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Dragon Quest VIII 3DS – First Impressions

Previously I’ve talked about the mobile version of Dragon Quest VIII, while visually more impressive than the original game on the Playstation 2, the touchscreen nature of a 3D game was kind of awkward. On top of that, it seemed like the text in the battle sequence was squashed together to fit the aspect ratio of the phone screen. Now we have a “true” handheld port of this game on the 3DS.

For those who were salty over the lack of voice acting missing in the mobile version, the voices are back in this version. My only confusion is that they couldn’t get Jessica’s actress back, though maybe the actress from Dragon Quest Heroes is the new canon actress. It’s sort of like how the voice for Chie Satonaka in Persona 4 got replaced, and they’re sticking to it.

Another missing feature, is the beautiful orchestral music. This is probably due to the space limitations of the cartridge format, and also the original Japanese game never had it. While definitely not a deal breaker, it would be a nice feature, but we’re happy that Square actually wanted to release a Dragon Quest game in the US based on the delayed release of both DQ7 and 8.

As for the actual gameplay, it plays very comfortably on the 3DS. The game does play better on a New 3DS, as the second stick makes camera control a lot more at home. Using the trigger buttons are fine when you just rotate the camera left and right, but using the D Pad for camera control is pretty awkward.

They did take something from the mobile port. They took the exclamation points for interactive items. While not a necessity, it’s probably there to easily identify for new players what you can and can’t interact with. While a neat feature, veterans probably won’t pay it any mind.

One of the biggest features in this port, is something Enix has been using in the series since DQ9, is that random encounters are replaced with enemies generated on the field. While the original game didn’t have a crazy rate of random encounters, like say Final Fantasy 2’s PS1 version, or Digital Devil Saga, it does encourage exploration more when you don’t feel bogged down with random encounters. It definitely isn’t an unwelcome modern addition to this game.

Another change taken from DQ9, is with the alchemy pot. Instead of having to walk for a certain number of steps, waiting for your concoction to be done, it not instantly creates your items. A feature that I highly doubt much of anyone is going to complain that’s missing.

One new feature unique to the 3DS version, is that they added in a feature where you can take pictures. Probably added in for the Street Pass feature of the 3DS, it adds a social aspect to the game. Also with this, a guy named Cameron Obscura (real clever Enix), asks the player to embark on a series of picture related missions. You earn stamps, like when you partake in quests in Ni no Kuni, and you might earn some items from it. Not sure really, as I haven’t gained enough stamps, or care about the feature much.

Dragon Quest VIII on 3DS is definitely a great port on a portable device, and you’ll definitely enjoy it for fans new and old alike.

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Dragon Quest VII Remake – First Impressions

About a year ago, I reviewed the original Dragon Quest VII, and is a game I quite enjoy. It’s a game that’s infamous for its length, though apparently a game very few people have actually seen the end of. It’s a game that’s fairly difficult for keeping people’s attention to the very end. The game also takes a really long time for you to level up, while it does artificially inflate the time, it’s still a really long game regardless.

15 years later, I finally get my hands on what I hope is the definitive version of the game. The graphics in the original were a bit dated for being a late release on the original Playstation. The remake looks very good. It’s nice seeing the characters moving their mouths when they’re talking, including the NPC’s. While the music isn’t orchestrated, the midi soundtrack sounds pretty good so far.

What might be a drawback for those who loved the inaccessible aspects of the original games, would be how aspects of the game feel a bit streamlined and toned down. A lot of the beginning was cut out to get you to the action a lot faster. In the original game, it was a good two hours or more to go through the beginning dungeon, and you finally get to your first battle. In the remake, I was 90 mins in, and already on level 5. What this also means, is that leveling up doesn’t seem to take as long, well so far at least.

The beginning of the original game did do a good job at making you curious at the mystery in that shrine, it does seem odd to have a scavenger hunt to get you to the dungeon, and an even longer time going through a lengthy dungeon with lots of puzzle solving. Most RPG’s try to get you to the action in the beginning to introduce you to the battle system, which is what you’ll be dealing with a majority of the time. The original game? Nah wait 3 hours.

One aspect of the remake that I feel makes things less annoying, is the tracker for the shards. In the game, you collect shards to unlock pedestals to access further places in the game. The original game had you search every nook and cranny in the hopes to find them. The remake makes that a lot easier, there’s an indicator that flashes one is nearby. I’m sure somebody out there enjoyed that the original game had you search high and low for them, but honestly, it makes it annoying to backtrack in the hopes of finding a shard. This is one of those cases where making it easier is a lot helpful.

The remake of the game so far is very promising, and honestly, I’m not sure how they could really mess it up. ArtePiazza’s remakes of other Dragon Quest games are very faithful and very good remakes, so there shouldn’t be any way they could ruin this remake.

Dragon Quest – Review

The grandfather of all JRPG’s, Dragon Quest is probably the most important RPG that will be mentioned in this blog. While not the first console RPG, it’s definitely the one that set the template for every JRPG to follow. With its simple menu system, turn based combat, top down view, leveling up, and even equipping items.

Released in Japan in 1986, series creator Yuji Horii wanted to bring role playing video games to a wider audience, as the genre was relegated to PC’s, which was still a niche demographic. The technical limitations of the NES posed a problem, as old PC RPG’s were very complex, and some even required a large book just to play the game. Horii got creative and created a very simple, yet very effective template for the menus, which then became the base standard for many RPG’s to this day.

The game came out three years later in North America (localized as Dragon Warrior due to licensing issues over a similarly named pen and paper RPG). With this version of the game came many differences, most noticeably technical differences. The original Famicom release utilized a password save system, but the NES version introduced a battery save function. Also the graphics were updated, as the player and NPC sprites all faced on direction, the NES version not only improved the quality of the sprites, they also gave them graphics for facing different directions.

Like many other games in the franchise, Dragon Quest was remade several times, and unlike the original Final Fantasy, did not change any of the game mechanics and were really just graphical updates. The game was first remade for the Super Famicom, and was made using Dragon Quest V’s engine, and also contained Dragon Quest II. While it looked and sounded significantly better than the 8-bit original, it doesn’t look as good as later SNES games (especially with later DQ releases like DQ6 and the remake of DQ3), and was really just a souped up NES game. Despite this, it was the best looking version of the game for many years. Sadly this version never left Japan, but English fan translations exist.

Then came the Gameboy Color remake, which also came packaged with Dragon Quest II. While inferior to the SNES version in both graphics and sound, it was still better than the NES version. Luckily this version came to North America, and was probably the best looking way to play the game. This version also sported a quick save, which made things much more convenient, as you could only save by talking to the King in previous versions. Though the quick saves were merely temporary, as loading one deletes the save.

The game was remade yet again for mobile phones in Japan. This update sported significant graphic and sound updates, but was originally never released outside of Japan. Later these games were ported to Android and iOS devices with slightly updated graphics, and touch screen capabilities. This version is definitely the best looking version of the game.

Story:

Many years ago the legendary hero Erdrick (Loto in the Gameboy version) defeated an evil creature and gained the ball of light and restored light to the land. Erdrick handed the ball to the king of Alefgard who held onto it, as it brought peace and prosperity to Alefgard. There was a man who shunned the ball of light, and stole it. He man then met up with a dragon and then tamed it to obey his every command, and the man is later discovered to not only be a dragon himself, but is the Dragonlord. The Dragonlord later became corrupted by learning magic, and then began to wreak havoc across the land of Alefgard. Erdrick returns to defeat the Dragonlord, but is never heard from ever again.

Several years later to the present time, a mysterious warrior appears in Tantegal Castle, and the king tells him that a dragon has appeared and kidnapped Princess Gwaelin, and you are tasked with saving her. Thus your adventure begins.

Gameplay:

The game is a very bare boned and textbook RPG, though it also wrote the textbook for the core template. It plays like every other top down RPG with random encounters. It definitely feels incredibly archaic compared to later JRPG’s (or even later Dragon Quest games), though the genre had to start from somewhere. You play as one character the entire game, and you never gain any party members.

Battles incredibly simple. You fight one on one with every enemy in the game. Compared to later games which introduce strategy in battles using different skills or classes, this game lacks any of that. The only thing one must do to progress through the game, is to just level up. The only way the game slightly deviates from that, is that you can also buy or find better equipment that gives you a better chance in battle.

The game also doesn’t necessarily deviate far from the only two objectives in the game, save the princess, and defeating the Dragonlord. The first half of the game is really just you grinding your ass off to not only get a high enough level to beat the dragon who kidnapped the princess, but also to collect enough money to have the equipment to survive it. The second half slightly deviates from that, with you collecting items that gain you access to the Dragonlord’s castle, but you still spend a large chunk grinding.

Visuals:

Like every Dragon Quest game to follow, characters and monsters are designed by famed Dragonball artist Akira Toriyama. While the NES version does retain that for the monsters, the graphical limitations do hinder it. Though compared to other NES RPG’s, this one looks very comparable. Like mentioned above, the various ports are all graphical enhancements that all look very nice for the platforms they were designed on, which the mobile versions being the best.

Music:

While not having very many audio tracks, the game still has very iconic music, ranging from the series fanfare, to towns and battle music. The game also is the origin of the famous jingles for when you level up and even when the battle ends.

The music is very good, and like every other Dragon Quest game, has its soundtrack performed by a symphony orchestra. Definitely worth a listen.

Verdict:

Dragon Quest is a classic game, but not one that’s very recommendable to a modern audience. While an incredibly important game, it hasn’t necessarily aged well, and is really only there for players who are either hardcore Dragon Quest fans, or just hardcore RPG fanatics. For today’s gamers, it’s definitely worth a play for curiosity’s sake.

Music: 7/10.
Visuals: 7/10.
Story: 5/10.
Content: 5/10.

Conclusion: 6/10

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen Review

The Dragon Quest series is a household  name in Japan, but in the US, hardly anyone that isn’t an RPG fanatic know of this series. This game is the first in the loosely connected Zenethian trilogy of Dragon Quest games. When I mean loosely, I mean very loosely, as the only real connection between these games is that there is a castle Zenethia, and the dark world of Nadiria as the demon world. Other than that, they really have fuckall to do with each other.

The original version of this game was released in 1992 in the US as Dragon Warrior IV. While a very late release for the NES in the US, its impact in the realm of RPG’s with its innovative storytelling, and the final boss Psaro with its multiple form boss fight. The game was remade for the PS1 using Dragon Quest VII’s engine, and was planned for a US release as entailed in the back of the DQ7 manual, but it never came to be. The game was again remade for the DS, but is more like an enhanced  port, rather than a full on remake, as it’s just an updated engine.

Story:
The first part of the loosely connected Zenethian Trilogy in the series, IV decides to split up the game into 5 chapters, with the first four chapters focusing on a different character, or group of characters, that all come together to join you in the final chapter where you finally get to play as the hero you named before you started your adventure. Each chapter has a miniature story that you go through that, like the characters, all come together in the final chapter.

You have:
Chapter 1 – Ragnar: a soldier in the castle town of Burland. He discovers that the children of a nearby village have been disappearing and he must go and rescue them.

Chapter 2 – Alena: Alena is the tomboyish Tsarevna (princess) of the Russian speaking land of Zamoksva, she sneaks out of the castle to go on an adventure to test her strength. She is followed by her tutor Borya and her priestly friend Kiryl.

Chapter 3 – Torneko: Torneko is a merchant from a small town with a dream to run a thriving business with his family in the castle town of Endor. Out of all the chapters, this one is quite strange as it’s not as very action oriented as the rest of the game. You spend a large chunk of the game either running stores, and even running around raising money to have items for your store.

Chapter 4 – Maya and Meena: Maya and Meena are two dancers who go out on a quest to exact revenge on the man who killed their father.

Chapter 5 – Hero: You, the Hero’s, peaceful hometown has just been attacked by monsters and during this, your dying friend reveals that you are really the Legendary Hero and you must follow your destiny to rid the world of evil.

The PS1 and DS remakes also contain a prologue and a Chapter 6. The prologue consists as an intro for the hero, and Chapter 6 is the aftermath of defeating the evil Psaro the Manslayer.

Unlike many of the Final Fantasy games, Dragon Quest as a series isn’t necessarily renowned for its rich storytelling, the series largely focuses mostly on the quest. That’s not to say the story is bad, it’s just not a story driven game. You should also keep in mind that this was originally an NES game, so the storytelling can feel archaic to those who aren’t familiar with the style of retro RPGs.

Gameplay:
For the gameplay, it’s largely the same from the NES original, but there are a couple of archaic features that have been updated from the original. They added in auto-target, which is where if two party members target the same monster and one kills it before the other, the second one will attack a different monster. In the original, the second character would just miss, which would mean a lost turn. They also gave you a bag which gives you a limitless inventory. Also in the original, in Chapter 5, your party members were on auto-pilot, which they removed so you can choose to manually control your party.

For the unaltered gameplay, it’s your typical JRPG, so there isn’t much to explain that people don’t already know since the series is known for its very traditional gameplay. The series is largely the standard model other RPG’s based themselves off of. Everything down to the exploration and battle system is very standard. For the very standard turn based battle system, you can either manually control your characters, or pick between different tactics where your everyone but the leader is on auto-pilot. This is all done in a first person view, so all you see is the monsters and the portraits of your character above your stats. So if you were looking for a unique gameplay experience, then you’ll probably be very disappointed.

Graphics:
The graphics may be loads better than the NES version, but if you’re expecting fancy graphics for the DS, then you should look away. The game looks like a souped up SNES game, but it’s detailed enough to make you not really worry about it. Despite looking like a fancy SNES game, the towns and dungeons are in a somewhat 3D environment. While still keeping a top down view, you can rotate the camera a full 360 degrees around in villages and in certain dungeons. With this, you can notice that the buildings and trees are actually made of polygons that add more depth to your environment. While the PS1 version has a more isometric town with 2D sprites with the houses looking more three dimensional, the DS version looks more smooth and the houses blend with the sprites better than the PS1 version.

The game utilizes both screens in an interesting fashion. Much of the game takes place on the lower screen, but when you’re in towns and in large dungeons, the visuals extend into the top screen, giving you more to see. This is a pretty neat feature, and adds more depth to your world, allowing you to see how large the castles and such are. In the overworld, the top screen shows you the world map. It’s interesting how accustomed you get to this when you decide to play the NES version, and you’re having to search for a map to figure out where you’re supposed to go.

A complaint that some people have with the game is that there is a lot of cookie cutter graphics that they have throughout the game. They have sprites for the same generic townspeople, down to the trees and houses in the towns. Despite the fact that each town has a unique layout to it, some people are not satisfied that the various towns themselves feel too copy and pasted. Though if you’re familiar with the franchise, this isn’t anything new, but if you’re a newbie to the series, this is something to consider.

The artwork is where Dragon Quest is known for. Returning to the series, the famed manga artist Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame once again has come to design the characters in your party and the monsters. While he designed them for the NES game, the DS game does more justice to his art. The monster sprites in battle, while two dimensional, are animated and the animation for the spells are nice enough to get the job done. Another minor complaint newbies to the series will find is that as you get farther in the game, they’ll start color swapping some of the monsters. If you’re a veteran to the series, or to other RPG’s from that era, it’s not that unusual (even Final Fantasy is still guilty of it), but it feels a bit lazy for modern gamers, so you should keep in mind that this is a game from 1992.

Music:

For the music, series composer Koichi Sugiyama returns to compose the music. While a massive step up from the simple NES soundtrack, it still sounds massively similar to the PS1 version, but the opening Dragon Quest theme is performed by a real orchestra which is always better than a midi track. The interesting aspect of the soundtrack is that they have different overworld themes for each chapter, and they even change it in the middle of the 5th chapter when you gather all of your party members from the first four chapters.

The music itself is very well composed and sounds fantastic when performed live in a full orchestra, so if you really enjoyed the soundtrack, each DQ game has a full orchestral album. The town music itself is very bright and cheerful and you’ll end up humming the theme when you’re visiting in and out of town. While there are several tracks on the OST, it’s not as diverse as modern RPG’s, so you’re going to end up hearing the same town music in pretty much every town that doesn’t have a castle and the same cave music over and over. So if you’re looking for a diverse soundtrack, this might be a concern for you if you easily get sick of hearing the same songs over and over.

Dragon Quest IV is a fantastic game and is highly recommended for those into the classics, but if you’re a fan of modern RPG’s, this game as a whole will probably feel too archaic for you. So if you’re not a hardcore RPG fan, or looking to bask in classic gaming, Dragon Quest IV is not the game for you.

Music: 8/10.
Visuals: 6/10.
Story: 7/10.
Content: 7/10

Conclusion: 7/10

Dragon Quest VII (aka Dragon Warrior VII) Review

Released in Japan in 2000 and in the US the following year as Dragon Warrior VII (keeping with the naming of the previous titles in the US, also keeping with tradition, it wasn’t released in Europe), it was the highly anticipated addition to the legendary role-playing series Dragon Quest and went on to selling over 4 million copies making it one of the best selling Playstation games. Especially when it’s boasting that the main story takes at least 100 hours to beat.

Well, it was only highly anticipated in Japan and the vast majority of those sales were from Japan. It went a bit under the radar in the US and became sort of a cult classic.

Are the Japanese and US audience that widely different?

To explain how this happened, we should start with a quick history lesson. Dragon Warrior IV was the last title released in the US before Enix decided to stop releasing games outside of Japan. So while Enix released 2 new games, and remade the first 3 for the SNES, the rest of the world was left out of the blue. It wasn’t until 2000 when Enix finally decided to release games in the US.

So while Enix started with releasing remakes of the first three games on the Gameboy Color and were critical successes, commercially they weren’t impressive. So by the time Dragon Warrior VII came out, there wasn’t a massive hype like the latest Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda title, because we missed out on 5 releases, and there’s a nine year gap between DW4 and DW7. So a possibly successful series was made more or less forgotten by the general gaming community.

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Dragon Warrior VII also had two more things working against it: the Playstation 2 was already out, and so was one of the biggest titles in the entire library, Final Fantasy X. So not only was the rival series already on the next generation console, Dragon Warrior VII’s graphics were also pretty lackluster for a late PS1 release, so in presentation alone, it couldn’t compete against even the previous Final Fantasy title which was released the year before and looks several times better.

So enough on the history lesson, let’s actually review the game:

Story:

DQ7 is the first standalone game in the series as the first 6 consisted of two trilogies, though the second trilogy barely has anything to do with each other.

The game takes place on an island, the only island in the entire world while the rest is wide open sea. In keeping to the tradition of Dragon Quest games, the silent hero has no default name. This time you play as the son of the fisherman Borkano in the small fishing village blandly named Fishbel. You have two childhood friends: Maribel, the bitchy and bossy charming daughter of the mayor of Fishbel, and Keifer, prince of the neighboring city of Estard, well the only other town in the world.

The game begins with you and Keifer exploring the forbidden ruins to the east of town with Keifer wanting to figure out the secrets of the ruins. The two of you finally reach a strange set of rooms with several mysterious pedestals. You realize one of the pedestals has a stone slab in the middle of it and you piece it back together with some of the pieces lying around. Sadly it’s missing a piece and you walk back home empty handed. The following day, shit happens you guys come across the final piece and Maribel talks you into letting her join you into the ruins. When you guys finally completed the tablet a strange flash of light engulfs the trio. The three of you wake up in a strange forest and discover you’re in a foreign village in the past, so finally the quest begins.

So when Enix is boasting that this game takes about 100 hours to beat, they weren’t fucking around. That was the entire opening sequence and that takes 2 hours and then you finally run into your first battle and the actual quest begins. Most other Dragon Quest games (hell RPG’s in general) your first battle takes place the instant you leave town. This is one of the biggest gripes that American gaming critics had with the game.

Enix sort of “cheats” with the story by not making it a continuous story. The game is largely episodic with the main story interspersed between the episodes. The main goal of the first disc is to go back in time and restore the various villages by stopping the problem that has plagued the past, and then the landmass around the village will be restored in the present. After it’s been restored, you must visit it in the present and stalk it for more shards to complete the pedestals to allow access to the other villages. That’s the entire first disc in a nutshell, and that’s the first 60 hours of the game.

Disc 2 itself takes another 40 hours of the game. While I would have been satisfied with the game just being disc 1, disc 2 is a nice addition and adds more to the story.

The story itself is largely depressing, and can get pretty dark at times. While you venture through the game, you’re going to run into stuff like racism, natural disasters, towns ravaged from warfare, multiple acts of genocide, and slavery. So if you’re someone who cries easily, get your tissues ready for this game.

Gameplay

The game is very similar to other Dragon Quest games by keeping to the traditional RPG mechanics, so there isn’t much to explain that would be unfamiliar.

While largely untouched from the previous entrees, they do introduce a diverse class system to create some variety to aid your strategies in battle. While the class system was first introduced and only used in DQ3, 7 has made many improvements to it. Unlike in 3, your class levels up separately, and at a faster rate. This is because once you max out the level of two classes, you can unlock a hybrid class to gain much stronger abilities. The slight downfall for some people is that only certain combinations unlock hybrid classes. A plus side to the class system is that once you change your class, all of your abilities transfer over, thus increasing your movepool which comes in handy the farther you get in the game. One aspect of the class system some might find tedious, is that you can only change your classes at the Dharma Shrine, and there is only one in the game. So every time you want to change your classes, you must treck back to it. Luckily by this point you have the Zoom spell which you can warp travel.

So for such a large game, the gameplay is a very standard RPG with the gameplay doing nothing special or new, so if you want a very unique experience, it only does so through its storytelling, not through the gameplay.

Visuals

While the graphics themselves are decent, it suffered in development hell for several years, so while it would probably have been impressive as an early PS1 title, its development struggles made it a late release which makes the graphics feel really dated when compared to late PS1 games like Final Fantasy IX, and even Persona 2. Like I also mentioned above, it also looked really poor considering that the PS2 was already out and, in the US, Final Fantasy X was lightyears ahead in the technical department. So while it does seem poor as a late PS1 title, it’s not to say the graphics are bad, they get the job done for the most part.

Like every other Dragon Quest game, the monsters and characters are designed by Dragon Ball artist Akira Toriyama. The graphics engine is also the template for the DS remakes, so there isn’t much to discuss that hasn’t. Though the game’s view is more isometric, instead of top-down like the DS games, and the graphics aren’t as good as the DS has better graphics than the Playstation.

Though while the graphics are a bit dated, but get the job done, the game does have some very awkward cutscenes. It seems like Enix wanted to catch up to Square’s PS1 RPG’s by having cutscenes to show off the Playstation’s prowess, they look so out of place when you compare the cutscene to the graphics from the rest of the game. It’s even more drastic than Final Fantasy VII where at least the characters in battle resembled the custscene depictions. The cutscenes in this game look nothing like Akira Toriyama’s artwork. It’s pretty much like playing Final Fantasy VI and throwing in Final Fantasy 7 cutscenes.

Though luckily if you exclude the opening and ending cutscenes, there’s only about 2 cutscenes at most, so DW7 at least spares you the misery.

Music

Returning to the series, series veteran Koichi Sugiyama returns to compose the music to the game. If you’re familiar with his music in the other games, there isn’t much to talk about as the soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. While not my favorite soundtrack in the series, it still gets the job done, and the music does help set the depressing mood of the game. Like every other Dragon Quest game, there is a fully orchestrated version of the soundtrack available.

Verdict:

Despite its dated graphics and monstrous size, it’s one of the stronger titles in the series, but this game isn’t for the faint of heart. So while it’s not a very recommendable title for casual RPG fans, or people becoming interested in RPG’s, it’s still a very solid game that’s a definite must have for RPG fans who want a very deep and engaging game. Especially for those who are looking for a game that will last them awhile.

Music: 7/10.

Visuals (Or Graphics): 6/10.

Story: 9/10.

Content: 8/10.

Conclusion: 8/10

Dragon Quest Erdrick Trilogy Mobile: First Impressions

For the first time ever in the US, the first Dragon Quest trilogy has finally been released under the Dragon Quest title. When originally released in the US they were labeled as Dragon Warrior, and that’s how it was until the Square Enix merger, and they finally started releasing the series under the real series title of Dragon Quest. Now that only leaves Dragon Quest VII as the only one with the Dragon Warrior title, that is until Squeenix finally decides to release the 3DS remake, which they should…

Anyway….

These versions of the games were originally released on Japanese mobile phones, and then were updated for Android/iOS devices. I will say, for the first two games, these are the best versions you can get. For Dragon Quest III, I would say the SNES versions is slightly better. Though that’s only because the SNES and GBC versions have monster animations during the battles, but this version doesn’t. You would think if the GBC could handle it the mobile games could, but I digress.

That doesn’t mean this version  of DQ3 is bad, you are basically just getting a port of the SNES version, but with better audio quality for the music. The lack of monster animations definitely don’t break the game. For DQ1 and 2, it looks like they got the ideas of the graphics from DQ3, as they look very similar and look several times better than their SNES counterparts, which didn’t look that much better than their NES counterparts.

The gameplay itself for these games are relatively unchanged. Similar to their GBC demakes, they allow a quick save feature, except these work a bit better. In those games, if you loaded the quick save, the file is instantly deleted. So if you restarted the game, your save point is lost forever. In these versions, they stay. The only minor drawback, is that you can only do this for one game file. So if you have multiple save files, you’re stuck with hard saving at a King.

The gameplay has been optimized for playing on  touchscreen, and has also been optimized for playing with one hand. It does take a bit of getting used to, but you’ll get the hang of it. Also it’s not like you really need two hands to play a Dragon Quest game anyway, there were several times where I was playing one handed, as all I needed was the D-Pad and used the L button to talk and confirm menu choices.

Also these games optimized for phones, not really for tablets. While I can’t vouche for Android tablets, the iPad version is really blown up and pixely compared to playing on the iPhone. You would think they would up the screen resolution if they say it’s an iPad app. The iPhone version is the same resolution, but it doesn’t look as bad as the iPad, as you’re on a smaller screen. It doesn’t really look that bad, but it’s still pretty pixelated.

Here’s a screenshot I took myself:

So if you’re looking for some good retro RPG’s and want to play some classics, then definitely jump on board with these games. Personally I believe DQ3 is the better out of the three, and has aged the least. DQ1 may feel a bit too archaic compared to the other two, but if you want to play the game that laid the templates for console RPG’s to come, then jump on board with this.