Review by vsalinas005

Reviewed: 09/24/10

A touch of this, a touch of that and you'll get the best game on the DS to date.

This is my first review and my first Dragon Quest game I've ever played so while I can't compare it to any other Dragon Quest games, I can compare it to the long lasting rival(s) in the "Final Fantasy" series. (Not quite so sure why they are rivals as they are both by Square...)

Game play: 8/10
The reason for this score is that while addicting for each element of its features, it gets a little repetitive, not as repetitive as Final Fantasy X's combat system but that may have been a majority of its charm on the combat side of things. The items that can be used for alchemy though would more than bring a light chuckle/giggle to a child's face. Such as using cow patties to make a mystifying potion. Yes, you read that right, one of the ingredients in item making is Cow feces. There are other items that can be made as well which adds further depth to the post game, including grotto clearing, Legacy boss beating, and the pure joy of level grinding.

Visuals: 10/10
Knowing that this is a game on the DS, this is by far the best looking game for this hand held, followed by a large margin by Final Fantasy IV. Granted its a mixture of 2d/3d art its done in such a way that you don't truly notice until after the first hour or so of story(what there is of it at least).

Story/Plot: 6/10
This is the only low-point of the review that I have, while the story is not non-existent there's very little that is going on as its a very basic plot, its not a remake though like Final Fantasy 4's though so at least it attempts to be somewhat original. What really brings this score down is how repetitive a character you meet within the first two hours (if you can manage the first boss which really doesn't take much skill if you've leveled and stocked up on items properly) with a psuedo-swear. Though, how her character portrayed (Most annoying or most interesting) depends solely on you the gamer.

Character customization(s): 9/10
This is by far the best utilization of this feature of any RPG I've encountered in my life time. In this game you can customize the look of your entire party, once you reach a certain point in the game, usually within the first hour or so. While there isn't much to choose from for hair styles or any section alone, there are enough options to make a usually unique party, as well as the option to make an all male or all female party, something that hasn't been a option in Final Fantasy since the first one and its remakes for the GBA.

Overall: 9/10
While having its low points and a light story for an RPG, there are significant differences that make this RPG stand out among its peers on the DS, and is on my must buy list. Used or not, it does not matter, this is an instant classic on a handheld.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (US, 07/11/10)

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