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Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation

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Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation

Image © Nintendo
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation for the Nintendo DS has an interesting history. The first version of the game hit Japan in 1995, but 2011 marks the first time North Americans have clapped eyes on an official release.

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation should feel familiar for fans of the franchise. That's good, as Dragon Quest is a solid role-playing series. But is this retro RPG still palatable after sixteen years in the vault? Mostly, yes, though it does leave behind a dry aftertaste that takes some getting used to.

Developer: Square-Enix
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Role-Playing
ESRB Rating: Teen

THE BASICS: Two Worlds in Need of Saving

You begin Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation in the shoes of a young boy from a small mountain village. You're given a seemingly simple delivery task that ultimately snowballs into a quest to save two separate worlds from an unspeakable evil. It's a pretty daunting request, but fear not: You'll recruit several friends who will help you fight. You'll also be able to take on jobs in order to acquire new skills and spells.

Dragon Quest VI serves up oldschool RPG fare that will ring familiar to fans of the genre. Your party responds to commands you dole out via a menu system, and you all take turns wailing on monsters using physical blows, magic, or special skills. You'll travel the world, visit towns, fulfill special requests, and generally spend up to 40 hours wending your way through the game before you take down the final bad guy.

Dragon Quest VI does have a unique trait: The gameplay is split up between two parallel worlds. The actions you take in one world might have consequences in the other.

THE GOOD:

A Good Sense of Humor - Like other Nintendo DS Dragon Quest releases, Dragon Quest VI is localized well and is packed with funny moments. Definitely a plus, as the characters in the game are otherwise a bit thin on personality.

Great Monster Designs - You'll be taking on some pretty original baddies in the game, all designed by the master manga-ka, Akira Toriyama. The beasts are also well-animated, which helps relieve some of the tedium of repetitive battles.

It's Challenging - You'll face numerous bosses in Dragon Quest VI, and they're all capable of flattening you unless you draw up the right strategy. The Dragon Quest series has never been very forgiving, and this one's no pushover, either.

Lots to Explore - With two worlds to hike through and plenty of loose ends to tie up, you'll be kept very busy with Dragon Quest VI for a long time.

THE BAD:

The Music's Not Very Memorable - Some iconic Dragon Quest themes make their way into the sixth installment, including the classic trumpet-rich fanfare. Otherwise, few of the tunes will stick to your memory, but they won't really get in the way, either.

The World-Switching Can be Confusing - The action in Dragon Quest VI takes place across two versions of the same world, and keeping track of the subtle differences between each world can be quite a task.

The Extra Features are Unimpressive - The Nintendo DS remakes of the Dragon Quest games usually add some fun extras to keep you engaged when you need a diversion from saving the world. Dragon Quest VI offers up "Slime Curling," which is moderately fun but overly difficult, and a "Dream Journal" which works similarly to Dragon Quest IX's Inn-building, but doesn't yield much reward.

Some gameplay features are antiquated by Dragon Quest IX - 2010's Dragon Quest IX successfully updated the old formula for Dragon Quest games, and going back to "the old ways" feels like a major step down. Random encounters, for instance, are present--and anyone who plays VI after coming off IX probably won't celebrate.

CONCLUSION: Dragon Aged

Dragon Quest VI is, overall, a tight game and pleasing enough to sit with on a rainy afternoon. Its dialogue is funny, and there are some neat ideas (you won't find a game that has a more varied handful of transportation methods). However, as far as Dragon Quest offerings on the DS go, it's not the strongest of the lot. It doesn't have the compelling story of Dragon Quest IV, the heart of Dragon Quest V, or the sheer depth of Dragon Quest IX. Dedicated Dragon Quest fans will definitely want a go at it, however.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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