Dragon Quest is a series that has recently gained much popularity in the last few years after the series earned critical acclaim years ago with Dragon Quest VIII in North America on the PlayStation 2. Since that time, loyal fans have eagerly awaited the separate releases of the earlier Dragon Quest instalments exclusively on the Nintendo DS. Following the success of Dragon Quest IV and V, the highly anticipated Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation has finally arrived on North American shores.
The game begins with the characters stricken with amnesia, with no recollection of events that have passed. On the night of the Fortune Festival in your village, everyone is in high spirits as you are given a surprise visit from a spirit that warns you of impending doom in the land. Along with your ragtag band of heroes, it is your job to save the world as you travel between the world of dreams and the real world on your adventure. You’ll team up with such allies like Ashlynn, a girl with no memory of her past, Carver, a hulking martial artist, and Milly, a woman with a mysterious past.
In battle, you can see both the tactics and battle tactics on the upper screen while you engage the enemy on the open field. The menu follows the standard commands in the form of Attack, Magic, Items and Defend. If you wish to avoid the hassle of ordering each and every party member, you can assign tactics to your teammates to act on their own. These tactics include Show No Mercy, Fight Wisely, Watch My Back, Don’t Use Magic, Focus on Healing and Follow Orders. Experience points are awarded after each battle and can be used for your choice of the character class for each party member.
Much like other Dragon Quest games, exploration is encouraged and you’ll often find valuable items by smashing pots, breaking barrels, browsing bookshelves and opening drawers. From earlier titles in the series, the wagon has made its return and can be used to swap party members for others on the world map easily. You also have the option of swapping the entire party out and selecting all the teammates again from scratch. Mini medals are also hidden and can be found in various places on the world map during your travel adventures.
You can view the stats and attributes of your party members at any time to monitor your experience points as well as your vocations. In addition, a separate screen of mastery levels for vocations is accessible to track the spells or abilities of your teammates. Attributes include but are not limited to HP/MP, strength, resilience, wisdom, style and agility. If you’re unhappy with your vocation, they can be changed at Alltrades Abbey in the game which in turn will allow you to learn other spells and abilities for other respective classes.
If you are completely paralyzed or die in battle, the entire party will be revived at the nearest village or your last save point. Items and experience points will be kept but you’ll lose half of your gold. Team members can only be revived by the use of magic or at church when you are revived after suffering defeat in battle. Status ailments to watch out for are the usual Sleep, Poison, Paralysis and Confusion.
The slimes have returned and some of them will join your cause this time around. You can level up your slimes in battle by earning experience points and taking them to, yes you read that right, the Slimopolis battle arena. They can be added and removed from your party at Patty’s Party Planning Place. The more you compete and the more you succeed, the greater the prizes and victory spoils. Much like your party members, slimes can also learn abilities and master select vocations.
A unique feature of this game is creating a Dreamcard. The Dreamcard essentially lists your stats like occupation, hobby, appearance and speech style. At the Suite Dreams, you can share your card with other players by Dreamsharing that allows you to reap rewards. This is done by talking to Sharon, the maid at Suite Dreams and enabling Tag Mode via Nintendo’s wi-fi connection. You can share and receive up to 24 dreamcards with other players at any time.
Visually, the game is polished with sharp environments and detailed character designs by Akira Toriyama. The soundtrack, composed by veteran Koichi Sugiyama, is reminiscent of past Dragon Quest games and is a fitting compliment to the game.
Dragon Quest VI is another great title in this series that still manages to hold intrigue and charm amongst hardcore and casual RPG fans. Those that have played the earlier DQ games or DQIX on the DS will still find lots to enjoy in this game. Though the visuals and gameplay are nostalgic of the old school style of RPG titles, DQVI is another reason to sink your teeth once again in this delightful series.