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Thread: Dragon Quest Franchise

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Kellhus's Avatar
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    Default Dragon Quest Franchise

    The only DQ game I've ever played is the original one for NES. I barely played that even and know next to nothing about this franchise. I'm interested in getting into it though and am wondering which game might make a good entry point? Basically, I'm looking for the Final Fantasy IV of the series if that makes sense. I like a decent plot, a solid cast, and music is very important to me. Interesting gameplay mechanics/systems are a plus as well. I don't want to start with an ultra grindy one either.

    I'd appreciate hearing any and all thoughts about the franchise though. Where it peaked, where/if it's started to trail off, fan favorite titles, major development team changes, etc. Also I see there is a lot of remake/port stuff going on, and I'm not sure what the deal on that stuff is.

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    Banana (Level 7) fahlim003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellhus View Post
    The only DQ game I've ever played is the original one for NES. I barely played that even and know next to nothing about this franchise. I'm interested in getting into it though and am wondering which game might make a good entry point? Basically, I'm looking for the Final Fantasy IV of the series if that makes sense. I like a decent plot, a solid cast, and music is very important to me. Interesting gameplay mechanics/systems are a plus as well. I don't want to start with an ultra grindy one either.

    I'd appreciate hearing any and all thoughts about the franchise though. Where it peaked, where/if it's started to trail off, fan favorite titles, major development team changes, etc. Also I see there is a lot of remake/port stuff going on, and I'm not sure what the deal on that stuff is.
    All the games in the series have an emphasis on grinding since they ascribe to the idea of being "old school" or carrying on the legacy of the initial games. Story in many cases is lacking as well, at least, you'll get so little of a story between exploring the world map/battling that it almost doesn't matter if you take a long break from the game.

    I'm most familiar with Dragon Quest 8 and it's a long, grind heavy, experience. 9 I have no idea about but I've heard mixed thoughts about it. Many people seem to enjoy 5, on Super Nintendo/PS2/DS, and in some ways can be seen to have more character depth than ever before which as result lends itself more to the story. 6 supposedly has great game-play but is lacking in (main) character depth. No really idea on 7 but it seems to share some common ground with 8, albeit perhaps not as interesting.

    To me, the game that best uses the Dragon Quest formula without feeling dull is EarthBound. There is grinding but the quest in general is in great contrast to much that came before it. I think it's the complete package and usurps DQ easily.
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    Insert Coin (Level 0) ishashobar's Avatar
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    i would go so far as to call DQIV a good entry point, if only because of the sheer amount of variety in the different chapters. Though sadly, when it comes to translations, it comes down to a choice between the dated mid-evil speak of the NES or the difficult to comprehend and content cutting DS version.

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    simply put dragon warrior 3 is the best one to get into (go with the snes or gbc version as they have the most content) it captu4res the best parts of the series without the misfortune of trite boring story, its just hard core adventuring and exploring as the game should be (if you want long complex stories about zipperboy fighting against the evil empire, go play final fantasy). Dw3 has the class based system that you can spend days/weeks leveling up and customizing your party, highly recomended if you prefer gampelay over storyline, 4 and up slowly inched thier way closer to the final fantasy formula (which to be fair isn't a bad formula, but dw3 is still amazong) 4-6 are very linear where 3 kept with the dw feel of being allowed to explore the world without being punished by having to follow the story.

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    I would say start at Dragon Warrior 7 for the PSX.

    Dragon Warrior 7 is easily the best in the series. The only problem in Dragon Warrior 7 is the very beginning of the game, where it may take you around two hours before you get into your first battle. The storyline plus a decent sized dungeon at the beginning of the game.

    The storyline of Dragon Warrior 7 is that your island is the only one in the current existence. You find a shard a picture on a pedestal only to be teleported to that location. Each location is an island that has their own storyline and has their own problems, eventually causing the destruction of that island. Fixing the problems in these areas add these same locations to the future where you're from, which everyone on your own island discovers that there's a new land, etc.

    Out of every game in the series that I've played, Dragon Warrior 7, although still having to grind a decent amount in some areas, isn't as grind heavy as most of the titles. It also has the best battle system.

    While not my favorite, and one of my least favorites in fact, Dragon Quest 8 is probably the easiest to get into. It's mostly similar to your standard RPG. It's very story heavy for a Dragon Quest title, there is very little grinding compared to the rest of the series, and the characters have mostly fixed abilities that still branch out depending on how you level the characters up. The game is one of the best looking games on the PS2 which is always a good thing.

    So there's my two choices. Dragon Warrior 7, the best in the series, or Dragon Quest 8, probably the easiest to get into and not a bad game.
    Everything in the above post is opinion unless stated otherwise.

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    I'm really not sure why people always talk about grinding in DQ games. I hardly ever find myself grinding in most of them (DW for the NES has grinding when you start out, and then in a couple of spots later, but otherwise it's not too bad). The only time I do any grinding in the modern ones is when I want to max out the classes. 8 I guess has some grinding to beat the end boss, but otherwise it's a breeze.

    I'm also surprised to hear people on here say things like "bare bones story" or "very linear." Seriously? I'm playing 6 right now and the game keeps giving me new vehicles to open up new places I couldn't get to, but there's always several different places I can go explore with each new vehicle. Yeah, the story itself is kind of linear, just like any other RPG of the era. But especially in 6 you can do things in different order. (This one is probably the least linear, but 4 also is pretty non-linear when it comes to forming your party and playing as different characters to see each storyline.) And how are these games "bare bones" when it comes to story? In 5 you start out as a little kid accompanying your dad. You gradually discover your past, your lineage and your father's quest, embarking on it yourself. Then you get older, get married, have kids and they go with you on your quest. As I said, 4 has distinct storylines for each of the party members and then they all converge. 6 is a little less story driven, but makes up for it by being the most non-linear of the bunch (not to mention turning some RPG conventions on their head).

    Oh and Earthbound SUCKS.
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    Dragon Quest V on DS is where I'd start. It's got a well written multi-generational story, which makes it a little more interesting than some of the other games. It also, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't cut content the way IV did.

    It's also been reprinted and is therefore affordable again. That's a plus!

    Dunno man. Any of the mainline Dragon Quest games are fun JRPGs. There's not really a bad one in the bunch, especially if JRPG is your genre. Personally, I hate the genre but I enjoy DQ games.
    Last edited by G-Boobie; 02-01-2012 at 02:43 AM.

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    Dunno man. Any of the mainline Dragon Quest games are fun JRPGs. There's not really a bad one in the bunch, especially if JRPG is your genre. Personally, I hate the genre but I enjoy DQ games.
    I wouldn't agree to this. I may have loved the first game when it was the only RPG I owned, but it's now one of my least favorites. I own and have finished over a hundred RPGs, probably 200 or 300, never actually counted my RPGs, but I'd place it in my bottom 20. Considering that it's the first JRPG that's not a really bad number, as Final Fantasy 13 and Resonance of Fate would also make my bottom 20.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kupomogli View Post
    I wouldn't agree to this. I may have loved the first game when it was the only RPG I owned, but it's now one of my least favorites. I own and have finished over a hundred RPGs, probably 200 or 300, never actually counted my RPGs, but I'd place it in my bottom 20. Considering that it's the first JRPG that's not a really bad number, as Final Fantasy 13 and Resonance of Fate would also make my bottom 20.
    That's fair. To be on front street, I last played DQ 1 ten years ago on Gameboy Color, whereas I played through the DS remakes and IX a couple years ago. Minus VI, which I'll get to eventually, and I played 8 when it was a new release.

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    The ones I'm thinking of starting with are IV, V, or VII.

    I want to start with IV the most, but I don't like playing games on DS, and I don't feel like playing an NES game (the NES is stashed away at the moment and I'm too lazy to get it out). So it's either play the DS version, which supposedly has cut content, or play the NES one, but I didn't want to start with an NES one. What kind of content is cut in the DS version? Should I just suck it up and play it?

    For V, I think I'd want to play the SFC fan translation.

    For VII, I just want to play it because it seems to be praised very highly, and supposedly it's like 100 hours and that sounds interesting. I've played a lot of RPGs, but I can't say I've ever played one that had a 100 hour completion time optional things aside.

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    If i remember correctly, the Snes and GBC versions of DQ1 were tweaked so there is not nearly as much grinding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ishashobar View Post
    If i remember correctly, the Snes and GBC versions of DQ1 were tweaked so there is not nearly as much grinding.
    Yeah. Double exp or a huge increase of exp, one or the other. While a totally different series altogether, the same with Breath of Fire 2. The GBA version is the better version because of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellhus View Post
    For VII, I just want to play it because it seems to be praised very highly, and supposedly it's like 100 hours and that sounds interesting. I've played a lot of RPGs, but I can't say I've ever played one that had a 100 hour completion time optional things aside.
    Well. In Dragon Warrior 7, you'll probably doing side quests along the way, breaking every vase to find tiny medals, etc, so you'll probably hit the end at maybe 70 hours or so. The thing is, is that the game is legitimately long though, but it's not one of those games that you get a part of the way through and you're hoping will end soon. That's happened to me before with a few games. That kind of feeling, no matter how enjoyable it was early on, just ruins the game because it drags on too long. That feeling probably isn't there in Dragon Warrior 7 because each town has its own mini story that you conclude to save the town. One town can be saved or destroyed, though(I chose poorly.)

    The two largest side quests in Dragon Warrior 7 is a monster town and your own town. With the monster town, I actually thought it was a really unique aspect of the game. It ends up taking a ridiculously long time to fill, but you have a huge town with nothing but monsters that you've captured. You can't purchase anything or anything like that, just have a large town that has multiple types of areas that different monsters will hang out at in the town. You can talk to them, they'll each give you a couple different lines of text that really doesn't do anything, just might be a humorous comment. With your town, depending on the way you build it, it can be a normal town, a monastery, a merchant town, or slums(yes, I used a guide from Gamefaqs to find out how to unlock each of them.) Each town gives you some of the best equipment in the game, so you'll probably want to work towards them all, finishing with the slums since it has a casino.
    Last edited by kupomogli; 02-01-2012 at 11:55 AM.
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    If you're looking for a memorable cast of characters 4, 7, or 8 is the way to go. All the games 4 and beyond feature solid gameplay so long as traditional RPGs are your thing. Personally 7's my favorite as I'm a sucker for time traveling story arcs.

    And 8 was amazing, but maybe only to me because I already loved the series, and it perfectly transitioned into 3D without losing any of it's charm. May not be that big of a deal to someone coming into the game as their first DQ experience.

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    i'm curious, although 4 was my least favorite due to the lack of party control in chapter 5, what was removed in the ds remake? and 5 was re-issued? I was never able to find it when it was out...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzwing256 View Post
    i'm curious, although 4 was my least favorite due to the lack of party control in chapter 5, what was removed in the ds remake? and 5 was re-issued? I was never able to find it when it was out...
    I have never played it but I always heard there was a party chat feature in the Japanese version where you could converse with characters in your party. So if you forgot where to go they would talk about their next destination and it also helped flesh out the characters a bit. Think Phantasy Star IV and Tales of Destiny 1.

    Beyond that I'm not sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzwing256 View Post
    i'm curious, although 4 was my least favorite due to the lack of party control in chapter 5, what was removed in the ds remake?
    Yes it was. Also they added a chapter to the end.

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    I say start with the first one and go all the way through..i loved every one of them, all though 2,3,and 4 are my favorites

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daria View Post
    Yes it was. Also they added a chapter to the end.
    so nothing major was lost but there WAS new content at the end? might have to finish it then.

    I could care less about the party chat stuff, i prefer that there is less charecter development in dw games, leaves more to the imagination for me.

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    Dragon Warrior III is my personal favorite in the series, but it doesn't really fit your criteria. That said, I think Dragon Warrior IV or Dragon Quest V would be more what you're looking for. They both have decent plots, the characters aren't total blank slates (although characterization has never been one of the series' strong points), and they both have pretty cool gameplay mechanics.

    A lot of people hate on Dragon Warrior IV because of the AI system... that is, in the fifth chapter the only party member you can control in-battle is the Hero. It doesn't help that the AI isn't very bright... such as a certain character repeatedly casting instant death magic on bosses and other enemies that are immune to those types of attacks... but the AI system is actually one of my favorite things about the game. I like the element of randomness. Note that the DS remake of DWIV lets you turn off the AI and control all of your characters manually.

    Speaking of the chapter system, a lot of people don't like that, either. Mainly because by the time you actually get to control the main character, the game is already halfway over. Not to mention that five chapters, and five different sets of characters in each one, means five instances of level grinding your way up from level 1.

    Dragon Quest V, instead of the chapter system, features a generational system. The main character starts the game as a child, then becomes a teenager, and then finally finishes the game as an adult. The story is deeper than the one in DWIV (although the villain isn't nearly as interesting as Necrosaro), and the characters are far more colorful. It also introduces the ability to recruit monsters into your party, which can be equipped like the human characters, level up, learn magic, etc. This game was a precursor for the Dragon Warrior Monsters series.

    All in all, I'd say you'd enjoy either DQIV or DQV. It just depends on which description above appeals to you more. Still... if you can handle a paper-thin plot and absolutely no characterization, I can't say enough good things about Dragon Warrior III.

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    DQ, along with Final Fantasy and Megami Tensei, are the 3 pivotal JRPGs series in Japan.
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    DQ4 DS's cut content is only in comparison to the Japanese version, and it's really not a huge deal some people make it out to be. Should party chat have been localized? Sure. Does the lack make the game horrible? No. It's not like there was party chat in the NES version, so unless you keep up on imports and such, you wouldn't even know there was anything cut.

    Some people also complain about all the accents used by the various towns, but personally I love them them and think it really adds a nice atmosphere to the game. When you get to a new area, you really think you've journeyed someplace different rather than down the block.

    I would say start with DQ8 on the PS2, though. It's not just the best looking DQ, it's one of the best looking PS2 games around; it's like a cartoon come to life. Gives you a chance to try out the gameplay without feeling like you're playing something from the dark ages (not that there's anything wrong with that).

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Kellhus's Avatar
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    I think I'm going to end up playing the NES version of IV. I didn't want to start with an NES game at first, but I hate playing games on my DS for long periods of time because it cramps the hell out of my hands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kal Zakath View Post
    All in all, I'd say you'd enjoy either DQIV or DQV. It just depends on which description above appeals to you more. Still... if you can handle a paper-thin plot and absolutely no characterization, I can't say enough good things about Dragon Warrior III.
    I'm not opposed to paper-thin plots or zero characterization at all so long as the gameplay makes up for it. Story ultimately doesn't mean much to me, but a fairly interesting and cohesive plot can be a plus. I'm curious what you have to say about DQ III? What makes it stand apart from IV gameplay wise?

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Kal Zakath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellhus View Post
    I'm not opposed to paper-thin plots or zero characterization at all so long as the gameplay makes up for it. Story ultimately doesn't mean much to me, but a fairly interesting and cohesive plot can be a plus. I'm curious what you have to say about DQ III? What makes it stand apart from IV gameplay wise?
    The biggest difference is that DQ III has a class system that's a lot of fun to mess around with. You choose three other party members aside from your Hero (you can pick the three premade characters or 'roll' your own) from a list of Soldier, Fighter, Pilgrim, Wizard, Merchant, or Goof-Off. In this way it's sort of similar to the original Final Fantasy for the NES.

    Each of the classes have their own strengths and weaknesses... the Soldier is strong, but slow; the Wizard is weak, but possesses powerful magic; the Good-Off is horrible, but can change into the secret Sage class without the necessary item. At a certain point in the game, you'll be allowed to change your characters' (except for the Hero) classes. When you do this, the character returns to level 1 and their HP/MP and stats are halved (which basically makes them a level 1 character with level 10 stats), but keeps any and all magic they learned during their previous class.

    By doing this, you can make a Soldier that can use healing magic, or a Wizard that can tank physical damage. There's also the Sage class that I mentioned before, which learns every spell that a Pilgrim and a Wizard can use, but can only be accessed by leveling up a Goof-Off or finding a rare item in one of the game's dungeons.

    In contrast, the characters in DQ IV are all pre-set. Ragnar will always be a Soldier, Taloon will always be a Merchant, etc. These characters already have histories and back stories, but you don't really get to customize them beyond their equipment. They become even less interactive once the AI system sets in.

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    I think for story/characters especially, DQV is the best of them all. Nothing wrong with it's gameplay either, and the DS version isn't missing any content. You also have your choice of Super Famicom, PS2, or DS, as all three are available in English now. IV and VI are also quite good games, even if IV still doesn't have an "ideal" version to play (hopefully someone will translate the PSX one someday, or re-insert the party chat to the DS one).

    III is pretty good if you are into class systems and making your own party, yeah. You won't find any memorable characters in your party that way, but the game itself is quite enjoyable.

    VIII is indeed, as said above, a good example on how to take a 2D series into 3D without sacrificing what made it great to begin with. Very good characterization going on in that one, excellent gameplay, it's a good one.

    I would not really recommend VII to someone trying to get into the series / not wanting much of a grind. That game is like climbing a very tall mountain in RPG form. It's a long, long game. It's a good game, but when it comes to "which should I play first/next?" questions I general do not feel suggesting it is the best idea. Similarly I think IX is not a great entry point either. But that's my personal thoughts there, obviously some people disagree.

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    I remember playing the original Dragon Warrior for the first time around 2000 or so. It was insane. Your basically a lone warrior wandering a wasteland of monster killing everything in your path.

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