Review by proach_

"Old school fun but not what I expected."

PROS:

Class System -
The class system in this game is a lot like Dragon Quest VI but a lot more in-depth. There are 54 classes in total including 30+ monster jobs instead of the eighteen classes that are available in DQ6. There are eight ranks in each class and with each rank you gain skills as in DQ6. To advance in ranks, you have to win a certain number of fights for each rank. For eg, in order to get to rank 2 for a Dancer you need to win 5 fights. Like DQ6, you must fight enemies around your level or above in order to gain job levels though. This is done so that you can't be cheap and become a Demigod by fighting weak enemies. Overall, the class system is very much like the one found in Dragon Quest VI but the extra human classes and the addition of monster classes makes the game a lot more interesting.

Challenge -
This game is more linear than most previous Dragon Quest games but there will be times where one may get stuck. For difficulty, this game starts off easy, gets difficult and then becomes easier. Overall, Dragon Warrior VII is quite the challenge compared to your average Role Playing game but for a DQ veteran you may find that it isn't as tough as the previous DQ games. My party got wiped out only once through the whole game and it wasn't the Final Boss. In fact, the Final Boss was the easiest in the series aside from the one in DW1. However, I can not say this game is easy because you do have to work hard to win in the end and by playing DW1-3 and DQ6 previously, I was very comfortable with how this game was played so I was prepared for what I was getting into but. A DQ newbie may find themselves dying a lot though. Everything balances out in the difficulty overall.

Quest -
The quest in DW7 is long and requires lots and lots of hard work and dedication. No wonder the series is called Dragon Quest because it’s all about the quests! It's this area that makes Dragon Warrior VII shine with its multiple dungeon puzzles, the reviving of tablet shards to travel back in time and rewrite history, sub quests, and much more.

Control/Menus-
No real noticeable flaw, same basic traditional menus, controls are simple. You either press an action button to talk, search, etc. or you can bring up a menu to do that also or to manage items, equip, etc.

Replay Value-
Well there is a ton of stuff to do and this game can last you well over a month if you dedicate about 3 hours a day to this game on average. If you’re a casual gamer who likes to play RPGs once in awhile then expect well over a year. I started this title on November 6th of this year and finished it on December 14th in 130 hours. Minus the 15 or so hours of letting my psx run whenever I'm not playing (My PSX doesn't load up very well when I start it up so I like to leave it running) and the hours spent in levelling up jobs and it should come down to about 100. I'm not kidding, 130 hours, that’s equivalent to 5 days and 10 hours in time. It's scary when I think about it.

CONS:

Battle Engine-
Why is it that the battle system is completely unchanged since 1995? LITERALLY this is no lie. They do have that Talk command added but what benefit is it really? The battles are turn based and enemies are separated into groups as always. You have the FIGHT, ITEM, SKILL, PARRY, FLEE, and TALK commands. That's about it for the battles.

Graphics-
Boy are they ever ugly. 2D isn’t necessarily bad but Enix got lazy with this one. The character sprites look worse than they did in DQ6 and the 3D environment doesn't suit this game. It should have been made fully 2D.

Sound effects-
The sound effects are very much like the ones found on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System with all the bleeps and annoying sounds. They are unchanged since the early DQ games.

SATISFACTORY:

Game play Engines (EquipmentStat gainingetc.)-
Your basics. You have your same old basic stats, level ups, equipment, items, shops, inns, ships and all that old school stuff. All these things bring back good memories but it could use some change though.

Music-
The music is possibly the best I’ve heard for a Dragon Quest game but it’s very repetitive as the same tracks are played over and over again.

THE SCORES:

GAMEPLAY- 8.1 (Great)

(Dragon Warrior VII plays great but the lack of originality in battles and some other basics hurt the game play. For one, the battle system is identical to that of Dragon Quest VI except for the Talk option, and has not changed much since Dragon Quest IV, which was released over a decade ago except for the Skill option. Also, the game's game play engines (equipment/statistic/level up/) have been unchanged throughout the entire series except for the Luck and Style stats which were added in DQ6 but the problem isn't as serious as the battle system. However, the game is redeeming and in many ways superior to other RPGs because of the fair challenge, the easy to load menus, the in-depth Job system and one of the greatest and most epic quests you'll ever get from a Japanese Console RPG. Since when does a Console RPG take 100+ hours to complete? The positives outweigh the negatives in this game for the most part, which is why it is such a pleasure for Dragon Quest fans or dedicated RPG fans to play such a game. )

GRAPHICS- 4.0 (Poor)

(Poor graphics, even worse than a First generation Playstation game.)

SOUND- 5.0 (Mediocre)

(Great SNES styled music but very repetitive, also the sound effects are done in very bleepy 8-bit quality. Why they didn't update the sound you ask? Enix wanted to stick to the roots.)

VALUE- 10.0 (Elite)

(This is a long RPG that will keep you occupied for a long while with its numerous quests, sub quests, minigames and bonus dungeons. An added pleasure for the more “hardcore” RPG audience that likes to suck out RPGs for all that its worth.)

FUN/ENJOYMENT- 8.6 (Excellent)

(Dragon Warrior VII is very enjoyable overall but Enix really needs to make battles fun again.)

OVERALL- 8.9(rounded to 9)

Overall, Dragon Warrior VII fell short of my expectations but its definitely worth the buy and I recommend it to anyone who will put up with 100+ hours of Game play, old school graphics and old school game play. I was thrilled when I found out this old school RPG was coming to North America but after playing this game for a few weeks, there’s a part of me that thought this game was missing something- Originality. Sure the enhanced Class System of DW7 was deep and original but seeing that the same old tried and true battle system makes up a big part of this game, you may tune out from time to time. I respect that Enix wants to stick to the roots but like I said before, there’s tradition and then there’s laziness. For a game that has been in development for five years, you would expect a huge leap in terms of Game play from the previous releases, but Dragon Warrior VII improves slightly as if this game were done in no more than two to three years. However, its flaws don't ruin the game completely and Dragon Warrior VII is still one of the best Role Playing games on the Playstation. I am sure that Golden Sun may be very likely to become the Console RPG of the year seeing that fans tend to love it and it is critically acclaimed but Dragon Warrior VII is definitely one of the best RPGs we've seen in this age of flashy RPGs loaded with Full Motion Video.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/15/01, Updated 12/15/01


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