Review by Zarokima
"Really good, but doesn't live up to the old ones."
I'm not messing around with an introduction, and instead jumping right into analysis:
The biggest problem with this game is all the monsters that were left out. Favorites like Rainhawk, Watabou, and Darkdrium have been removed entirely. A few others like Gold Golem have been drastically changed (it's now a fairly sucky gold-colored Golem). Many names have been changed, but that's not a big deal (i.e. Gold Slime is now Gem Slime).
Second biggest problem: pre-rendered areas. This is one of the few games for which randomly generated dungeons work incredibly well, but instead you travel through a series of islands. It's not unbearable, and you get used to it, but I kept wishing for Travellers' Gates.
The breeding system kind of evens out. Ranks kind of suck, since the natural inclination is to forget about lower-rank monsters and just stick to high-ranked ones. This can lead to conflicts with older popular monsters, like Wyvern (now Chimera) is a Rank E. However, you have up to 3 monsters to choose from, but the whole "fuse them through synthesis" thing instead of actually breeding them is mildly annoying.
I do like the skill system. It works well, and I'd call it an improvement. Instead of learning the individual moves and passing those on through breeding, monsters have skill sets with the moves (or stat boosts for skills like Attack Boost or Agility boost). While breeding (or synthesizing) you choose three skills for the new monster to have. You put skill points into the skills to learn moves, and a bred monster will have half the combined total of the parents' skill points if they inherit those skills.
Scouting is just plain different. Instead of throwing meat and defeating the monster, you scout it. This means you attack it, but instead of doing damage it raises a percent bar. This percentage is your chance of scouting the monster and adding it to your collection. I would say this is good since getting new monsters depends on your own strength.
It's still a highly addictive game. Wi-fi adds to the playability, so you'll probably be breeding and training long after you finish the storyline. The World Cup definitely gives incentive to keep playing, due to the challenge of fighting other players' teams and getting awards for doing so.
Joker is by no means a bad game, or even mediocre. It's good, and might have been great if not for having such glorious predecessors, and honestly falling short of meeting expectations.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/18/08
Game Release: Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker (US, 11/06/07)
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