Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation
A remake of Dragon Quest VI: Maboroshi no Daichi
Dragon Quest VI did not receive an enhanced remake on a console until the Nintendo DS. The Dragon Quest VI enhanced remake for the Nintendo DS was announced in late 2007 by Square Enix and was developed by ArtePiazza. A handful of changes were made to the game, some remaining controversial among fans.
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And I was okay with that but I don't like leaving playthroughs unfinished, especially if they are so close from the end (and even if I was playing on replaying this game anyway), so I paused my Dragon Quest VII run to close the book on this one and pushed out the last few chapters. I pride myself on my recent habit of finishing RPGs but any playthrough that has years worth of breaks in between– you're gonna lose the plot. Luckily finishing this game off wasn't too hard since I picked some great class progressions.
So what is the deal with Dragon Quest VI? I think its focus on vignette-based storytelling and having two large worlds to explore make it a little immemorable. There is too much game in this DQ6. Too many towns, too many vehicles. The real world/dream world plotline is overly complicated. I never got a good sense of how the two worlds work together.
That said, any game with a class system as robust as the one DQ6 has gets point for me. That sort of thing– picking classes and levelling them up– has great appeal and overall the Dragon Questiness of this journey is infectious and satisfying.
And I guess I am a little forgiving of this game's shortcomings because they were trying to do something different. Yeah, I prefer the tighter narrative of Dragon Quest V but Enix had already made that game so for the next one they went for something more open-ended and episodic. They might have not done a great job but overall I still think they made a pretty good game.
The dream world/real world stuff here is a really interesting premise narratively and it's a shame that the game doesn't explore it to its fullest extent. There's some great moments (we all remember that part in Weaver's Peak) but it feels like a missed opportunity otherwise. The game also really loses its steam after Murdaw's Keep and the back half of the game is full of "what the hell" moments and bizarre dialogue triggers that were very few and far between in 4/5. The characters are all very well-written but it's a little unfortunate that you still can't party chat with anyone in the wagon since that's where the overwhelming majority of their characterization stems from (even if 7 dialogue boxes after each NPC conversation is a bit much). It's especially upsetting since Nevan and Ashlynn, two of the more enjoyable characters, break into a million pieces of glass every time they get hit and just aren't viable for an endgame team
It's cool to see the vocation system return but unfortunately it works more to this game's detriment than anything. They try to strike this weird middle ground between DQ3 and 4 where you can customize characters to a certain degree but they still fall into certain archetypes and it just does not work. There's very little reason not to make Carver/Amos into gladiators and so on. And since anyone can learn healing spells through the Priest vocation, MP management becomes a non-issue very early on. It lacks both the lock-and-key design from 4 where you're encouraged to swap in different party members to suit the battle's needs and the free-form customization from 3 where you swap between vocations instead.
This is still Dragon Quest at the end of the day so the town/dungeons are still excellently designed, the world-building is super strong, and the art is still Really Really Good but it's easy to see why people consider this a bit of a letdown after 3/4/5
Since this is the final entry of a trilogy, I’d like to write a few comments on this set of remakes as a whole:
- The remakes themselves are beautiful. Gorgeous, vivid environments with extremely detailed spritework and some amazing animation during battle scenes. Some of the most pleasant games on the system for sure
- Holy shit the text speed is way too slow. Molasses level. It blows my mind they went three whole games without letting you skip text scrolling with A. The DQ7 remake on 3DS doesn’t fix this either apparently and I’m dreading my playthrough because of that
- I’m a little disappointed that the overworld maps aren’t polygonal like the town/dungeon environments. It’s not a huge deal, but the rigid, tile-based visuals just aren't on par with the rest of the game
- The audio quality is super poor, DQ6 on SFC in particular sounds like a completely different game
- hello all you chucklefucks at Square Enix. why the hell aren’t these on PC/consoles.
that’s all. it feels like i’ve played basically nothing but dragon quest this year despite it just being three games so it’s gonna be a long while until i pick up again with 7. hopefully by then i’ll be able to buy it on a modern storefront on a modern console and play it there instead of having to whip out my waxy wired earbuds and greasy old 3DS from 2012. also dq3 remake next year please.