Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation Review «

REVIEW
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation Review
(NintendoDS)
The final (and most challenging) entry in the Zenithia Trilogy struggles to distinguish itself from its peers.
By Kat Bailey 02/14/2011
Share it:Tweet Of all the recent Dragon Quest remakes, Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation seems to be the one most in search of an identity. The original distinguished itself as the most advanced of the “Zenithia Trilogy” (referred to as such because of the castle that appears in all three entries) thanks to its superior graphics and lengthy quest. But today, without the benefit of comparatively improved graphics over its peers, some of the flaws begin to show through.
The adventure shows quite a bit of promise early on: after an unsuccessful attempt to take down the latest in a long line of Demon Lords, the Hero awakens in his village under very suspicious circumstances. Eventually it comes to light that there are two worlds — a Real World and a Dream World — and that the hero can travel between them both. On the surface, they look the same, but several of the more important differences heavily influence the early hours of the game.

Click the image above to check out all Dragon Quest VI screens.
Once the differences become apparent, there’re a succession of mind-bending events that almost seem to presage ambitious PlayStation-era RPGs like Xenogears and Final Fantasy VII, which is interesting for a series better known for its straightforward adventure than its psychological drama. My favorite moment? The King looking into the mirror that shows only truth and suddenly becoming…the Queen. It’s the kind of “what the hell?” moment that makes the opening hours fun and unique.

However, the story abruptly changes gears around the five-hour mark. With one of the main conflicts resolved, the story gives way to a number of self-contained vignettes as the Hero embarks on a literal quest of self-discovery. It’s here that the pace of the story slows considerably, mainly because the ultimate goal feels somewhat inconsequential in the grand scheme of things — almost like a lengthy epilogue. There is in fact a common thread connecting all of the vignettes, but it takes a number of hours to materialize. Until that happens, the game feels more like an extended epilogue than anything else.

The main benefit of playing through the latter portion of the game is that it introduces the class system, which has also appeared in the franchise’s third, seventh, and ninth installments. Square Enix hasn’t done anything to upgrade the class system between the Super Famicom version and the Nintendo DS version of Dragon Quest VI, so there are certain rough patches. It could certainly do with a little more explanation within the game itself, as its mostly left to the player to figure out how long it takes to master a given class, among other things. It’s all well and good to let players figure out how to unlock new classes for themselves, but a few hints here and there would have been nice.

I think my main problem with the class system is that there isn’t much strategy to actually developing the characters. In a game like Final Fantasy V, there’s only enough room to use abilities from one other job, which means a great deal of consideration must be given to mixing and matching the abilities from different classes. Dragon Quest VI’s system isn’t terribly different from that of Final Fantasy V, but all of the abilities carry over from character to character; thus, the only strategy is in figuring out which jobs match which characters. And really, no one in their right mind would turn a bruiser like Carver into a mage.

 

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