Nintendo DS system, finally making its way over to the US.
If you're a fan of the Dragon Quest series at all, you probably already know what to expect out of the game (especially if you've already played the re-releases of Dragon Quest IV and Dragon Quest V). After all, Dragon Quest games don't change TOO much. So, what can you expect out of Dragon Quest VI?
The story starts out with the main character and his allies taking on the dread fiend Murdaw, who is tormenting the world. Classic good versus evil. However, once they face Murdaw it isn't so classic anymore, as Murdaw easily deals with the party, seeming to banish them to another dimension. From there, you'll wake up at your house in a peaceful village with your "sister". What's going on here? Was that a dream? Maybe an omen? You'll soon be enlisted by the village elder to go buy a special crown for the village festival. However, on your quest to obtain the crown you'll have to rescue the crown maker, who for some reason is hanging onto dear life trying not to fall down a massive hold in the ground (who misses a giant hole in the ground?).
While trying to help him, you fall in instead. It turns out that the hole leads to another world, but the residents can't see you at all (like you're a ghost or something). But after a little eavesdropping, you'll find your way back to your own world through a well. You'll soon attend your village's festival, and almost right on cue the "mountain guardian" (whom the festival celebrates) will tell you that a great evil is out in the world and that you are chosen to defeat it, starting you out on your quest to become strong and save the world.
The story presented to you in the beginning is only a prelude of things to come of course, because as you imagine you'll soon have to make your way back to Murdaw. Make no mistake, this game is HUGE. Not only does it have those two worlds to explore, but there's more beyond that (it was the biggest Dragon Quest at the time it was originally released). The story itself is pretty generic and rather "ho-hum", but does attempt to establish a background history for all of your playable party members. This port doesn't focus a whole lot on fleshing out the character development, but does have a "party chat" function that is pretty useful as it lets you talk to your party members who will often talk about what to do next (which is VERY useful with a game this BIG).
Game play: 8/10
Ok, first of all this is a Dragon Quest game, meaning you can expect to see the standard Japanese RPG formula: random turn-based battles followed by gaining experience points and leveling up, which is followed by the ever-present need to find and buy the greatest equipment (just like every Dragon Quest). HOWEVER, Dragon Quest VI marks a return to the job-based system first seen in Dragon Quest III. Meaning that you will eventually gain access to "Alltrades Abbey" where you can assign each of your party members jobs. As you go out and fight, those jobs will level up (from rank 1 to rank 8), and you'll gain new abilities and spells along the way! When you master (or get sick of) advancing in a certain job, go pick another one! You'll also keep any abilities you mastered.
However, unlike Dragon Quest IX, you'll not be "stuck" in a certain role when you take on a job. For example, you can be a magician as the main hero and still use that sword you love. You may have less strength than if you were a warrior though. Once you've mastered two select "basic" job classes, you'll also be able to learn an "advanced" job class. For example, if you master the priest and magician classes, you can then be a sage. Overall this is the best "job system" game in the Dragon Quest series. The automatic AI system also returns from previous Dragon Quest remakes. This system lets you give orders to your teammates such as "Focus on Healing" or "Go All Out!" and have your teammates control themselves instead of manually giving orders to everyone.
There are a total of seven human characters to recruit throughout the game, but there's also a variety of monsters you can recruit as well! You'll have four members available to you in a fight, with four more in reserve (ready to swap out or jump in if the first four die). Any other monsters you recruit will be sent to the party planning places in towns until you want them.
Overall I really liked the job system as I liked to see my characters grow and mix and match abilities. Everything else is pretty much standard RPG fare, so I hope that's what you're expecting, as this game is HUGE.
Being a re-release of a Super Famicom game, the Graphics have obviously undergone some touch-ups and reworking to be formatted for the DS. The end result is something that looks like an ultra-refined, Super Nintendo (16-bit) game. Character designs are well done (Carver is HUGE and Milly is unique-looking), and the animations are simple but do their job. Battle animations are pretty simple as well, with most of the flashier graphics belonging to the strongest spells and abilities. It also seems to me that they added in considerably more enemy-attack animations than previous games in the series.
Being a Dragon Quest game, many of the series trademark monsters make an appearance, along with a few new ones of course. You can also rotate the camera left and right with the DS's shoulder buttons, which again is handy due to hidden doors in certain towns. There are also a few (very few) animated cut scenes that occur during the game's important story events, but they are very few and far between to be too impressed.
The soundtrack is very similar to previous entries in the series, with many string pieces that are often repeated in towns and while you are traveling. The one track that actually took me by surprise was the boss music, as the beginning of it sound pretty upbeat for a boss battle. More good music, as usual. Sound effects are another ever-present indication that you are indeed playing a Dragon Quest game, as the vast majority of them are in every single other Dragon Quest game. They do their job well enough though, so why change what isn't broken?
To be honest, I actually felt down by Square-Enix this time around. In most of their re-makes, they put in extra dungeons and bonus content, but as far as I can tell when I researched the differences between the original and this DS version on Dragon Quest VI, the only things they've changed is the addition of a slime-tossing mini-game and the reworking of the monster ally system. Of course, this game also has a bonus dungeon after the main game is done, but that came in the original as well.
Overall though, there is a LOT of game to play through before you beat it. Add on the well-done job system combined with the options to play in the various casino's, collect the scattered mini-medals for prizes, and compete in the slime arena (where your pet monsters can fight for fame and glory) and you have one heck of an adventure awaiting you.
Overall, Dragon Quest VI is a humongous RPG. Advancing through the job system is addicting and getting to mix and match abilities is always fun, but past that is a fairly average story and game play system, so make sure you are OK with playing this "old school" RPG before you jump in. Have fun and keep playing!
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (US, 02/14/11)
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