Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is the ninth instalment in the acclaimed Dragon Quest series by Yuji Horii, developed by Level-5 and published by Square Enix. If youâ€™ve been missing out on the traditional JRPG of late, then Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies fills, satisfies and indulges you in everything you need from this type of game. The main character begins as a guardian angel who has just undertaken protection of a human village. These angels have been trying for some time to move into the God’s Land. The villagers of this small town need proof of your devotion and cause to the village and you need to help them to gain back peace and tranquillity.
The idea behind this truly amazing game is to gain enough Benevolessence. This is the crystallisation of the mortalâ€™s gratitude. As a celestrian, your duty is the offering of this very sacred substance into the mighty Yagdrasil which is the great world tree. When the mighty Yagdrasil receives sufficient amount of Benevolessence, she will at long last bear fruit. The fruits she will bear are named Fyggs and these have untold powers. Celestrians are forbidden to show themselves to mortals – as long as the halo remains about your head, you will remain invisible.
Apus Major makes you into an apprentice and he appoints Aquila to deem you fit as the guardian of Angel Falls. Aquila makes you very aware of the evil creatures that seem to ambush innocent lives of your flock. As guardian of Angel falls, your objective is to fulfil your duty as a celestrian. As you wander around the small towns in the game, youâ€™ll come across local folk to chat to who will have a selection of quests for you to participate in and these side quests are shown as blue speech bubbles beside each villager. Youâ€™ll be asked to do a number of tasks from collecting tanglewebs to showing off your party tricks. Yes, your character can perform certain party tricks which can be assigned including such things as air punch, jump and pirouette. The quests can be done at any time, so donâ€™t feel the need to do them right there and then. Some quests come part and parcel with the storyline in which case these will need to be attended to.
Creating your character is simple as you can choose from gender, body type, hairstyle, hair colour, face, skin, colour.Â Customization is easy enabling players to choose whatever colour they want their eyes, to the colour of their hair. Players can choose which class from Hero, which is the best rounded, to Warrior, who can handle the more heavy type weapons. There is a good selection to choose from, but choose wisely. Players also get the opportunity to create new weapons and armour through alchemy, which can be performed with the various recipe ingredients you can find in treasure chests.
The enemies of the land are the coolest and chibiest characters Iâ€™ve ever encountered in an RPG, Mainly because they had some rather strange names and extremely funny bodies. During my battles I encountered a selection of large Green Cruel Cucumbers waddling before me and some blue slimes which are accompanied by a Sacksquatch and Teeny Sanguini. They all looked amazing in all of their sprite splendour. This is not to say that the game is not a serious one, just the fact that some of the enemies are completely comical.Â Youâ€™ll find yourself smiling without even realizing it until later. Visually, you can see the enemies in the grass plains and choose whether you wish to battle them, which means no random battles. Yay, I hear you cry. If thereâ€™s one thing I dislike it’s random encounters. Thatâ€™s what I love about this game, itâ€™s made battling a new concept for me, where I am the one in control for a change. The battle mode allows you to attack, cast spells, defend, use your abilities or various items in your bag. Or run like hell and flee. The more battles you participate in, the more experience and gold coins you will earn and what do gold coins mean?….goodies for you to purchase. Some enemies even drop treasures chests after battles which contain valuable items. Itâ€™s worth investing the time to find as many enemies across the vast land, because the more battles means levelling up, which in return will gives you the chance to gain new spells and abilities.
Talk to everyone in the towns because they all hold valuable pieces of information. Initially the storyline was a little slow for me, but once I had invested in enough hours I found that everything came together quite nicely. Put your life on hold if you really want to play this game to its full potential. It means business in a big way. The storyline unfolds into a world of mystery and intrigue. Youâ€™ll get to find out about past residents of the town and even see wandering dead souls who need your help to finish their unfinished business before they can be returned to the light.
There are plenty of shops to keep you stocked up in weapons, armour, medicines and herbs and the Inn provides rest and recuperation when youâ€™re getting too tired and youâ€™ll be introduced to the Planning party place. Yeah, I didnâ€™t quite understand that at first. Basically this is where you can get other party members who have skills to join you on your travels. Each of them has their own set skills and can be levelled up. You can choose which character you wish and even when youâ€™ve had enough of them you can return the character back to the inn.
The church in each village allows gamers to save their game and also offers other services such as divination, resurrection, purification and benediction. So if you or one of your party members has been poisoned or, dare I say it, died, then this is the place they can be healed or resurrected. Death is a serious matter, but I couldnâ€™t help smiling when one of my party members passed away and we were being strangely followed by a purple coffin behind us throughout our journey.
During your travels youâ€™ll encounter â€˜Stellaâ€™ who looks after the sparkly and shiny Star Flight Express, which is a train. The Starlight has been unusually active just lately. Itâ€™s down to you to find out whatâ€™s going on.
The storyline is incredible and you feel like youâ€™ve been sucked into another world. The game manages to capture everything amazing from traditional JRPG and adds a touch of magic to it. For some time now I had doubted that these type of JRPGs still existed, due to the fact that most of these types of games are filled with aimlessly wandering around vast amounts of lands to random encounters. But Dragon Quest IX has changed the dynamics and replaced my doubt with satisfaction. Iâ€™ve found it quite hard to put the game down.Â The game keeps you entertained and I felt that there was always something to do that required my attention. Dragon Quest IX allows players to feel in more control of their destiny. If you want the magic and if you love JRPGs then savour the goodness of Dragon Quest IX, because itâ€™s the best candy youâ€™re ever going to taste.