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'Dragonquest IX' heats up series

Aug 27, 2010

By Donna Whitney - G4 Canada

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Dragonquest IX'Dragonquest IX'? Where do I begin? Without a doubt, it is an impressive addition to the series. As the game begins, you are a Celestrian Guardian who needs to recover scattered "Fyggs". What are "Fyggs" you may ask? "Fyggs" are fruit from a sacred tree.

As you might have guessed, the storyline isn't that strong but don't let a little thing like plot dissuade you.

This standard, turn-based RPG comes loaded with clever features. The first bit of niftiness is your ability to customize both the look and profession of your four party members. Six vocations are available when you begin: warrior, mage, priest, martial artist, thief, and minstrel. Further along in the game, as you successfully complete a series of quests, you will be able to specialize your party members by opening up advanced character categories of: armamentalist, ranger, gladiator, sage, paladin, and luminary.

Dragonquest IXAs one would expect, fighting enables your party members to earn currency and gain individual experience points. After earning the required amount, a party member can allocate skill points into one of six categories, depending upon the vocation selected.

The game creators expand the character functionality as the game progresses and weave that functionality into the storyline. For example, it isn't until you reach the town of Stornway - a city discovered after a few hours of play - that certain game features become available to you, including: alchemy, online shopping, adventuring with your friends online, visiting other friends' worlds and even scouting for visitors. Later in the game, you will even have the opportunity to change your profession or the profession of your party members and sail around in your boat to discover areas that were previously unreachable.

Dragonquest IXLet me tell you, this 'Dragonquest IX' world is massive. The variety of ingredients to find and the plethora of recipes to cook up is incredible. At level 30, I've far from exhausting the list of things to make or places to go. It is also worth noting that the variety of weaponry and armoury available to your characters and the multitude of side quests to accomplish is off the chart. I was also pleased with the game graphics and use of both DS screens. The story was well complimented by the cut-scenes and general gameplay visuals. There is one small graphical critique in the way the storyline characters moved when something significant in the plot occurred; the only reaction they seemed capable of was a small jump up or down. After enjoying the quality of the movie sequences and the detail in the gameplay graphics, it was a definite shortcoming.

Dragonquest IXThe game fell short in only a very few areas: thin plot; repetitive monster fighting; and terrible, cheesy 1970's game show music. Boss fights were always entertaining but general monster fighting grew rather stale; fortunately, such simple fights are easy to avoid if you cleverly dodge the enemy. The awful music was also easily avoided by muting the DS.

'Dragonquest IX - Sentinels of the Starry Skies' was actually one of the better games I've played and that's due to the extensiveness of its world and the amazing features. The positives outweigh the shortcomings. If you're into RPGs, 'Dragonquest IX - Sentinels of the Starry Skies' is worth the buy.

 

Dragonquest IX'Dragonquest IX - Sentinels of the Starry Skies'
Format: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Nintendo, Square Enix
Developer: Level-5, Square Enix
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Site: http://dragonquest.nintendo.com/

Rating: 7.5 / 10


 
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