Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen

John Fox - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: Nintendo DS
Produced by: Square Enix / ArtePiazza
Price Range: $31-40
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teens
ESRB Rating: E10 (Everyone 10 & up)

Reviewed By: John Fox
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Genre: RPG
Christian Rating: 3 of 5 (average)
Gameplay: 4 of 5 (good)
Violence: 4 of 5 (barely present)
Adult Content: 3 of 5 (mild)


Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen.  Illustration copyrighted.


Developed by Square Enix & ArtePiazza and featuring character and monster design by famed manga artist Akira Toriyama; Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen is a remake of the NES game Dragon Warrior IV, featuring enhanced graphics, a new localization, revamped battle system and extra post game content.

Dragon Quest IV is divided into chapters. The first four chapters introduce and staring the various party members that join together in the fifth chapter, which stars a player made hero on his/her quest to defeat the evil forces who are trying to revive the lord of the underworld and gather dark power to evolve themselves into the ultimate monster form. Each of the first four chapters takes around 1-3 hours to complete while the fifth chapter will take from 15-25 hours. The game also offers a post game bonus dungeon as well as some optional bosses. Without spoiling it, the player will want to partake in this post game content.

Graphics have been overhauled since the NES game and are now sports 3D graphics similar to what you would find in the average Playstation 1 game. Dungeons and towns are displayed on both screens (the over-world has a world map on the top screen) and the camera can generally be rotated, a very nice feature for exploring a dungeons. Battle graphics are very nice detailed sprites with (unlike the NES game) detailed waiting and attack animations. However like some past Dragon Quests you do not see your party attack or get hit by the enemies. My only complaints about the graphics is that sometimes the 3D and monster graphics show some oddities, such as sprite warpage and curvature, however it is not too noticeable and it is not enough to effect enjoying the game. Music is various catchy tunes. Battle and world map music change each chapter and at various parts in chapter 5, which is a nice feature. Sound effects in battle are stock NES sound effects found in the previous games.

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen

The battle system has been overhauled since the NES version. Not only is the game easier, but now the player can control all permanent party members (in the NES game the player could only could control the hero of the chapter). The game has turn based RPG combat like the previous DQ games. The party is customized by selecting from the various characters, rather than the class based system of III or the skill based system of VIII. Each permanent party member is unique and different in his or her own way and gets a (generally) different selection of spells.

One of my favorite aspects of the game is the towns; each town is unique and different and has a bit of charm that differentiates itself from each other. Speaking of towns, a new feature allows the player to start his own town by finding town people and even trading their own custom townsperson with others (sadly not online however).

Also new to the remake is the localization, featuring various regional dialects used throughout the game. Everyone in Ragnar’s (aka Ragner in the NES game) chapter speaks with a Scottish accent for example, while the people in Torneko Taloon’s chapter speak in an Irish accent. The localization is generally well done, but some of the dialects seem a bit too much at times. The game also features new character, item and spell names, taking after what you might find in Dragon Quest VIII.

Like other Dragon Quest games battle system and exploration are at the forefront while story at a backseat. The game is fairly fast paced; neither towns nor dungeons are very long by RPG standards. In old school Dragon Quest tradition every so often the player will have to go out and fight monsters to gain experience and gold. Also in Dragon Quest tradition sometimes it is confusing what to do next, forcing the player to lead up upon hints the towns folk may give or to explore on his or her own. Dragon Quest IV definitely stick to it’s old school roots.

Violence:
Dragon Quest IV is very none violent. When characters attacks or cast spells a visual effect is display on screen and the enemy flashes. When the monster attacks you never see the character physically getting hurt, as the character is not displayed on screen. When a character dies they turn into coffins on the world map to be revived by a spell or at a priest. Monsters just disappear when defeated.

Language:
In one port town the sailors there say “hellava” or similar a couple times, once hell is used as a location “lord of hell”. D*mn might also be used once, but I am not 100% sure in my recollection. Once an impish monster with a lisp says “I guess humans don’t thuck after all” (suck).

Adult Content:
There are several things to note. Throughout the game there are girls dressed in bunny girl costumes, which is basically a one piece bathing suite with fishnet stockings, a tail and bunny ears (the former two can be found as items to equip, fishnet stockings are described as “the ultimate in sexy leg ware!”, they do not change how the character looks) though the costume itself is not very revealing. One time during the game a nun asks you to leave because she is about to take a bath, and there is a peeping tom who plans on spying on her in the bushes nearby (it never shows her taking a bath however). One time during the game you find a man and woman standing on two beds pushed together (they are fully clothed), they tell you how they love each other and have moved in with each other and are planning to get married. Two of the party members Meena and Maya show some cleavage when you see their pictures in the instruction manual, box cover and beginning of chapter 4, Maya has a skimpy costume similar to what a belly dancer might wear. One enemy in the game can turn into one of your party members so you can see her there as well, though she is not as detailed, but her chest does bounce around a small bit in her wait animation. Also part of the story is that a party member is an illegitimate child (they don’t even call him this) but this is done very tastefully, never goes into any detail and is only mentioned a couple times. In the player crated town the town members can have a hobby of “puff puffery”, one of the people there started with that for me, though it does not do anything as far as I am aware of. If the player plays as a female hero she is in a weird costume that shows her legs. Finally a merchant snuck into an all female castle by pretending he was a eunuch.

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen

Spiritual Content:
The characters of Dragon Quest have various standard fantasy spells that they use, such as healing, attack magic and magic that can resurrect party members. You fight various monsters such as slims, flying mice, demons and skeletons. The characters in the game worship an unnamed goddess and there are statues of her scattered around as well as churches where you save your game, get revived etc. Her symbol looks a bit like a blunt trident (it is not a pitchfork). There are also priests and nuns of the goddess in the game, though some don’t seem various religious, such as a priest who is drinking in a bar. Sometimes they call her “the great shepherdess” and you her flock. You never see the goddess and she never plays a part in the story. There is also a so called Dragon god who you do see, and who plays a small part in the story. A founder of one of the towns is called the “god of trade”, though they don’t mean he is a god literally. One of your characters Meena is a fortune teller who tells a couple people’s fortunes. She can get an deck of tarot cards that she can use to attack enemies as well as used out of battle to tell your fortune (she tells the fortune, your lucky color etc.) but than reminds you that it is more your actions that causes fortune or misfortune. It can be also used in battle as an item, a random thing happening depending on what card you draw. You never actually physically see the cards however and the item is entirely optional and can be sold or dropped if found. One time during the game it is remarked that a ruler of the kingdom is acting like he sold his soul to the devil, but it turns out that he was possessed by a monster. Finally there is some talk about sacrificing people to gain power or get rid of them, but this is never shown (you actually fight the monsters who are taking sacrifices in Alena’s chapter by pretending you are the sacrifice).

Other:
There are bars in some town, which usually have drunks who say “hic” a lot. There are also a couple casinos in which you can exchange gold for tokens and use them on slots, poker or betting on monster battles. These can be exchanged for items. Part of the story revolves around the villains who are trying to evolve into more power forms and there are a couple references to Darwinism evolution, such as survival of the fittest. One of the new items in the game from the bonus dungeon are “demon spear” and there is a pan-demonic equipment set you can get by defeating the first hidden boss pair again and again.

Though some may be turned off by its old school design, Dragon Quest IV remains a solid choice for those who want an RPG on the go. Those looking for a more modern RPG need to look elsewhere, but for people who love the old school charm and (at times) a lighthearted adventure will find a worthy RPG to keep them busy for 25-35 hours.

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Year of Release — 2008

[tags] 4 stars, RPG, Nintendo DS, E10 (Everyone 10 & up), Square Enix, ArtePiazza [/tags]

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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