Review by Groggar
"You're in for a treat if you can overcome the graphics!"
Dragon Warrior VII was one of my first RPGs. It's also my favourite RPG. Yes, that means I like this game more than Kingdom Hearts 2 and Final Fantasy 7. Am I crazy? You may think so, but this game really does shine in every department minus the graphics.
The story in this game is, simply put, amazing. Nothing extraordinary, but how the game progresses using this plot keeps you glued to the T.V.
Estard Isle is the ONLY island in this world. At least that's what everyone in Estard and Fishbel believe. You, as the mute hero, are best friends with Estard's Prince Kiefer, who yearns for adventure. Running around the island, looking for exploring caves is what the two of you like to do.
Kiefer and the hero find some ruins and, after successfully opening a sealed door, find rooms filled with strange pedestals. After obtaining some shards, and having another character named Maribel discover their secret, the three somehow teleport to a distant land.
After the events in this new land, you find that island you just saved now appears in the present. With the discovery of a new island, the king of Estard orders search parties. The rest of the game is you exploring the several worlds and saving them from their various problems.
The story in itself may not be spectacular, but the way it is presented, it makes you want to keep playing. When you finally get that last FireShard you were looking for and place it on the pedestal, you find yourself saying, "I wonder what this world's going to be like!". With this in mind, you're always excited about going to the new worlds. And keep in mind that there is a total of 18 worlds!
And with 18 worlds, you can expect this to be a very long game. And did I say that there is a second disc as well?
Dragon Warrior VII hosts my favourite video game music! The main battle theme is catchy, as is most every other song. The music that plays in a sad environment fits the mood perfectly. Towns have a definite 'town music'. Each and every song fits the scene or area they are placed in.
Well, the gameplay is nothing innovative, but it certainly managed to fit my personal tastes perfectly! Also, you don't get into your first battle until an hour into the game.
Battles take place in first person view, and the monsters are pasted images. The monsters are all animated when they attack, however, and this greatly increases the personality of the monsters. One monster, like the Dumbira, will attack by whipping out a katana out of it's sheath, but by doing so falls down on it's butt. Animations like that really go far.
This game has the single most advanced Class System in any RPG that I've played. The amount of Classes is astonishing, and you probably won't have the patience to master every single one of them.
Each class has 8 ranks, which is displayed in stars. To increase your rank, you simply fight. After a specific amount of battles, your rank will increase. However, the game doesn't let you go to the easiest spot in the game and just beat on the easiest monsters. You have to fight monsters that aren't weak if you want the battles to count. Don't worry though, on Disc 2 there is an island with weak monsters that DO count towards class experience.
As you ascend the ranks of each class, you'll learn new skills. When you master a class, you get a "mastery bonus", which is a stat gain that only applies when you're in that class. There's also skills called "hybrid skills", which is caused by maturing in one class, and immediately switching to another class. An example would be obtaining the awesome move called "Sword Dance". By mastering the warrior class and immediately switching to the Dancer class, you will learn Sword Dance. And vice versa. This only adds on to the depth of the class system.
There's even more to the class system. Unlocking new classes isn't done by obtaining items or completing sections of the story. You have to master other classes to unlock new ones. To unlock the Dragoon class, you have to master both the Warrior class and the Fighter class.
Actually, I lied when I said you don't unlock new classes by obtaining items. There are more than enough human classes. But it doesn't stop there. By obtaining Monster Hearts, you can change your class to the monster of the heart. So the SlimeHeart will allow the possessor to change into the Slime class. There is twice as many monster classes as there are human classes! It'll take you forever just to master every human class!
Most people would just give the graphics a 1 and make fun of how awful they are. I happen to love the graphics. Sure they were outdated for when this game was released, but I love the style.
The graphics are 3D, except for the characters, which are sprites. You can rotate the camera to get a better view or angle, which helps. There's also a few cutscenes that actually use full 3D graphics for them. They look quite nice, though I find the texture to remind me of play-dough.
The difficulty of this game depends a lot on how you decide to use the class system. There is one world where you can't leave after a certain point, which makes you stuck in your current class until you beat the world. This can make the boss of the world extremely difficult if your characters are in classes like Mage or Cleric.
The bosses can be quite brutal, while others are easy. Some bosses are susceptible to certain status ailments, making them easy.
This game offers so much to do after you beat the game! There are two bonus dungeons, an immigrant town to fill, a monster park to fill, a monster book to fill, and classes to master!
After saving a couple worlds, you'll come across an open area with an old man. He has a dream of creating a thriving town on the lot. He gets you to find NPCs who want a new place to live so that he can build the town. What's so great about this, is that the final version of the town is different, depending on who you recruit! You also get to name your town after a certain amount of immigrants arrive at your town. You can even trade immigrants between memory cards!
If the immigrant town isn't enough, there's also a Monster Park for you to fill! There are approximately 270 monsters for you to capture and send to your Monster Park. As you can probably already tell, this will take a lot of time to complete.
Overall Score 9/10
This may be my favourite game, but it still doesn't deserve a 10. My dream game is the only game that I will rate as a 10/10 and sadly, such a game hasn't been released.
Dragon Warrior VII is a perfect game if you don't mind the graphics. The game itself is very long and even after beating this incredibly long game, there is still so much to do afterwards. This game can easily use up 200 hours of your time.
Due to the simplistic battle system and uninviting graphics, it would be wise to just rent it first. It's not guaranteed that you'll love the battle system so you should just rent it before handing out the 40 or so bucks it costs. And I should also mention that this game is rare nowadays, so good luck finding it!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/16/06
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