Role Playing Game
Thankfully, administering disciplinary beatings to surly dragons is consistently pretty
Dragon Quest is seriously long. So long that should you free yourself from bodily needs (food, sleep, etc.) you may just crack it in five days. If for some reason that’s not possible, expect this Japanese RPG to hold your thumbs to ransom for weeks and months to come.
But this is bad only if you dislike fun. Dragon Quest IX is a rare gem, one which couples hardcore JRPG mechanics with accessible charisma. A game those of us with attention spans under the 56 hour barrier can enjoy too.
Be warned, Dragon Quest IX is a level grinder. Innumerable enemies require conquering, while classic attributes need upgrading. There are multiple traits like Resistance, Agility, Deftness, Burliness, Manliness and Fantasticness. Or something to this effect.
Thankfully, administering disciplinary beatings to surly dragons is consistently pretty. Utilizing charming anime models, each character consists of an impressively customizable head (and a body in there somewhere). This is furthered with the ability to equip dainty broadswords, cute bronze shields, fashionable bandanas and fearsome bunny ears.
The adorability doesn't stops here. Enemy variation within the first dozen hours alone should boggle minds. There are Meowgicians (Wizard + Cat), the Badger Mager (A mage who is also a badger), Cruelcumbers (Spear-wielding cucumbers… obviously) and the Crabid (ahem, a rabid Crab). And let’s not forget old Treeface!
Although it's great waddling between towns, staying in Inns and praying/saving at the local generic religious structure, players are occasionally treated to high-end, beautifully animated cut-scenes. These are seldom, though they remind gamers they’re engaged in something rather significant.
Excluding said waddling, combat constitutes the core gameplay. In true JRPG fashion, you'll begin your quest humbly, with the equivalent of a wooden spoon and dinner plate in terms of armaments but soon you’ll be considering whether to equip a deadly rapier or a paper fan, a chainmail shirt or fluffy bunny tail.
Combatants enter chivalrous if frenzied combat, taking turns knocking lumps out of each other. There are attacks, abilities, spells and items, which buff attributes, heal mortal wounds, pick pockets, seduce foes and acquaint them to your sword-point. Enemies return the favour and the first one to die, loses!
As the weeks/months accumulate, players unlock further upgrades, with varying effects, which exponentially increase the player’s choice. To be honest, if this isn’t your desired genre, the wealth of selection will likely scare you off. The feeling that there’s an awful lot of Dragon Quest IX that you aren’t using is rarely, if ever shaken. Conversely, if it’s your cup of tea, protective coating for your DS is recommended, due to the excessive salivating this game can induce.
Concerns may mount that the sophistication is beyond younger audiences. But eleven years ago kids couldn't get enough Pokémon, and Dragon Quest shares more than a few similarities with the venerable animal scrapper. Kids should lap up Dragon Quest; they're growin' 'em smart these days.
There is little to dislike in Dragon Quest IX. Any flaws are inherent to the JRPG genre. Although they’re not perfect, it's unfair to denounce Dragon Quest IX without condemning the entire field. (And nobody wants that kind of heat!)
Dragon Quest IX is basically fancy chess, if you want to be clever (or cheeky). But it has a polish and charm absent in many other games. So if you are looking for more from your DS, there are literally thousands of reasons why Dragon Quest is for you.