I apologize, but my gaming got sidetracked during the holidays. My brother and I continue our RPGTrek with Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation. This game concludes the Zenethian trilogy in epic fashion. While you don’t get married, or have kids, you do meet a lot of new friends and search for your true self. And, in this game, you get adventure in not one, but two worlds! Your next RPGTrek story is only a click away!
JOURNEY OF A UTAHN POLYGAMEIST
DRAGON QUEST VI: Realms of Revelation– Review (Update)
As I have noted on other social media sites and our RPGTrek page, my brother and I have decided to table this series for a while. Attempting to play through nine Dragon Quests games in a row proved to test our patience and tolerance for a formula that tends to repeat itself through each game in the series. Dragon Quest VI, the current game on our list, worsened this challenge even further, which I will detail below. For us, we did not feel it fun any longer, which is the reason we play.
We may return to this game and/or series in the future. So, I feel it important to jot down my impression of the Dragon Quest VI, now about 35 hours into the game. Should I pick the game up at a future point, this entry, along with the journal I did earlier, will help me to pick right up where I left off.
Dragon Quest VI on the Nintendo DS looks, sounds and plays very similarly to the previous games in the Zenethian trilogy, Dragon Quest IV and V. However, it takes some ambitious steps in an attempt to one up those games, so to speak. Instead of one, large world to explore, players have two; the real world and the dream world. The number of towns seems to exceed the previous two games combined. Dragon Quest VI even brings back the beloved class system found in Dragon Quest III, but offers more choices than ever before. Yet, sometimes, bigger is not always better.
Before I jump into the story and larger issues plaguing this title, I would be remiss if I did not touch on the new class system. Similar to Dragon Quest III, you character can earn points in a chosen class with every victory against monsters similar or tougher to the character in level. Unfortunately, they introduced this system after I grinded considerably to deal with a tough boss, thereby rendering those character unable to earn class credit for some time. Regardless as you earn so many points, you gain class levels, and skills. Once you earn eight levels or so in class, you master it and may switch to another. Your starts change depending on the class, but you can use learned skills no matter which class you chose. Unfortunately, unlike Final Fantasy V, your characters do not change appearance with the classes. Finally, some classes have more basic classes as pre-requisites. Ultimately, while I did enjoy the system somewhat, it felt slightly frustrating at time due to its lack of transparency, and a bit shallow.
The story starts off in a somewhat traditional manner. You play the hero, sent out from a humble village to run some errand. Before you know it, you’re involved in helping the nation fend off some great evil. Yet, along the way, you discover there’s two worlds, not one. After defeating the great evil in both lands, you find out two riveting discoveries. First, monsters continue to populate the planet. Next, you are not the real you. No, you are the dream version of you. You must find the real version of you, running loose somewhere in the world.
While somewhat original (Zelda: Link to the Past references aside), the plot just does not move fast enough for me after those initial reveals. For the next 15-20 hours after that, my party heads from one town to the next, guided by a seer (or just what towns we get access too after gaining new forms of transportation), helping people and discovering little in the way of the main story. While this adheres to the formula of most Dragon Quest games, I found the longer time between main plot points disconnecting me from caring about the characters. You meet several companions within the first dozen hours or so, many which have an interesting story, but those following 15 hours or so has no development, aside from a few lines from the party chat function. It does not help that they do not feel as original or entertaining as the ones from Dragon Quest IV, or the wife from Dragon Quest V.
Sometimes, in Dragon Quest games, players may get lost as to where to go or what to do next. This becomes an issue, often enough, when one earns a new form of transportation, allowing them to go to places they had never been. While the new feeling of discovery can exhilarate, larger map sizes, and the fact there are two lands, really work against the pacing of the game here. At one point, I got the ability to dive my ship underwater, like a sub, opening a whole NEW world (and effectively doubling the size of explorable areas). With no clear direction of where to go next, I spent HOURS finding a new location to experience the next part of the story, thanks, in no small part, to the frequent random encounter rate.
Using a FAQ became a must. Even my brother, who normally excels at finding hidden items/areas and figuring out what to do next, found himself seeking outside sources of information. The size of the game and sheer number of event locations scream for an open world experience, but, at the same time, so much of the game is set up as a linear experience, as well. You cannot advance plot point D, until you pick up Item C after visiting town B, which you find out from talking to NPC A. Miss any of those, and you will roam around the vast, open areas for hours until you happen to do what the game expects you to do next. Or, you decide to break down and read a guide.
Update: I returned to the game and finally defeated it. Honestly, it became such a chore, for me, as the game progressed. Unlocking some of the higher classes and skills provided some enjoyment, but, honestly, I just wanted the game to end about 2 dozen hours before it actually did. Beyond cliché, the story and plot lacked inspiration and spark. Like a movie that does not know when to end, the plot drug on way too long. Given my experiences with all of the previous DQ titles, I felt that character development provided great opportunity for the series to grow by a bit. Alas, we not only get none here, but we get 3 dozen more hours of gameplay to experience the lack of forward progress in the characters.
The ending requires that the player talk to several people at various locations, but, honestly, I did not have it in me. I turned it off before it was done because I was done. Stick a fork in me boys!
Honestly, I cannot recommend DQVI. So many better alternatives exist on each and every system… including my personal favorite of the series so far, Dragon Quest IV.