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Dragon Quest 7 a masterful JRPG

November 23, 2016

By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada

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Dragon Quest 7Dragon Quest, Japan's long-running and storied franchise has been a dominant force within the JRPG genre for years. Released in 2000, Dragon Quest 7 proved to be one of the series’ most revered entries. The title was responsible for pushing the JRPG genre forward and establishing the Dragon Quest name beyond its native land of Japan.

Now, North American 3DS owners have the chance to experience a modernized recreation of the classic journey. Enter Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. What separates the Dragon Quest series from its JRPG contemporaries is the combination of its vibrant, cartoony ambience and its streamlined approach to gameplay. Having very little experience with the series, I assumed that Dragon Quest 7 was merely another title form a bygone era, that’s been romanticized by fans with a heavy case of nostalgia.

Dragon Quest 7Though I’ve never spent any time playing the original, playing though this remake proved to be both an enlightening and at times a daunting experience. With that said I finally understood why the franchise is so popular and has stood the test of time.

Dragon Quest 7’s combat is that of a standard turn-based JRPG, complete with experience points, party management options, disciplines and more. In this regard, things are pretty simple. If you’ve played a turn-based RPG at one point in time, then expect no difficulty here. Gameplay mechanics deepen around the twenty-five hour mark but not in ways that are baffling. Everything I was doing in Dragon Quest 7 I have done in other titles but unlike those others I didn’t trail off nearly as early as I expected myself to. Fighting monsters, exploring islands and collecting experience points was a joy. Lengthy intro aside, the gameplay loop was tight and satisfying. So much so, that I had a hard time putting my 3DS down in the early going.

Dragon Quest 7The story follows Hero, a young man who yearns for adventure after becoming tired of the rote way of life that exists within his humble island community. After Hero’s father returns home from a fishing expedition, he reveals to his son that more islands may exist, and more importantly, are in need of help. Each island you visit has it’s own history and unique problem plaguing it. Think of Dragon Quest 7 as a collection of vignettes, wrapped into one main storyline.

The narrative by and large is standard JRPG fare. Writing is inoffensive and subsequently boring at times. I often found myself skipping though the static dialogue boxes that popped up. Furthermore, the typical JRPG character traits reveal themselves after roughly two hours into the story. Character design on the other hand is delightful and enemy models are designed and animated magnificently. From the cute tiny Slimes that seem to be stuck in a perpetual grinning state to the shuffling Skeleton soldiers that almost look huggable, it’s not a bold statement to say that Dragon Quest 7 is amongst the more unique and stylish of its JRPG contemporaries.

Dragon Quest 7Something that may end up working against Dragon Quest 7 however is its aforementioned length. Simply put, the game is enormous. While some may subscribe to the notion of “more bang for your buck”, I personally believe a gamer’s time should be valued. Furthermore, a beefy hour count doesn’t necessarily equate quality. You can expect to clear the single player mode in roughly sixty five to seventy hours. Yes, you read that correctly. This makes giving an in-depth analysis of what one would be doing throughout those seventyish a fool’s errand. Even a truncated summary would prove lengthy.

Despite its enormous length, playing though Fragments of the Forgotten Past is just fun. The overall atmosphere is heartening. JRPG fans owe it to themselves to give Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Past a shot, even if you might know you may never see the end credits, spending at least a handful of hours within it’s warm, aesthetically pleasing world is sure to put a smile upon anyone’s face.

 

Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Forgotten Past Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Forgotten Past
Format: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
ESRB Rating: E 10+
Official Site: Rating: 8 / 10

 
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.