[NDS] Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky - Nathan Drake

Discussion in 'Review Submission' started by LuckyTrouble77, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. LuckyTrouble77

    LuckyTrouble77 Well-Known Member


    Dragon Quest IX
    Released: July 11th, 2010 (US)
    Rated: E (ESRB)


    Dragon Quest IX is a turn based RPG and is the ninth installment in the Dragon Warrior/ Dragon Quest series. This installment is the first to be exclusively on a hand held, while all other installments in the series premiered on major consoles. Being on a hand held does not stunt this action packed, content filled RPG.

    Presentation:

    Upon starting the game, you are presented with a simple character creation screen and are sent on your way. From that area alone, you can see the developers were really trying to grant you with a great experience. The menus are easy to navigate, the class system is easy to use, and overall, the game is just presented very nicely.

    [​IMG]
    The character creation process

    The main flaw is that the game is horrible at guiding you. You get small hints and really are forced to figure it out on your own most of the time. This can lead to being down one core item and having to go all over the place to try and figure out what you missed. It can become very frustrating. There is no real work around for this either. You really have to explore, hope you're going in the right order, and be ready to face many enemies as you run all over the place. This gives chances to run into enemies you weren't prepared for, too, risking death because the game didn't guide you as it should. It is reminiscent of guiding in the days of retro titles on systems such as the NES. I feel this aspect really hurts the game, as it can kill player motivation for those not as patient as others are.

    Score: 7/10

    Graphics:

    This game looks visually stunning for a DS game. Environments look incredible, and even character models look great. In many DS games, the faces of characters when just looking at them are either unclear, or just kind of a garbled mess. Every piece of equipment changes how the character looks, and this doesn't just apply to the main character. Every character looks different depending on the armor and weapons equipped. All of the equipment looks great and was done very well.

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    A character in the normal Dragon Quest IX environment

    The monsters will look familiar to any fan of the series, and are also well done. The only complaint with the monsters is that we are still seeing pretty much all the same monsters, or just palette swaps so many years after the initial release of Dragon Warrior on the NES. This is only a minor set back though and doesn't make the monsters look any worse.

    [​IMG]
    Although the monsters look kind of chunky, they appear quite fluid while moving

    Most notably, there are some great cinematic sequences in the game to break up the action every now and again. These look great, no, fantastic. They are fluid, don't look like they were shoved in as an afterthought, and look wonderful.

    [​IMG]
    A cinematic in action

    The environments vary from location to location and present a new and different looking place to explore every time. From lush green fields, to dry deserts, to poison swamp filled, barren wastelands. The only places that don't vary by much are the dungeons you can find via treasure maps, though these places weren't made to look too different from each other anyways. Overall though, the journey is very pleasing to view and move through.

    [​IMG]
    One of many towns present in the game

    Score: 8/10

    Sound:

    The sound in this game is wonderful and really adds to the overall experience. Many of the tunes will be familiar from past Dragon Quest games. I found quite a few of the songs to be either very close to, or exact songs that were present in Dragon Quest VIII. Although the sounds are wonderful, it would be better if they didn't have to use a sound track I was already so familiar with.

    This is one of few games I found worthy of actually having my sound on for though, and it was easily worth the extra battery life required to play sound the entire time. I would highly suggest listening to all of the great music and sounds contained within this game.

    Score: 9/10

    Game play:

    This is the spot where every Dragon Quest/ Dragon Warrior game ever made shines. The game presents classic RPG elements with all of the extra twists you would want and expect to be present in a good RPG.

    Lets start with combat; combat in Dragon Quest IX is exactly like the combat in every other Dragon Quest game on surface level. Your initial options allow you to attack, use an item from your character's personal inventory, defend, use abilities, spells, etc. The special option is the Coup de Grace that randomly becomes available and has different effects based on the character's class. These special abilities can be true life savers.

    [​IMG]

    Your abilities and spells are completely based upon the class system present in the game. When starting out, you have about six classes available that don't appear to offer a very wide range of abilities. As these classes level up, you earn skill points to put into skills. These skill points carry over from class to class, and skills that are shared between classes share the points. ie: If you put points into the sword skill on your Minstrel, the Gladiator will already have those same points in swords if you decide to switch to that class or any other class that also has the swords skill. This makes point allocation strategic to get the most out of every class as possible. Abilities will also carry over from class to class making for some useful combinations.

    It is also notable that levels do not carry over from class to class. Each class levels separately. When going back to a class though, all levels that you earned with it before will still be there. This does create situations where you may need to spend a little level up time to not only take advantage of a new class, but to make sure your characters don't become monster bait.

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    Different characters outfitted in their respective gear based on class

    Battles are not initiated in a random way. You actually view monsters on the field before initiating battle, much like Tales games. Although you choose to initiate most battles, some are unavoidable. If monsters are stronger than your characters, they will rush towards you. If you are significantly stronger, they will run away upon noticing you. Some monsters just flat out pay no mind. It is all relatively random.

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    A monster visible on the world map

    There are many extras such as quests, treasure maps, the wifi shop, alchemy pot, etc. There is just so much to discover and enjoy, it's incredible. This easily presents a 40 to 50 hour journey with the story alone. This easily extends to 100+ hours when all the different extras are explored.

    The game play is flat out astounding.

    Score: 9/10

    Extras:

    Although I touched on the extras earlier, as a DS game, this one really shines. I'll start with what is present in-game. The most prominent of these are the grottoes. These are extra dungeons located via treasure maps. They have special enemies, and can be quite challenging to complete. With how many there are, you will find they will feed your adventuring needs. They can become repetitive, sadly. Much like grinding, you'll need to be in the mood to go through grotto after grotto. In the end, the rewards are worth the time, and the experience can help to level on your way through the long journey.

    The Wi-Fi features are where the shine really is. There is first, the Wi-Fi shop. This is simply a shop that updates however often with new goods. If you find there isn't much to purchase in-game, just check the shop. From Alchemy ingredients, to gear, to fun extras, the shop can potentially be stocked with many goodies. You have to be ready to drop some large amounts of gold on certain items, though. It's a great way to keep your gold count down, and your interest up. Connecting to the Wi-Fi shop presents a nice update though.

    Upon connecting to Wi-Fi, your quest log is updated with downloadable quests. These trigger quests in-game in specific locations to go and accept. As of this edit, all of the downloadable quests have been released. These quests give you new things to do, even after you've beaten the game and gotten all there is to get from the main story. These quests, combined with the quests present in-game already, will keep you busy for a long time.

    Score: 8/10

    Overall:

    This is an incredible experience that every RPG fan should get the chance to explore. It's truly the best of all the past Dragon Quest games with a fantastic mix of new concepts that keep the series fresh. There are obvious shortcomings present that can really stunt the experience for some though, and these problems can't be ignored. This is a game that should be in the collection of every DS owner none the less.

    Scores

    Presentation: 7/10
    Graphics: 8/10
    Sound: 9/10
    Game Play: 9/10
    Extras: 8/10

    Final Score: 8.2/10
     
  2. Littlekill

    Littlekill Well-Known Member

    i hate this review
     
  3. LuckyTrouble77

    LuckyTrouble77 Well-Known Member

    I hate your face.
     
  4. lugia543

    lugia543 Guest

    verry nice review but I would've rated it an 8.5
     
  5. LuckyTrouble77

    LuckyTrouble77 Well-Known Member

    The replayability is what really hurt the score more than anything. I just don't find most RPG's to hold too much replayability. That and the presentation took a pretty big hit due to the game being kind of terrible at guiding you around through the main journey.
     
  6. Natewlie

    Natewlie A bag of tricks

    This review makes me hate myself. I have a feeling that was the purpose..

    In which case, you are trouble.
     
  7. LuckyTrouble77

    LuckyTrouble77 Well-Known Member

    Much love. ♥
     
  8. King Cookie

    King Cookie Well-Known Member

    I liked your review, but I think you should of talked more about how grindy it is. I've grinded more for this game then most other RPGs, and the endgame is essentially just grinding and grottos.
     
  9. LuckyTrouble77

    LuckyTrouble77 Well-Known Member

    I didn't find grinding overall to be a big issue. Minimal grinding was required for beating the game, and grottoes aren't going to be ranted on since they are an extra that is well done for what it is. Post-game grinding is irrelevant in terms of the actual game too.

    Also, I was considering revising this, and never did. It's how it will always be. Sorry to anybody expecting an amended review.
     
  10. Zydaline

    Zydaline Well-Known Member

    Tbh, the reason I like it so much is because I can switch clothes and make my characters pretty pretty.
    Just sayin'
     
  11. Blade5406

    Blade5406 Well-Known Member

    I agree on you with the game's replayability.
     
  12. Shuga

    Shuga Well-Known Member

    Replayability?
    i found this so replayable, with all those armors and swords and all that stuff to get, plus all the jobs and abilities, im still playing this again and again, so i cant see why you put down a score like that in replayability...
     
  13. LuckyTrouble77

    LuckyTrouble77 Well-Known Member

    That isn't replayability. Replayability is being able to pick up the game, play it again, and experience it without feeling like you're doing the same thing again. This is inevitably the feeling accompanied with every RPG. You can get every job, max them out, get every skill maxed out, all items, everything, in a single play through. Absolutely none of that warrants playing through the game again.

    My stance on that part of the review stands.
     
  14. Shuga

    Shuga Well-Known Member

    You got a point right there but ive been playing this game for ages
    havent finished it because theres so much to do
    why do i need replayability when you can speend a lot of time finishing it?
    nice review though i enjoyed the game and im still enjoying it ;D
     
  15. LuckyTrouble77

    LuckyTrouble77 Well-Known Member

    I made a slight revision, left in a typo that I forgot about until I noted this (if you spot it, good for you), and added one more score section, as I felt the extras were so prominent that they needed their own look at vs just being grouped in with game play. I may fix the typo at a later time, but at this point, I feel I've done to the review what I wanted. I should mention I bumped up the music score, but it just got the overall score closer to that 8 that the game likely deserves. Really, as far as DS games goes, this is more a 8.5 or potentially a 9. In the end though, I'm letting the numbers speak for themselves.

    Just a reminder for replayability: The root is replay. That means to play again. As an RPG, you will maybe play this game again once a year at the most. It can just be hard to get into a game such as this again. It's the nature of JRPG's. Either you love them and are able to play them again and again, or you play them once and never really go back. With two such extremes, it almost seems unfair to include that factor, but when reviewing a game, I must always consider that at this point.

    As of now, I am ditching replayability completely, as it is a bit biased against most RPG's. Even addictive action RPG's have a hard time generating replay value. Many action games lack replay value too, such as Mario and Zelda. The factor is too dependent on the individual. There are few games that I can think of that have a natural replay value amongst all people, making the rating as a whole very unfair.

    With that being stricken from the review, I will consider Extras to be the replacement, as the majority of games come equipped with extras to some degree to enhance the overall game play aspect. Obviously, I didn't touch on all of the extras here. I briefly mentioned many of them at the end of the game play section. I will not be revising that though, as honestly, the extras section would be a mile long with the average DQ game.

    Hopefully this is acceptable to the few that still browse this site.

    Edit: Got the typo. If you find another, more power to you.