Review by Calamity
"Dedicated to the 15+ hours I spent getting the best Jobs at the beginning of the game.[Updated]"
Dragon Warrior VII is the seventh game of the Dragon Warrior/Quest series. I immediately bought it shortly after finishing Dragon Quest VIII. Was it worth it? Oh, yes. A major comeback after the disappointing entry of Dragon Quest VI. Read on to find out more about this game.
Graphics:10/10:Yes, a 10/10. Some may be baffled by me giving it a 10/10. Dragon Warrior VII sticks with traditional 2D Graphics for characters, but mixes it up with 3D environments. First off, the character designs are fantastic. I absolutely love the style of the character designs. It just has such a wonderful unique charm to them. The area designs while not so amazingly fantastic graphically have that same unique old-school charm to them. Enemy designs are still the typical wonderful DQ fare. Animations for attacks aren't too improved from DQVI, but for a strictly 2D game pretty nice. Overall I love the Graphics for Dragon Warrior VII. With Graphics reviewed let's move onto the Gameplay.
Gameplay:8.9/10:Dragon Warrior VII is a traditional old-school RPG like the rest of the series. You'll as usual proceed from town to dungeon. Doing typical things at town before proceeding through the next dungeon. Battles and exploration are done with a four man party. Battles are still done from a first person point of view and battles still go by quickly. As usual battles are usually decently difficult. Enemies usually have decent HP and will use spells to their advantage. Boss fights also put up a good challenge in Dragon Warrior VII as well. Really though, like every game in the series it depends upon the player. If you go through the game at a faster pace fighting your way through more carefully and strategically it will be pretty challenging. If you go through at a much slower pace and level a lot it will be a good deal easier. Shortly after the first three or so hours into the game you'll explore the ruins fully. You'll find out about the shards system. Which I will speak about after covering a few new wonderful added menu options.
Dragon Warrior VII has a lot more friendly menus compared to the previous games in the series. It's like the Dragon Quest III SNES remake when it comes to menus out of battle. No longer every time you wish to use a spell out of battle must you use it then be exited out of the menus. You simply go back to the spell menu and can choose whither to use that spell again or another spell more easily. This is great because it makes healing a lot less obnoxious. Plus, if you go to the Plan section of the menu you'll find two options you most likely will love. The options are tidy Bag or all non equipment items. It helps organize your character's inventories far more easily and organizes your bag too. Tidy bag basically organizes your bag. The other option all non equipment items clears all characters inventories of any non equipped items and puts the non equipped items into the bag. This entry also made some improvements to the A.I. as well. No longer can you only just assign one A.I. tactic that the whole party has to follow. You can now assign each individual party member a specific A.I. tactic you want them to do. As mentioned before a major part of Dragon Warrior VII is the shards and ruins. So, allow me to explain and comment on that please.
Where you must find certain shards from different regions and time periods to visit other regions/time periods. It's a great feature in some ways, but a bad one in some ways. It's great because it encourages you to really explore every nook and cranny of towns and dungeons. As for the problems with the shards I'll address them later with the other game problems. Now, a great twist to Dragon Warrior VII is...
Like the previous entry in the series Dragon Quest VI the job system is available in this game as well. At one point you'll reach the Dhama Shrine. Here a character can change their job class. Each Job class has higher stats in certain stats and lower stats in certain stats. Also each Job class learns different skills. To make things more intricate when certain Job classes are mastered you'll unlock better ones. The job system compared to Dragon Quest VI's was a improvement. In Dragon Quest VI the job classes were terribly unbalanced. Some classes were really overpowered and some of the abilities were just flat out unbalanced. In Dragon Warrior VII the balance has greatly improved and you'll only maybe find a few really unbalanced skills at most. The job system isn't too much to really get excited about though... Due to the fact that you'll usually only use certain jobs that are best fit for the job. Unless you really do a lot of research regarding the jobs you want to pick. However, you can of course come up with possibly better party combinations to use in a future playthrough. Which does give the game slightly more replay value. In order to gain more skills for each Job class you'll go up ranks. Each Job class has eight ranks to go through. Once the eighth has been reached you'll have mastered that job class. Like the previous battle ranks are earned by battling. Also, like the previous game you must face formidable foes to prevent extremely easy Job leveling. Now, while I've addressed the good things about Dragon Warrior VII let me talk about the bad parts.
First off, as said before the Shards system is bad in some ways. You'll need to often use a guide to save yourself from hours of exploration and frustration. If you got a random shard, but have no idea which tablet it goes into you'll have to waste some time figuring out which shard you obtained. Also, two more problems with Dragon Warrior VII is the leveling and length. Dragon Warrior VII requires you to do a decent amount of job leveling. You can tell by my review topic that job leveling certainly doesn't go by too fast. So, you'll really need to dedicate yourself to the game. The game is so much fun though you won't mind job leveling for a hour or two. As for the length... Yes, a major problem too in some ways. Dragon Warrior VII takes at least 85 hours to complete using a guide the whole game. While it's good to have a long game for some people it's not. People who have busy lives and don't get to spend too much time playing games will be proceeding through Dragon Warrior VII very slowly. Overall Dragon Warrior VII has very good Gameplay with a few problems. It's a extremely fun game and well worth at least one playthrough. Now, onto reviewing the Storyline.
Storyline:7.5/10:Dragon Quest isn't known too much for a complicated plot. Rather, character development. Dragon Warrior VII takes a different approach. It focuses on several sub plots that have very well written dialogue and are decently interesting. To make things better the translation for the game is fairly good as well. The game could have used some more character development really though. At first the character development is quite good and your party usually speaks with the people involved in events. As time goes on though, your party seems to talk less during events and the character development quickly goes away. Overall great dialogue, but decent main plot and decent character development hurts it. Time for the last category Music.
Music:10/10:I love the Music in Dragon Warrior VII. Of about the eleven songs in the game I can only think of one I don't love. Otherwise, the rest I love and two songs I specifically like are the tower dungeon song and Heavenly Village. Both are songs that rank high among my favorite songs of the series.
Overall:9/10:Dragon Warrior VII is a great, but not perfect entry into the series. It's extremely fun, but has a few Gameplay problems. The Graphics have a wonderful unique charm to them especially the character designs. Music is quite impressive and I find Dragon Warrior VII to have one of the best soundtracks of the series. Storyline while having a decent plot and decent character development, has several well written sub plots. The dialogue during scenes is also very good as well. Overall if your a fan of the series Dragon Warrior VII is well worth a purchase. So, from Lord_Kefka Dragon Warrior VII gets a 9/10.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/20/08, Updated 11/17/08
Game Release: Dragon Warrior VII (US, 10/31/01)
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