Posted on 12th Sep 2008 at 3:02 PM UTC

Dragon Quest IV Review

For the RPG man aboot toon...

Ow be knackin' vore? We're playing a bit too much Dragon Quest IV, and all those country dialects have us as crumpiddy as a flittermouse. Square Enix have really gone to town on the localisation. Scots, Irish and scrumpy-lovin' Westcountry types - the dialects are so accurately realised that most need reading out loud to comprehend. That, or a year of translating a Geordie art editor for practice.

Social climbing

Squeenix have every reason to lavish the localisation love - Dragon Quest IV's story is renowned in RPG history (and previously denied from our shores by dunderhead publishers). By telling it through five characters - the chosen of the game's title - the world is brilliantly layered up.

Dragon Quest IV Screenshot
A princess one second and a lowly merchant the next, you not only jump across the continent but up and down the social strata, too. When that final battle comes it genuinely feels like the many good citizens of the world united against the bad.

Character-hopping also circumvents some of the grinding issues. Every time a chapter concludes you're thrust into a new pair of level-one shoes - a grinding 'mare, surely? Not at all. Think of it like this: when is grinding at its most satisfying? When you're eating through the ranks as an up and coming youngling. The blare of the levelling up horns, the ever spiralling stats - the dull five hours of monster-bashing for two measly hit points doesn't set in until late in the final chapters.

The skeleton that shapes the game means squat if the combat meat is fetid, and here Quest is far more behind the times. As in Neolithic. Dragon Quest has always shied away from the experimental bent of Final Fantasy - no job classes or complicated ability trees here - and some will find the basic attacks and magics two-hander a little stale. Odd moments are inspired, shopkeeper Torneko's4 randomised comedy attacks raise a smile, but the 'attack, heal, cure poison' routine isn't amazing.

In this regard, Chapters is a lot more like the DS Final Fantasy remakes - although ArtePiazza's rotating 3D world stomps all over FF's. It's as a never-before-played adventure that Dragon Quest most impresses. Forgive it its age and appreciate its forward-thinking. We be tellin' yers so.

The verdict


An important RPG lesson delivered in gert lush Spin-O-Vision. It's just a shame that combat is wrenched out of 1990 to stink up our 2008 joint.

Nintendo DS
Square Enix
Latest Video
Recommended Links
From The Web


2 comments so far...

  1. Sasquatch9999 on 13 Sep '08 said:

    Hmm sounds good, but there is nothing about the longevity of the game or replay value.

  2. EnchantedDaisy on 19 Sep '08 said:

    What? Do they have an in-house localization expert or something?! (sigh) That was meant to be somewhat sarcastic...but they probably do. I like the touch the dialects add to the game, but I hope it's decipherable and doesn't leave me poking my eyes out with sticks.