Review by Moulinoski
One of the best DS games ever
Dragon Quest IX is an awesome little gem of a game that comes from an awesome gem of a series. Although its story isn't as deep as Dragon Quest V, it is as epic as Dragon Quest III. That probably means nothing to you, but I can tell you that you'll be playing Dragon Quest IX for a long, long time. I'm actually playing it for my third time (my first two runs were in Japanese).
Story - 10/10
You're basically an Celestrian (a guardian angel in the Japanese version) who has to protect the village of Angel Falls (Wollo) in the beginning of the game. Your goal is to collect benevollecence (sparkling aura) which will help the World Tree, Yggdrasil, bear fruits. When that happens, however, things are not happy-go-lucky. You lose your wings and have to embark on a journey to reclaim your Celetrian features by hunting down the missing fyggs (Goddess's fruit). And if you do collect all the fyggs, you will get the chance to see the fate of the land of God itself!
People like to simplify the story to the fygg-hunt, but there is much, much more. Unfortunately, detailing anymore can spoil the story for you. It does lack Final Fantasy's usual use of emo characters, but unless you're lame (or hate Final Fantasy IX), that shouldn't be a problem.
And, unless you played the game in Japanese, like I did, the constant name changes should not affect you either, although Alltrades Abbey is a poor name change for what was once Dharma Temple in both the old Dragon Warrior and Japanese versions of Dragon Quest...
Graphics - 9/10
The graphics are on par with the DS Legend of Zelda games (which I also recommend). The battles are all in full 3D. You can customize your characters from head to toe, graphically. In fact, I'm going to try and make one of my characters "cosplay" Link (I think it's somewhat possible).
The only thing I hate about the graphics is that most NPCs are sprites. So you're this nice character model and you are surrounded by a bunch of paper cutouts.
Sound - 10/10
You have your classic Dragon Quest sounds intact and the music is great. One cool thing I noticed recently, is that fighting bosses from previous games, like Zoma, lets you battle them with their own boss music. There's only thing about the music, but this is very personal- the Quester's Rest (Rikka's Inn), if you spend a lot of time there, the music will get jarring. At least, if you're a late comer to the whole downloading content stuff (like how I was with the Japanese version).
Gameplay - 10/10
It's standard Dragon Quest stuff. Many things have changed, like having no random battles (they're now ala Earthbound, another great game), you have quests which WILL distract you from the story. You now have more options in battle. You can customize your characters like mad. There's barely any need to do serious level grinding (and in fact, I believe you'd be better off doing skill grinding, and building up stat boosting skill lines). You can even help a friend go through the story by joining him or her in-game, or you can help them gain experience by letting them go into your world- that's right, this game has co-op.
Bottom Line, or tl;dr, this game is AWESOME:
Like Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z? Akira Toriyama is the character designer.
Like Final Fantasy? Your limit breaks are here (called Coup de Grace in the US, Specials in the Japanese).
Like World of Warcraft? Your quests, free customization, and OCD-inducing item collecting is here.
Like co-op games? You and up to three friends can play at once and even advance the host's story together.
Like Dragon Quest (or Dragon Warrior)? This is the newest one, with so much fan service to old-time fans, you- just- might- die. You have been warned. :)
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (US, 07/11/10)
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