I am really astonished with the popularity of the Dragon Quest series in Japan. Being one of the grandfathers of Japanese role playing game, Japanese people shows an understandable affection towards this game. When there is a new series set for release, the country is always in frenzy; and excitement rains down through the avid fans of the game. However, The Dragon Quest series is not just a hit in Japan but it is already hitting strides in the U.S.
The new series entitled Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is exclusively playable on Nintendo DS. The new series features character classes, item creation plus impressive multiplayer functions. It is as charming as it has always been; however, some features of the new series particularly the battle system is far too traditional.
The game starts by creating your character with the use of the game’s creation system. This gives you the chance to be creative when selecting the face type, hair style, etc. of your character. After you have created your character, you start off playing as a member of an angelic race of guardians. You have the opportunity and the duty to guide and protect mortals in the game. The gameplay lets you collect glowing seeds of light that has to be offered to the great tree Yggdrasil. The goal of your race is to let the tree bear fruit, which in turn becomes a symbol of ascension to the Almighty’s throne.
However, the adventure does not stop there as your hero is stripped off of his wings and halo and eventually cast down towards the land of the mortals. And this is where the challenge begins: you have to find (the player’s) your way back home.
As mentioned earlier, the new series has features that are traditional particularly JRPG’s. It is not a surprise to Dragon Quests loyal fans, however. Basically, the gameplay is all about getting into a battle by which a party can control at least four characters. You have the task of issuing orders to your party on how to fight off enemies.
The entire feature of the game - especially when it comes to battles - revolves around selecting the right option such as to attack or use some magic item. Your primary concern is the health and status of your party. The most exciting part is having boss fights. Your party encounters danger all throughout. The whole aspect of the game is quite conventional and traditional already. It won’t be much of a problem to the loyal gamers of the series but it may pose quite a challenge to those who are still beginners.
The positive features of this game include the number of different characters or Vocations as they are called in the game. There are Warriors, Mages, Priests, Thieves and Martial Artists. The strength of your party is totally dependent on the Vocations you choose.
The game is a multiplayer oriented game. Your friends need to also have their own copy of the game to be part of your party. If can’t find enough friends that have this game, you get a chance to choose vocations from your A.I. allies. It is quite a task to try and finish the game on your own. But there is a caveat when you create A.I allies; they don’t have emotions. They don’t do dialogues and they lack personality. This can create boredom for you as no interactions are going to happen.
A good move is to engage more often in the game’s multiplayer. You can create your game and let others join you to create a team. This is great system as it promotes team play for different players in the game. Other players can help in your quests and some can just wander off in the map. For players who just want to help their friend, the game itself provides a reward as you may receive treasures and money as well.
There’s still a lot of room for improvement in the game particularly the feature where your character’s appearance change when you switch battle gears. The features have not been exploited and elaborated well but you can probably expect some more improvements in future versions of this franchise series. The game is fun and exciting. It is a worthy investment and absolutely worth your time.