Review by MRHD

"This game truly deserves the title of perfection."

Having played almost a hundred different role playing games over the past twelve years I have seen games of varying quality, from the excellent, to the mediocre, to the downright pitiful. However, I had never played a role playing game that I would have given the label of perfection to, believing that even the best games have their flaws… that belief was shattered once I imported the Dragon Quest IV remake.

Gameplay: 10

The heart and soul of any game; good gameplay can make an otherwise bad game worthwhile, while bad gameplay can render an otherwise decent game unplayable. Dragon Quest IV manages to shine very brightly in this area, with a relatively simple yet incredibly fun battle system, essentially the same one found in the other games in the series. And while you may not be able to micro-manage every aspect of your character’s abilities like you can in some other rpgs, you will find yourself having to strategically use the skills that you do have, and will also find that a mere physical onslaught is often not enough to gain you victory. Also the chapter five AI, which many fans of the original NES/Famicom version hated, has been made optional in the remake; this alone is enough to move up my opinion of the game several notches.

This game also features a chapter system that varies wildly from most games that include chapters; instead of using the chapters to simply signify different parts of the game, in Dragon Quest IV each chapter will start you off in a new story, in a new part of the world, with a new character or characters. Eventually all of these characters will be brought together into one grand quest. This is one aspect that I truly love about this game, and I really wish that other rpgs would try similar things. Also, long before Final Fantasy X allowed you to switch between characters in battle Dragon Quest IV allowed you to do this with the help of a wagon, which you will gain access to during your journeys. However the wagon cannot be brought into many of the dungeons, so don’t rely too much on the ability to switch characters when the going gets tough!

Graphics: 10

Although these graphics do not push the Playstation to its limits I feel they deserve a ten. I consider the fact that this is a remake to be a heavy factor in this decision; certain other companies would be content to leave the outdated graphics of their supposedly remade games untouched, but not content to take the easy way out Enix has done a complete overhaul in this instance. The graphics are very much in the same style as those in Dragon Quest VII; and although I admit that the sprite on 3d background style of the two Playstation installments of the Dragon Quest series does take a bit getting used to, I have come to like it and I feel that it does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the series.

Also, the battle graphics should not be overlooked; I feel that these are the best battle graphics to grace the Playstation. I found the backgrounds to be much more appealing to the eye than those in Dragon Quest VII, and like with Dragon Quest VII I feel that this game has the best monster graphics to be seen on the Playstation. While so many other games sacrificed detail and artistry in order to render monsters in 3d, Dragon Quest IV features well drawn monster artwork that is animated in often unique and creative ways.

Music: 10

I will admit; some of my favorite game music comes from the NES version of Dragon Warrior IV. However, do not expect this disc to blare out midi music at you. Rather, all the soundtracks have been redone to CD quality, with Enix once again showing other companies how remakes should be done. Don’t fret however; this is still the same music that you have come to know and love, the quality of it has just been improved tenfold. The music never seems to fail to set the mood, and it is always catchy. This is undoubtedly my favorite video game soundtrack.

Story: 10

This is what an rpg story should be all about. Not so overbearing as to make you wonder whether you are playing a game or just flipping through the pages of a video novel, but still delivering moments that will draw up emotions and create a lasting impact. At first it may seem like the standard “boy of destiny saves world from evil” game, but give it time; it is much deeper than that. Also, each chapter in the game has its own unique story behind it, and seeing all the threads tie together as the game progresses is some of the most fun I have ever had with an rpg. New turns in the plot have also been added to this version of the game, so even Dragon Warrior/Quest IV veterans will be in for a few surprises.

Side Quests: 10

This is one area where the remake really shines above the original. First of all, you will have the option to build up an immigrant town, similar to the one in Dragon Quest VII. You will also be able to work on filling out a monster scroll like the one in Dragon Quest VII, although this one is much more user friendly; no longer will you have to flip through monsters one by one, but instead a number of them will be listed on each page of the scroll, and you can then click on the name of the monster you wish to see. Also, the small medal side quest has been revamped, with more medals to collect and new prizes to be had. Finally, a number of goodies have been added for those who complete the game. I won’t spoil anything, but trust me they are well worth searching out!

Overall: 10

So much has been added to this already fabulous game, many more things than I could possibly cover in this one review. This game is a must for fans of the Dragon Quest/Warrior series, and indeed I would say that this game is a must for rpg fans in general. This is a game that never gets old; this is the type of game that you will want to come back to again and again. Dragon Quest IV for the Playstation is a flawless gem of a game, and it is a pity that it will no longer be seeing a North American release. Don’t let yourself be denied the pleasure of playing this masterpiece; if there ever was a game worth importing this is it.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/31/02, Updated 03/31/02

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