Dragon Quest VI: Realms of RevelationESRB:
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Wireless DS Multi-Card Play: 2
DS Touch Screen & Stylus
Over the years I have made it a point to purchase the remakes of classic role playing games from the past, such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy and of course the recent Dragon Quest releases. For the most part I have had the benefit of playing these games before, and playing them again with improved graphics has been an amazing way to experience these titles. That being said, Dragon Quest VI never made it to my side of the world having only been released in Japan and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect; but judging by the other titles in the series I felt pretty confident it wouldn’t disappoint.
Akira Toriyama has been the artist for the Dragon Quest series since it was known as Dragon Warrior on the NES. His art style shines through in Dragon Quest VI just as much as it did in its original incarnation and now with its graphical enhancements. Fans of the series will recognize his style from the eight other Dragon Quest games and those not too familiar with Dragon Quest may know him more for his work on Dragon Ball. With such an acclaimed artist working with Dragon Quest you are almost guaranteed a great graphical and artistic experience overall.
The artistic style really comes to life during the cut scene movies throughout the game and does a great job telling the story with the stunning visuals. Often with any game on the Nintendo DS you are left hoping for more of these great mini-movies, but unfortunately due to the restrictions of space you are left with only a small taste to satisfy.
The characters have their own distinct looks with hair style, eye formation and body size, along with hair and eye colour all being different and unique to each of the characters. The monsters are quite diverse throughout DQVI, with slimes (and all their incarnations) returning once again along with some interesting monsters such as barksman (a flying-dog wielding a crossbow), silencing ram (a minotaur looking creature with a special knack for silencing your team) and gustodians (ghosts with an affinity for wind attacks). As you might have noticed, the creatures throughout the Dragon Quest series often have crafty naming conventions, taking real words and throwing in a spin with something related to the monster.
Rounding out the graphical display are the countryside, villages (each village has its own unique design), towns and cities that reside in the Realms of Revelation. Walking through the countryside you will notice that many mountains, trees, water basins, rivers and oceans have been used to create a wonderful world with rich detail.
The sound effects throughout the game create a diverse and rich experience; from the many attack sounds of weapons, such as swords, staves or magical attacks, to the sound on the receiving end of the battle, such as when you receive a hit or even when a monster is defeated. Each moment receives its own unique sound effect, which adds to the well-rounded sound effects throughout the game.
Music, as is typical with this genre of game, is instrumental. A change within the music often differentiates the type of area you are in. Entering a city you are usually greeted with cheery, fast paced music that welcomes you. Dark, dank caves offer the opposite feeling, with slower more monotone music that gives the impression of possible or impending death. During battles with creatures, the music will increase in tempo with a different variation of the fast tempo for boss monsters. Overall, the great variety of music matched up with the right situation creates a great musical experience.
Being a remake from the Super Nintendo days, Dragon Quest VI plays like a traditional turn based RPG with the user deciding what actions his/her heroes perform, with the monsters returning the same deadly attacks and spells at the heroes. Turn based combat keeps on bringing gamers back time and time again and I am definitely one of those gamers that enjoys the adventure of taking my heroes, or in some cases anti-heroes, into battle and fulfilling the story set before them.
The story of DQVI follows a young man by the name of your choosing, who starts off on a simple quest to deliver some goods to a nearby town, where he is to sell them and commission a crown for his hometown's festival. As it turns out the Crownsmith has gone missing and you decide to go off and search for him, which leads to a series of adventures that end up being on a global level. Overall, the story is a classic RPG that leads you from town to town, and dungeon to dungeon, in an epic quest to save the world. The storyline keeps to the plot set out in the original title but fans who have played the original version will notice quite a few changes in the story.
The gameplay is not that complicated and is very easy to pick up and go, especially if you are a veteran of the RPG genre. Typically you go from city to city, and by communicating with the citizens you find out who needs help, and of course as a hero, you rush off to the rescue. Along the way you will encounter monsters, villains and other scum you have to fight in order to level your heroes.
Leveling your heroes increases your overall stats but you also level the mastery of your chosen vocation. There are several vocations available and some can be unlocked as you progress through the game such as: Warrior, Mage, Priest, Martial Artist, Merchant, Dancer and Monster Master. The skills you learn from each vocation are permanently available for your character creating endless possibilities where you can combine the skills of a Thief, Merchant and Dancer to produce the ultimate rogue or create a Warrior Priest by combining skills from the Warrior, Martial Artist and Priest vocations. Vocations can be learned/changed at the Alltrades Abbey, which becomes available after you progress through the storyline a bit.
During all of this you will have to go off to shops to acquire new weapons, armor and supplies to complete all of your missions and quests. If this isn't enough to keep you busy there is plenty more you can do throughout the game to add even more value to this title.
New heroes are recruited as you play through the story but you are also able to recruit slimes to your party. Slimes earn experience and level up like any other hero and can change their vocations as well, allowing them to become even stronger. Slimes are also able to compete in a battle arena in Slimopolis where they will face off against other creatures for valuable prizes.
Throughout the world of DQVI you will find Mini-Medals that you can eventually use to exchange for rare weapons and items to the Medal King. The whereabouts of the Medal King is quite secret though and you will have a good time searching to find out where the King is. Along with finding Mini-Medals you will also be able to play Slippin’ Slime, a mini-game that you control with your stylus. The game in essence is curling and you play the role of the sweeper where you have to make the ice in front of the slime (curling rock) and guide the slime as close as you can to the centre target to earn the most points. The game is enjoyable but tends to get repetitive and as far as I can tell there are no rewards for getting high scores. Slippin’ Slime is found in most inns and looks like a classic arcade machine.
DQVI does feature some multi-card wireless functionality once you find a house known as Suite Dreams. This is where you will design a Dreamcard to decide your appearance, disposition, occupation, hobby, speech style and your dreamscape (background) for your dream. After you complete your Dreamcard you can enter Dreamsharing (Tag Mode), which enables you to swap Dreamcards with other players who are in Dreamsharing as well. According to the game manual, if you exchange Dreamcards with a lot of people, good things will happen. However, I do not know many people who own the game and I don’t find draining the battery on my DS while I go out to run errands to be a good idea.
The gameplay is what I expected from a remake of a classic RPG that didn’t quite make it to North America the first time around. The only aspect of the game I felt they needed to add more of is some online functionality. Dreamsharing just didn’t entice me and had me hoping for some head-to-head action with slimes in Slimopolis.
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