This is complete remake of Dragon Warrior VII that was released by Enix in late 2001 for the original PlayStation One. Dragon Warrior VII is the last game, of a long list of Dragon Warrior installments, to have the title Dragon Warrior in the U.S. After Enix and Squaresoft merged, the trademark for Dragon Quest in the U.S. was registered and subsequent releases were titled Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest is the original title for the series in Japan. I only bring this to your attention in case you played any of the original Dragon Warrior games on the NES, Dragon Quest VIII on the PS2, or the Dragon Quest remakes on Nintendo DS.
The story is comprised of a bunch of shorter stories that develop as you discover new islands from the past. This makes it nice for those who wish to play the game, or afforded time, only in small spurts. The game starts out with 3 main characters, a fisherman’s son (the protagonist), a prince named Kiefer, and a mayor’s daughter named Maribel who believe there to be life and adventure beyond their lone little island. They fall upon a mysterious shrine that unlocks lost islands from the past, by collecting magical stone tablets they find on their adventure. When you solve what problems plague each town in the past, it magically makes the island appear several years ahead in the present. You get to see the repercussions of your assistance in the past reflected in how they interpret and see things in the present. Your task is to travel the world, both past and present, for these lost shards and to bring these forgotten islands back to the present.
I warn you, this game is VERY long; arguably one of the longest games there is. It will take over 100+ hours to finish this game, and much longer for those who are completionists. This can turn off some who only want to play a game for a short duration, such as 25 hours. One of the reasons this game took so long to localize to the U.S. is due to the enormous amount of text that has been retranslated and localized for its release. There is no voice-acting, meaning everything will be text-based; and there is a TON of text. So be prepared for a lot of reading.
This game hasn’t deviated too much from its roots, despite being a remake. The battle system is a classic turn-based system: Attack, Defend, Magic, Item, etc. There is quite a bit of grinding involved (fighting monsters for experience, which levels up your character and makes them stronger). However, compared to its original version, the speed in which you level up is a lot faster. What makes the game shine is its character classes that unlock about 20 hours into the game. This allows you to learn new skills or spells, or increase specific attributes related to your chosen class. There are about 30 different classes to choose from and makes customization of your party your own. There are a number of puzzles to solve within each story which makes it a good balance between story, combat, and thinking. There is also a StreetPass system, where you can collect Traveler Tablets which can then be used to enter randomly generated dungeons filled with monsters and treasures.
I thoroughly enjoy this remake. This was one of my favorite games when it came out in 2001, and is reminiscent of my experiences back then. Some of the new features are welcome and help speed up the pace of game. If you enjoy role-playing games this would be highly recommended. I would suggest however that if this is a gift, you purchase it for someone at the age of 12-13 or up. There is a lot of text related to the story. This can make it difficult or discouraging for those that don’t have some of the vocabulary or comprehension to understand. Combat is turn-based style as well, which can be a turn off for youngsters who are more accustomed to fast-paced action styles more prominently seen in this genre. I feel the ESRB rating for this game is appropriate (Everyone 10+), although I must admit I don’t recall seeing any actual blood or reading any offensive language.
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