This reverie is a revelation.
With the launch of the incredible Dragon Quest IX, many gamers were left with two thoughts. The first thought was of how damn good the game was. The second thought was as to why it not been until the ninth installment that the Dragon Quest series had truly presented itself to the masses, which is an understandable thought. Here was a game that was being enjoyed by so many gamers, surely the earlier games would be equally as good, offering further adventures in this magical fantasy series.
Obviously something must have rung true somewhere, because in the blink of an eye we have one of the earlier entries in the series, Dragon Quest VI: Realms of reverie (or Realms of Revelation in the US). But, to all of the fans of Dragon Quest IX, there is a warning here – Dragon Quest VI may not be what you are expecting.
This is largely due to the fact that Dragon Quest VI was originally released in 1995 on the SNES. They were simpler times back then and this is very apparent in the game. Following the standard formula for RPGs at that time, DQVI offers the player a lengthy story with a huge number of random encounters and battles, something which most modern RPGs tend to shy away from, that enable the players party to level up and earn cash. Then, of course, there is the way the game looks.
DQVI has been given an overhaul on the visual front, bringing it more up to date with the modern games. But this doesn’t stop it from looking dated. How dated really does depend on how much nostalgia you are feeling at the time. The audio tracks on the other hand, have been polished up to an impressive standard, instantly making the player feel at home within a Dragon Quest game.
The story within DQVI follows the hero who, suffering from amnesia, has to save not just the real world, but the dream world as well, from a great evil. It is all pretty standard fantasy fare into which fans of fantasy will find themselves able to get completely immersed. Through the story, the player Will explore dungeons and towns, meet new characters who will then join the players party, and indulge in lots of combat.
The combat is turn-based and will give the player a choice of actions with their characters, before allowing the enemies to have their turn. As the player adds new characters to their party, a certain level of strategy comes into play as different characters bring with them different skills, making them able to fill certain roles in encounters. Whilst all of this is very straight forward and will be easy to get to grips with for any RPG gamer that has been around for more than five minutes, the level of difficulty in DQVI is set rather high and will come as quite a shock to those that enjoyed the more comfortable difficulty in DQIX.
Something that is sure to please both newcomers and DQ fans alike will be the Slimes. In DQVI, players will not only be facing Slimes in battle, but will also have the chance to capture them and then add them to their team. Once in the team, players can level them up and even change their class. More emphasis is put on the importance of Slimes in the game with the addition of a mini game that sees the player launching a Slime down a runway. The Dragon Quest Slimes have perhaps become the most endearing characters from the series, and it is more than evident in this game.
Dragon Quest VI is a long game that will keep the players going for in excess of 50 hours. But the relative grind that this massive adventure involves, consisting of so many meaningless random encounters, may not be enough to keep the new DQ fans interested. It is a great game, but perhaps one that is more suited to either long time DQ fans, or those with a strong sense of nostalgia.