The Old Is Still New: A Review of Dragon Quest VI

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Dragon Quest is insanely popular in Japan. Here in the US, however, it’s also insanely popular. And I’m perfectly okay with this as the games tend to be extremely high quality. Squanre-Enix, doing what they do best, decided that it would be a great idea to remake a bunch of old Dragon Quest games for the Nintendo DS, an act that’s wonderful as this finally brings some of the other Dragon Quest games to our shores in a language we can understand. Dragon Quest VI is the newest title to make the transition, but was it worth the wait? Read on and find out.

The cover art alone is getting me excited. Can the game live up to that?

Dragon Quest VI originally debuted on the Super Famicom in December of 1995 as the last in the Zenithia Trilogy, but here in the US the most we got was Dragon Warrior IV, a version of Dragon Quest IV (we called things Dragon Warrior here). We’re coming down the end of the DS’ lifetime thanks to the 3DS coming out next month, so now more than ever it’s critical for a title to stand out as the best of the best in terms of quality and value.

Thankfully, Dragon Quest VI is a title that reminds us not to do away with the old ways just yet. DQVI is entirely faithful to the old-style RPG’s that have long since begun to fade. The first thing you notice is that the graphics aren’t in full 3D but rather sprite-art, keeping them true to the original game but still updating them heavily to a fine polish. In battle, enemies are also sprite-art, but they move in such a hypnotic way that you’ll think twice about saying anything bad about the old style of graphics. Basically, DQVI looks magnificent with Akira Toriyama’s usual flair everywhere. Purists will be extremely pleased.

It really is a game you need to see in action to appreciate.

The story is also one of those things that harkens back to the days of the SNES/Super Famicom, though that makes sense as the game originated there. I don’t want to get into the story details, but this is definitely a JRPG, meaning all the usual baggage that goes along with those types of games is prevalent here just as much as it ever was. The story is far from bad, but smaller instances and side quests have a more satisfying feeling than the main story does, mostly because the entirety of the story doesn’t really feel like one big whole until very late in the game.

Any small nit-picking aside, Dragon Quest VI is a must-buy for fans of both the Dragon Quest titles and fans of old-style RPG’s, such as myself. Everything here is crisp and carefully put together, making a product that’s easy to recommend, even at the usual $40 price tag for Squeenix games on the DS.

You get what you pay for here, and games this good you gotta pay.

One part of the game that’s particularly old school is the constant random encounters. Yes, those aren’t necessarily everyone’s favorite part of the game, but here you’ll encounter just enough monsters to place you at a level high enough to fight the next boss with a good degree of fairness. You’ll find yourself grinding very little in the overall game, save for the ending where the rude awakening happens and the final boss reams you mercilessly. If this sounds like fun, congrats, you’re still a fan of the old style of RPG’s and Dragon Quest VI is a must-buy for you.

And that’s really all there is to say. You’ll love it if this is your thing and find nothing here to like if this isn’t. It’s that simple. Squeenix may be doing awful things to the Final Fantasy name, but Dragon Quest is just as good as it’s always been. So, anyone interested in picking this one up?

Want more game reviews? Check these out:

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

1 Comment

  1. Excellent review, Chris. You’ve basically summed up why I like the DQ series so much. You should’ve warned them of the puns and wordplay strung throughout, though. From the names of certain enemies, to some towns, puns are pretty prevalent. It even put a few of my friends off of playing the game because they couldn’t handle them.

    I used to watch my older brother play this series when it started on the NES, but I wasn’t really interested in playing it myself til I tried his copy of the DS remake of IV, and I totally fell in love with it! Since then, I did some research on the series, and quickly played the other games.

    Playing them was like playing your standard swords n’ sorcery fantasy tale, but it was being told with some really cheeky wit, and I totally loved it. It’s like the gaming equivalent of Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” books, except the games not quite as satirical.

    The spin-off games are also pretty decent, like “Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker”. Hoping “Monsters: Joker 2” gets a release Stateside. I’ve seen Japanese trailers for it on YouTube, and it looks brilliant. Anyway, keep up the good work! 🙂

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