Dragon Quest VI : Realms of Revelations
Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
With all the visual flashiness and narrative depth found in today’s RPGs, it’s very easy to feel buried and overwhelmed, especially for those who came up in the 8 and 16 bit era. While that’s the natural evolution of gaming - to provide a deeper and deeper experience - it can still be oft-putting. Some may long for the good old days of simplicity. Level grinding, melodramatic dialog, and visuals built upon pixels alone, those are just some of the facets that represent RPGs in their early years. Well if Final Fantasy XIII, Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age is a little too much for you, Square Enix may have a solution for you.
Dragon Quest VI released during the franchise’s Western hiatus; meaning that North American audiences never had a chance to explore this entry, nor the two prior to it. However, Square Enix has been re-releasing the missing tales on the DS, first with number four, then five, and now we have the sixth and final one. Though, while some player will relish in the nostalgia, some may have a hard time backtracking, especially after the phenomenal Dragon Quest IX arrived last summer. And that’s exactly where Dragon Quest VI falls short. Not because it’s a bad game, though after IV and V, it’s easy gloss over this one with less zeal than before. It’s just that IX gave us such an appetite for what the franchise is capable of.
There are some interesting bits buried within though. The story has the hero saving the world from an unimaginable evil, complete with various quests placed in such a way as to distract you from your main goal. However, having the alternate, “dream” world, so to speak, adds another layer of depth to the journey, forcing the player to jump back and forth in order to eliminate the dark threat. I know, it sounds fairly laborious on paper, but the execution left it seamless and well integrated.
Unfortunately, “labor” is still a key word, as just like in pretty much every JRPG from the era, level grinding is a must. If that’s too passé for you, this is certainly not a game worth your any of your attention. In fact, the level grind actually ends up with some dual frustration. Beyond the obvious tedium, on many occasions you’ll find the balancing to be off. Grinding for a length of time only to travel into an adjacent area thinking your hero is well prepared, then finding out the hard way that you are no where near ready can be a real morale breaker. Finally, the old standby of random battles is unfortunately present and accounted for. Probably the most hated aspect of classic video game role playing, the random battles take tedious level grinding and adds a dash of confusion as you try remember where you were going before you were jumped by an invisible band of baddies.
Although, the role-playing side of things does feel rather fleshed out with the job system found a little later in the game. Depending on what direction you want to steer your character, mixing various classes can be a boon to those looking for that specific set of abilities. Some classes are more beneficial than others, but again, it comes down to how you want it to play out.
Even though the game is still straight out of the mid-90’s, the minor enhancements made to the visuals will make many fans plenty happy. With stylus usage being minimal at best, the breadth of the landscape is displayed across both screens with all the love and care that ArtePiazza embalmed the previous two games once again shining through. The nostalgia factor isn’t hurt one bit as I still felt like I was battling my way through hordes of slimes on my NES near 20 years ago (as the Dragon Warrior III was the last game to be released here until VII showed up on the PSOne.)
The Dragon Warrior/Quest franchise has always been near and dear to my heart, sitting proudly next to the Final Fantasy series throughout my youth. As both brands went their separate ways, the experiences they offered began to drift very far apart. Out of the two, Dragon Quest has done the best job at staying true to the spirit that made it such a fan favorite to begin with. Last summer’s ninth entry showed just how good it can be. While it’s unfair to compare them, one can’t help but feel as if they are downgrading when jumping into Realms of Revelation. The story was an uninteresting paint-by-numbers - short of the ‘alternate world’ side of it - and the combat is a trademark example of what RPGs have strived to get away from over the last 15 years. So if you have already had your fill of the fourth and fifth chapters and are still clamoring for more nostalgic level grinding, then this will fill that void. Just don’t come in expecting a shining example of what the genre had available at the time.
+ Interesting "dual world" formula
+ Nifty job system
+ Completes collection for North America
- Level grinding
- RANDOM BATTLES!
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Release Date : 2011/02/14
System : Nintendo DS
Publisher : Nintendo
Developer : ArtePiazza
Category : Role Playing Game
ESRB : E10+
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