Friday, 23 July 2010
Game of the Week: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)
Yes, Dragon Quest IX finally reached UK shores today! Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, which was released in Japan in July last year, marks the ninth game in the long-running and extremely popular Dragon Quest series, which was created by Yūji Horii and published by Square Enix, who are best-known for games series such as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts.
For those of you who are not familiar with any of the previous games in the Dragon Quest series, the plot is fairly simple and involves a Celestrian (or Guardian Angel) who ends up on an observatory above the Earth, which overlooks a village called 'Angel Falls'.
The Celestrian is meant to observe the humans in the village and protect them from harm, but one day there is a accident during a ceremony with the Yggdrasil (or 'Tree of Life'), and the Celestrian falls to Earth. When he regains consciousness, he realizes that he has become human.
This game follows the same basic format as the other games in the series - you can build up your characters skills and abilities (including magic spells and alchemy) by solving various quests and puzzles around 'Angel Falls', and you can also battle monsters and foes with your new skills.
However, Dragon Quest IX is the first game of the series to be developed exclusively for a handheld console, and as such, the new game features some exciting modifications to the overall gameplay.
For example, in all the previous games of the series, battles have been fought using a Random Encounter system, which is standard for many RPGs today, and means that enemies and battles occur at unexpected and random points during the game.
Nevertheless, in a bold move away from its traditional style, Dragon Quest IX makes every enemy location visible on the game map, except when the characters are sailing.
This title is also the first game in the series to feature a co-op multiplayer mode for up to four players, and was specifically designed around the concept of a multiplayer game.
Originally the game was going to feature a real-time battle system, but this was rejected in favour of a more traditional turn-based system instead.
This game is also loaded with customisation options, which includes changing the outfits of all playable characters within the game. This makes it very interactive and increases the game's replay value immensely.
Dragon Quest IX: UK Trailer
Dragon Quest IX has already proven itself to be a bestseller in the Japanese market - having over two million pre-order sales prior to its actual release date, and judging by what the game has to offer its fans, Mini Gamers predicts that it will be just as sucessful in the UK. Definitely a game for RPG fans to add to their collection. Overall rating 9/10.