Review by UnderratedGamer
"Mixed Feelings for this game"
Why do people complain about it's name? IT'S DRAGON QUEST!! Just because the game literally isn't made of Dragons doesn't mean that it's "bad" or has to live up to it's name. Look at Dragon Age; I barely ever seen any Dragons in there and it still has the name "Dragon Age". Just wanted to get that off my chest because a lot of new to the series people apparently have a problem with that.
For the game itself: Why is it only ported on the Nintendo DS...? I mean it would have been finally if it was on ANY of the main 3 home consoles, but why a portable system after the last big Dragon Quest was launched on the PlayStation 2? I personally have no problem with it myself but I still believe that many Dragon Quest fans were ripped of what could have been a graphical masterpiece. Dragon Quest VIII was after all released 6 before Dragon Quest IX. SquareEnix really knows how to keep their fans. (*Cough* Major sarcasm *Cough) Personally, putting graphics aside, there is much content in the game; I've easily clocked about 120 hours into it and still have some stuff to accomplish. I have beaten the main story though.
I don't think any Dragon Quest game really had that much of a story to gripe for. With the exception of a few the story in this game isn't all that tremendous. It's pretty basic with a few plot twists here and there, but the plot isn't to be classified as revolutionary. You have the Hero of the game being an angel; a Celestial being that over looks the world below from the "Protectorate". I never was a theist but I have always liked the tweaks of putting a religious theme to a game. It worked very well with Breath of Fire II and decent for Final Fantasy X. Same with this one, it holds the identity of the game well by having the presence of a Deity or God to the game. Although Dragon Quest IX did seem to disregard the story for a huge amount of the game. No joke, the story doesn't open up much until the middle to ending of the game. Besides the very beginning, your main objective is to do repetitive fetch quests. (sort of) The routine is usually go to a town with a major problem, fixing the problem, and then getting fruit-like objects called "Fyggs". I think it's short for Benevolence...? (The name is nowhere near close) But the point is chained to what Benevolence stands for. Fyggs are supposed to display the affection of mortals towards the Celestial angels. If you think collecting 8 of these tedious then turn the game off. 3/4 of the game is pretty damn annoying.
The gameplay is pretty good. It's no different from the predecessors in having to train and grind to stay healthy in levels so that you don't get your butt whooped. But with the constant running around collecting Fyggs, the game limits many areas until via airship. And that is end game content...so you're only given a ship to travel the seas. You can't visit the entire world until you beat the game. But the dungeons to explore are pretty unique looking and most of the time different so that is one on the plus side. There are MANY different types of enemies to encounter, and the alchemy you can muster up is far from linear. They also fixed a flaw from Dragon Quest VIII in this game. The Alchemy Pot no longer requires you to wait long periods of time to create items. I put many hours into my data and I'm only pushing through 30% completion. The game's library of ingredients are massive and will have you spending countless hours if you want to work at it. New to the series Side Quests are ranged in numerical order for when you want to do a personal favor and lend a hand to the denizens of Dragon Quest IX. Not only that but there are hidden coves to explore so it makes up a bit of side exploration. Secret items and Legacy bosses can be found in them. Legacy bosses are summed up as the last bosses in each of the Dragon Quest games before IX. So if you don't to be spoiled, then play all 8 of the previous entries before fighting the Legacy bosses. But all in all, there is much content to be had, so you won't get bored easily.
I for one can't stand characters that don't speak in video games. Especially if they are the main character. I feel that it's gotten worse in this game because even in the older Dragon Quest games you at least see what the Hero has been experiencing, what his heritage is and his ancestors etc. There really isn't much of an description for the Hero. I specifically named him "Hero" too because I couldn't find what his default name was. Almost every previous Dragon Quest has a default name even if you look it up. I couldn't find one for IX. There is not much for the side characters either since they are created (from scratch) by you. They do this in the third Dragon Warrior game too but that game was made well over 20 years ago. It's as if they are stuck in the late 80's. This game doesn't get any mercy because it's only 2 years old.
The boss theme for this game...is absolutely horrendous. Probably the worst music in the entire game. The first time I heard it, I literally died laughing. There is no explanation of how much it's bad. I can't even tell you how because you just need to listen to it for yourself. Aside from the Boss Theme, the dungeon theme plays in EVERY single freaking dungeon...so repetitive. The only good factor about the music is listening to the remastered Legacy boss themes from previous Dragon Quest games. Especially the first 4 considering the original 4 on the Nintendo Entertainment System were made from chip tunes.
I'm never one to complain about graphics, but for the Nintendo DS, they're fine. HOWEVER everybody wanted to see a Dragon Quest game released onto a 7th gen console. What's the problem? We haven't had a Dragon Quest game (besides Dragon Quest Swords for Wii) on the Wii, or the Playstation 3. SquareEnix always finds fresh ways to ignite their fan-base in rage.
If you can bypass the tedious music and Fygg collecting, replaying this for that CLASSIC Dragon Quest feel is great. Just make sure to mute the game when you're in a Boss battle. One good thing is that you can play this anywhere. It's portable so if you want to, you can play Dragon Quest on-the-go! I think it's a good game to replay overall, just make sure you have plenty of spare time on your hands.
If you are a fan of Dragon Quest, add this to your future list of games to play. It is a fun game to play and worthwhile in the series. Level 5 hopefully won't "innovate" the series too much. I want to see another future Dragon Quest game as good as IV or V. If you're not a fan, this wouldn't be the first Dragon Quest game I would recommend. But it's so-so.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/27/12, Updated 08/20/12
Game Release: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (US, 07/11/10)
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