Review by KOVO333
"Screw the haters, find one of the best adventures available NOW"
In the tidal wave of Squaresoft(pre-Squeenix) RPG's of 1999-2002 was lost a rare gem of a game that, if you didn't hop on it early, now you may have to pay between $50- $200 to buy. Very limited edition, I got it around the first time it came out. Me being about 13-14 and obsessed with the graphics-heavy Final Fantasy 9, Chrono Cross, Vagrant Story, etc. and the recent purchase of Dead or Alive 2/Grand Theft Auto with my new ps2, I was very perplexed at the graphics of this game and my inability/impatience to get anything to happen, so I returned it to GS within a week to buy Final Fantasy Chronicles, featuring two games I could've downloaded within 10 minutes at home for free. But I wanted to see the new animated Chrono Trigger cut-scenes, so I paid about 4000% more than I should have just to see similar Akira Toriyama artwork.
Anyway, fast forward to 9 or so years later and I'm over at my friends house and marveling at his videogame collection.
Having beaten Dragon Quest 8 about 2 years earlier I decided to give DW VII another go. He was surprised that, after seeing all the Xbox, Dreamcast, and PS2 games, I would want to play a PS1 game that even he couldn't get more than 15 minutes into. So, on that note, let's get this started
Gameplay: Allow me to simplify the game for you. Your success and survival in this world relies on your exploration and awareness of your environment. Triangle is your main action button and pressing it lets you pick up jars/barrels and toss them, open drawers and closets, talk to people(try talking to them 2-3 times for additional info), examine signs/paintings, the ground under your feet (always search the bottoms of wells, pressing triangle every square foot, plenty of TinyMedals down thar). If you do not explore towns thoroughly and brave every possible dead end of the dungeons you will miss out on some awesome gear/essential key items.
This game assumes you know how to play RPG's, it doesn't hold your hand.
Besides that, rotating your camera is cool and allows you to see every room from every angle so you won't miss anything IF you rotate(are you starting to understand?). You can also zoom out entire towns by pressing square and rotate to find an inhabitant/building you may not have explored or need to find quickly. You can't do that in any pre-renderedbackground Squaresoft games of the day.
Probably the peak of classical turn-based RPG's when it comes to battle systems. Rule number 1: At the beginning of your first battle, press right on the D-Pad. Adjust the battle speed to how fast or slow you want it. I did not discover this until about 70+ hours into the game. I could've shaved off at least 20 hours by speeding up the battles.
The words challenging and RPG for the most part don't go together nowadays. This game is unforgiving and if you are too much of a little bit** to rise up and conquer a challenge or have been made too stupid by today's games to strategize in advance, you will die. Period. I'm pretty sure Dark Souls got their tagline You WILL die from this game. I almost gave up at 3 separate times because I was convinced it was impossible to beat (X) Boss. The first time was about 49 hours in. I took such a long break(6 months) that I forgot 90% of everything that happened before I got to said boss (Gracos)
Classes are another major(?) point to the game. You are able to learn abilities/spells according to the class you choose. There is a HUGE number of classes to choose from, mix and match with to become damn-near god yourself. Though this is entirely optional. A certain character joins your party and has the Title/Job of Epic Hero. I left it at that. The character kept learning new skills and was just as strong as my jobbed-up characters. Aira only ended up mastering Warrior and Dancer...My only gripe with the battle system is the sheer VOLUME of battles needed to master certain classes. To get to a Level 8 Godhand, I had to plow through...are you ready for this? 1150 battles...This isn't even including the side jobs I had to take up just to get healing/protective spells. Jesus F*** I can't believe I actually made it to GodHand. Seems like so long ago I was a lowly Fighter...or was that Cleric? I wish they would've reduced the number of battles to master the 8 levels.
I will just say this. For the final battle, you BETTER have a SageRock and the HealUs spell. If not, good luck with that sh**. Only things that kept me alive. And don't go metal slime hunting too early in the game if you want to learn skills fast. Wait til Disc 2, they're everywhere...
A lot of this game relies on intuition and rarely tells you what needs to be done next, though there are hints available. I only needed to visit the witch at the crater once to find a missing shard, but I'm glad she was there. The programming on this game is excellent, it is technically impossible to get stuck to the point you have to restart the game. I read on a walkthrough on here about some glitch that happens if you do something and I did that thing, but the game never glitched or froze for me...I dunno
If you smoke weed, light it up and often, because you're gonna be here a while. 122 hours in my experience.
Gameplay score = 9/10
Spoiler-Free Final Boss Tip: Gamble everything you have on the second and third forms of this boss. Use whatever strong attacks/magic yo have to defeat them ASAP or else you're gonna be sprinkling time-sand to restart or lugging 3 coffins back to church...
Graphics: Get used to them, because they don't change at all. Unless you're playing on a PS2. Enix pushed back the release date for about a year just to encode this for better/smoother graphics when loaded on a ps2.
The randomly chosen 5-6 FMV/CG scenes look like some horrible Xavier: Renegade Angel nightmare episode. I believe I read somewhere that this was originally gonna be for the N64 (which would've only made the best console ever even greater)...I'm pretty sure Enix was spending too much money making child-sex games to care about making the cut scenes in here believable.
I'm not denigrating the graphics at all. They're unique and easy on the eyes once you settle in for about an hour or so. The color palette was chosen to be relaxing, with greens and blues and browns everywhere. Definitely intelligently designed... Your sprites look the same, shuffling their limbs whether they are walking, standing still, climbing a ladder/rope, etc.
Thank you Heart Beat Studio, even tho you only made two games you will always be remembered in my heartbeat.
Graphics score 9/10
Story: This...THIS appears to be what makes this an eternal classic. Your mother wakes you up one morning to go run errands and you eventually get pulled in by your friends into traversing different time periods to rescue the present/future. Wait...that's the synopsis to Chrono Trigger/Chross...
Oh well, Yuji Horii, the creator of Dragon Quest also co-created/wrote the Chrono canon, so I could care less. One Piece has a similar format to Dragonball, I still enjoy One Piece more.
I'm not gonna ruin real details about the story, just get into it. The ending had me nearly in tears, I can only say this about maybe 2 other games I've played. I did not expect what happened to happen.
This is the type of old school text-based RPG where they expected you to have learned to read/comprehend what you read at at least a 10th grade level before you pick up a video game. If you made it this far into the review, you may be successful at reading the endless dialogue boxes in this game.
Alot of haters on other reviews complain about a lack of character development. Maybe this is because they never opened the menu and pressed talk. Your party members have thousands of lines of dialogue if you just stop and talk to them every now and again. They comment on people you talk to (the party consensus on a certain housemaid is she's batsh** insane). One of my favorite moments is when Gabo calls me a Son a Bit** when I call him a liar...
When you start disc 2 you are not told how to progress the story...Go to have dinner with the king on your home island to get things rolling. It took me 3-4 hours to find that out.
Story score: 10/10 Wish I could give it 11...
Sound: No voices ( thank you Enix)
The loading SFX of passing through a door, going up/down stairs, entering/leaving towns, is the exact same crickle-crackle sound. I personally loved it, and you better learn to love it becuz you're gonna be hearing it at least 1,000 times...that's being liberal. I think I heard it upwards of 5000+. Anyone who watched me play it said the sound was either cute or hilarious so once again, thank you Heart Beat for choosing a timeless SFX.
You also got the standard 8-bit melody play when you defeat a monster/boss...
The soundtrack by KoiSugi(Koichi Sugiyama for you ignorant fools who don't know) is deffinitly one of the best I've ever heard. He was trained in classical music, and his opting for a baroque-era sounding OST was a great decision. Just wish there were more songs. I have the Original and Symphonic Arrange soundtracks, I can't decide which one I love more.
Sound Score = 10
Replayability: If you're on your grind you'll keep coming back until you finish it. Sometimes I hated just turning on the ps2 for 1-2 hours SOLELY for battling. After that, there's 2 bonus dungeons once you beat the final boss...I don't see myself replaying this for about another 5 years tho
Replayability = 9/10
Overall: The only Final Fantasy games that compare to this may be 6...possibly 9. And neither of those on a battle level. The only RPG peer I've played on this game's level is the Chrono series(Trigger/Cross). And Rogue Galaxy at some moments...
Going back to replay Dragon Quest 8 (I'm doing a fist-fighting only replay, make-believing its a kung-fu movie) after 7 was kinda disappointing. The lack of delineated/complex classes, and the addition of front-loaded, character specific skills, and lack of battle-speed adjustment, slow running is only counter-balanced by the amazing music, Level-5's mad development skills, weapons and story.
Cons: Having to run up and down a mountain 5 times or back and forth between a Fane(holy temple) and a town to retrieve an inhabitant/some item gets annoying as F***. Luckily it only happens twice in the entire game.
I wish the sprites would change appearance according to what gear/job class you have at the moment.
Pros: Uhh, its Dragon Quest 7. Now go find out why its the best selling Playstation game of all time...
Forget those flash in the pan games like Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Spec-Ops, Mass Effect 3.
This is lightning in the skillet
Final Score - 9/10 This may be as close to perfect you'll find on the Playstation...or any system. I will defend this game...for life. Definitely up there with Ocarina of Time, GTA: San Andreas, blah blah blah Bob Loblaw (other obligatory best games every made)
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/25/12
Game Release: Dragon Warrior VII (US, 10/31/01)
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