GAMES - Review
08:29 - 3rd September 2013, by NEO Staff

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie

Cast your mind back to 1995 - what were you doing? Whether you were at school, starting a job or just a twinkle in your parents' eye, the chances are the one thing you were definitely NOT doing was playing Dragon Quest VI, as it was only ever released in Japan. Now, years later (long enough for some of our readers to have been born, grow up, and become strangely attracted to classic Japanese RPGS), the game has been released for the Nintendo DS, for the first time making its way to western shores. Was it worth the wait? Well, it all depends on your mileage for truly traditional RPGs - but we think this certainly cannot be labelled as a 'classic' by any means.

Anyone who played on the SNES during its heyday will recognise the kind of graphics on offer here - and they carry with them a charm that is all their own. DQVI is based on the same graphics system as the previous two games in the series, meaning that it'll feel very familiar to anyone who has picked those two up. Any fan of the Dragon Quest franchise will know that Akira Toriyama created the character designs for this series - another element to the game which will make it seem all the more recognisable to fans, even if you've never played a DQ game before.

The storyline, such as it is, varies at times from vaguely entertaining to dull and uninspired. For example, our protagonist doesn't even have a name. In the opening of the game, after a battle against a beast named Murdaw with comrades named Milly and Carver, our hero wakes up in his village and is asked to take some pots to sell in the market. There, he falls into a hole in the ground and wakes up in a parallel world, and must find his way back home. This plot device feels similar to Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, as you travel in between worlds in order to progress the story, so if you enjoyed that dimensional travelling aspect, you might find yourself warming to this title.

As far as the gameplay is concerned, DQVI plays in a similar way to previous incarnations of the Dragon Quest series, and feels very much like a continuation of that tradition, rather than any kind of innovation. The main action takes place in the classic style of random encounters and turn-based battling, although DQVI adds in a job system that allows you to personalise your characters to a large extent, gathering together skills and spells. With this expansion of abilities comes the flip side - expect a lot of grinding as you attempt to master your various skills and level up.

In porting this game to the DS, some additions have been made to make use of the new technology offered by the console, including a facility to exchange cards with other players in order to unlock content such as new characters. There is also a new mini game which uses the DS's touch screen, called Slippin' Slime.

Although the game offers many hours of gameplay, the chances are it'll feel very familiar to anyone who has ever played a game of this genre before. If that floats your boat, you'll definitely enjoy reliving the retro JRPG formula, but many modern gamers might find this a little too monotonous and repetitive to really enjoy, particularly as it lacks a real hook in the form of an absorbing storyline to keep you playing on.

This is one of the best loved of all the Dragon Quest games in its native Japan, but perhaps too much time has passed for it to work its charm on western audiences.
SCORE: 3.5/5
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