Review by Somber Fox
"An epic in every sense of the word"
A decade. That's how long I've been waiting for a new Dragon Warrior game to be released in English. It was a very long wait, but was it worth 10 years? Allow me to pull apart the game and we shall see.
Gameplay - 10/10
A word of warning. If you are looking for revolutionary new gameplay systems, look elsewhere. Everyone else, ready yourself for a game chock full of tried and true formulas, countless extras and quests. Also, be prepared for a very long journey. Without a strategy guide, DW7 will take about 80-120 hours to complete.
Unlike Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior doesn't switch to completely different systems with each new addition to the series. If you've played any of the six previous games, you should know what to expect.
Menus still look and act the same. Your six basic menu options are still in tact. A welcome new addition is an action button that allows you to talk and search without having to select the options from the menu.
Dragon Warrior VII has a class system the likes of which haven't been seen in an English Dragon Warrior game since DW3. Roughly 20 hours into the game you'll gain access to the ability to change the class of your characters. Each class has unique stats and skills. Besides the normal human classes like warrior and mage, monster classes are also available. Changing into a monster classes allows you to gain resistances and skills of that monster. Mastering a class takes a long time, as job points are gained one at a time, one per battle. This isn't a very big problem though, since battles are quick to load and finish.
Outside the main story are plenty of side quests and extras to keep the game interesting. I won't mention any here in case readers would rather discover them on their own.
Story - 10/10
Prepare for an true epic. Nothing in Dragon Warrior VII is short and simple. The story starts you out on a small island that is peaceful and happy. The only island in the world actually. Basically you and your two best friends go out exploring. After about 1-3 hours of exploration though, things will start to get interesting. I won't mention what happens so as to avoid spoiling the game.
As you travel through past and present, you'll visit countless people and interesting places of all sorts. The story is episodic, with one short story after another. Eventually you'll see how everything ties together to create a single complex picture.
Be warned that the Dragon Warrior series isn't meant to be serious. They are light games and are meant to be humorous, so don't expect a game dripping with drama.
Audio - 7/10
I really don't have much to say about the music. There is very little variety, although most of the music is very good and not annoying.
Sound effects are the same as they always have been. If you've played any of the previous six games you've heard it all. I like the sound effects though, I like classic things.
Video - 8/10
Where most people say the game has terrible graphics, I disagree. The overhead graphics aren't perfect. They are in 3D and you have to rotate the screen to see some things that may be hidden. Characters still ''walk in place'' which is normal for a Dragon Warrior game.
Where Dragon Warrior VII's graphics truly shine is in battle. Monster graphics are 2D and beautiful. This is the first game in the series that has battle animations. Animations are extremely fluid and often humorous. As usual, you can't see your characters in battle, so avoid this game if you really prefer to see player character animations in battle.
Replayability - 9/10
With extremely time consuming side quests and extras to do, Dragon Warrior VII has plenty of replay value. You may not want to play through the whole game again since it is so long though, so that drops the replay down a notch.
To buy or to rent? - Buy
Put all of the above together and you get an extremely addictive game which will keep you entertained for many, many hours. Just remember to be prepared for an extremely long game. Dragon Warrior VII isn't an average ''24 hours and I'm finished'' RPG.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/18/01, Updated 10/30/02
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