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Nintendo / Square Enix






T (Teen)



February 14, 2011



- Classic, tightly refined RPG experience
- Fast battles, faster rewards
- Tons of (optional) character dialog and content



- Nothing new for naysayers
- Slow, plodding start
- Streamlines some mechanics while stubbornly sticking to others



Review: Dragon Quest IX (DS)

Review: Dragon Quest V (DS)

Review: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)



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Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation

Score: 8.0 / 10


dragon quest vi          dragon quest vi


In an industry where every gaming franchise tries to innovate or improve upon its foundations, whether successfully or not, no single series has remained committed to sticking to its guns like Dragon Quest. Square Enix’s prestigious JRPG juggernaut has remained consistent with its gameplay mechanics and aesthetics for as far back when it was solely Enix property before the two companies merged. And based on its twenty-plus years of popularity, Japanese fans wouldn’t want it any other way. And even though Dragon Quest doesn’t carry quite as much weight in North America as its longtime rival/silent partner Final Fantasy, fans of classic role-




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playing games have just as much cause to celebrate Nintendo’s continued localizations of the series’ handheld remakes, adapting titles once exclusive and un-translated during their original SNES stints.

The story of Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation opens immediately with the nameless hero and his fellow adventurers getting ready to face the big bad Murdaw in a battle to determine the


fate of the world. Typically enough, things don’t go so well, as the group is instantly vaporized before we even get acquainted with them. Fortunately, the hero awakens in his home village, seemingly unfazed. But was it really a dream, or a prophecy of things to come? Following a simple delivery request from the village elder and our hero soon finds himself stumbling onto another world that greatly resembles his own in both name and location, but with several alarming differences.

It’s a surprisingly complex story for what basically amounts to the tried-and-true premise of a spiky-haired youngster and his cohorts saving the world from certain destruction, and one that should seem especially familiar for fans of both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross (the main character designer, Akira Toriyama, is responsible for the former as well as the entire DQ series, after all). While the hero remains silent, his cohorts have oodles of things to say…provided you take the time to hit the “Talk” button to read their opinions, of which they have one for virtually every single piece of dialog from NPCs or story-related situations as they occur. This effectively doubles (if not triple) the amount of dialog in the game, but it also allows gamers to identify themselves with the likeable cast of party members, from the well-meaning muscle-headed Carver to the perpetually cheerful Ashlyn. Don’t let the cute visuals and by-the-book plot points deter you, DQVI is prone to hit you with its dramatic moments that the series is fondly known for.

But the most cherished feature, as usual, is its basic but ever-addicting RPG mechanics; keeping it oldschool as always, DQVI features 2D sprites in a top-down view, formulaically visiting towns to gather information and improve equipment, to visiting deep dungeons to fell ferocious foes while discovering hidden treasure, and so on. If getting attacked by enemies every five steps while grinding levels doesn’t sound appealing to you now, then DQVI won’t do anything to change your mind.


dragon quest vi         dragon quest vi


But for long-time fans of the genre, it’s a tightly refined system that continues to be effective; There are small streamlined touches that even the most big budget of RPGs today still have yet to employ, such as the ability to instantly teleport to any visited town or location, or the incredibly fast-paced battles that last mere seconds but instantly reap rewards with each gained level. Likewise, there are still some annoying mechanics that continue to persist throughout the DQ games out of a stubborn need for “tradition”, such as the required visit to a church in order to resurrect a fallen comrade; while there are resurrection spells that can bring them back on the spot, they usually only offer a 50/50 chance of success; there is also the over-abundance of unnecessary text during battle, as well as the rather lengthy process of saving your game.

For the DS editions, the difficulty has also been lessened as a likely appeal to more casual gamers, although this has the adverse effect of turning the first few introductory hours into a somewhat mundane experience; before he starts recruiting party members, the main hero must fend off against weak enemies who tend to outnumber him five-to-one. As a word of advice, be sure to invest in a boomerang (a weapon that can attack multiple foes at once) to speed the boring beginner battles along.

The visuals for Realms of Revelation remain largely unchanged from the previous DS iterations, minus a few additional animations on the sprites; for gamers who experienced the SNES era of RPGs, the visuals will suffice as a nostalgic trip to yesteryear, but anyone expecting an innovation of touchscreen controls had best look elsewhere, as the stylus serves no purpose in this game (beyond a rather uninteresting mini-game). The audio is also a treat, transporting gamers back with its classic compositions.

Put simply, Dragon Quest VI is exactly the same as the five games before it, and lacks the visual innovations of its console successors (or the recent 3D-laden Dragon Quest IX). If you weren’t swayed by its predecessors, then move along, but for everyone else, this is another standout entry in a series that stubbornly yet successfully stands by its trusted traditions that makes the series a continued classic across the world.


- Jorge Fernandez

(March 27, 2011)


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