Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride

Adventuring with the whole family.
John Fox - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Violence:Mild bloodless violence, some tense moments.

Language:Hellava, d*mn used once, hell used in enemy names.

Adult Content:Bunny girls, couple minor suggestive references.

Spiritual Content:NPCs worship goddess, cult trying to free dark god, characters cast magic.

Other:Drunks, bars and gambling.

Developed by Square Enix & ArtePiazza and featuring character and monster design by famed manga artist Akira Toriyama; Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride is a remake of the Japanese SNES exclusive Dragon Warrior V. The 2nd entry in the Zenithian trilogy, it features a brand new monster-catching system that originally pre-dates even Pokemon, a generation based game structure; as well as a character development enhancing feature called party talk.

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The game stars a player-named young boy who is being cared for by his father. As he follows his father around the six year old sneaks off on adventures fighting monsters and gaining levels on his own. The battles are like that of other Dragon Quest games, random JRPG style turned based combat. Eventually the player grows older and sets off on his own to adventure and even gets married and raise a family. A couple hours into the game the player can purchase a wagon and with it recruit monsters who randomly ask to join the party after being defeated. These monsters themselves make a good addition to the party– a good thing as you will be without any human party members besides the hero for a good part of the game. They do however have less skills and spells than other human party members. The game is much easier than DQIV; I only had to go out to gain levels a few short times; however the game is not any easier than your standard RPG.

The graphics engine sports 3D PS1 style graphics like in DQIV. Battle graphics are very nice with detailed waiting and attack animations. Some graphics are obviously reused form DQIV, however this never made the game feel like a rehash of the past game. Music is various catchy tunes, however I found there to be less variety compared to IV; there is only one random battle music for example. Sound effects in battle are stock NES-like sound effects found in the previous games.

The localization is generally well done. Regional dialects make a return but are less prevalent, mostly focusing on certain towns or NPCs. I found them to be overdone compared to IV, one main NPC has an Italian accents and compares everything to food for example. A brand new feature that was mysteriously absent from the English version of IV is party talk. By pressing B, other human party members (not the hero) will comment on recent events. This little feature adds tons of personality to your party members who would otherwise not talk at all. Even though the game is 2nd in the “trilogy”, besides for a few references playing DQ IV is not needed.

The story itself is nothing special, however, the presentation is. The hero (who is revealed to not be the legendary hero!) must gather pieces of the Zenithian equipment and search for a lost relative and the legendary hero. Also, never have I played an RPG so focused on the family. The hero first travels with his father and eventually grows older, marries and has children of his own, who join him on his quest. It is nice to see this in stark contrast to usual RPGs featuring the stereotypical RPG hero whose family only comes into the story either to get kidnapped, show up as the main villain, or wake him up.

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My biggest complaint about the game is that it feels too short. The game takes about 10 hours less than DQIV to beat, around 25 hours, and it is well over half way through the game before you get most of your human party members. That is not to say the game feels rushed, but the end 1/3 of the game should have been longer and better developed.

Violence:

Dragon Quest IV is very non-violent. When characters attack 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. Defeated monsters simply disappear. Sometimes on the dungeon map there is a little more violence, for instance a small boy is threatened at bladepoint to be “sent to hell”, but these are few and far between and still not very graphically violent. There are a couple of tense moments, like once a character is letting himself get killed by monsters to save someone, but it is not any more graphically violent than the rest of the game. Finally, once as a child you sneak into a haunted house and are going to be eaten by ghosts, but the ghosts are defeated before this happens.

Language:

“Hellava” and “D*mn” are used once, hell as a place “I’m going to send you to hell” or in enemy names is used a couple times.

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 suit with fishnet stockings, a tail and bunny ears. Once a dancer comments on how one guy tried to look up her dress. Finally when you get married your mother-in-law can embarrass your wife by saying “Waste no time, I want grandchildren!”. I did not find anything suggestive around your wife having children however; the pregnancy just seems to happen.

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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 slimes, skeletons, demons etc. 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 or cure status aliments. 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 a couple times they don’t act various religious. The NPCs in the game are pretty religious and devoted to this goddess however. You never see the goddess and she does not really play much part in the story. There is also a dragon who was called a Dragon god in DQ IV, but I can’t recall if it is called a god in this game. He does play a part in the story. It is mentioned of someone consulting a fortune teller in the past (probably the one from IV) but this is not seen. Once as a boy you sneak into a haunted mansion. A couple pieces of equipment have devil or demon in their name, like “Demon Spear”. Finally part of the story revolves around the freeing of a dark god by the cult-like villains, and once you are presented with the choice to join his worshippers, however this does not amount to anything at all.

As mentioned before you can collect various monsters to join your team. These range from the cute slime to the stereotypically goat like devils Moosifer. You can choose whatever you want however, besides the saber cat who you have to use at one point in the game. The saber cat itself is described as coming from hell, but it seems that the person was referring to its ferocity rather than place of origin. Finally, when beating the post game bonus dungeon and TnT board the player can get a chibi version of one of the ancient evil from DQIV.

Other:

There are bars in some town, which usually have drunks. As a teenager the player can choose to have a drink one or two places but this does not do anything in the game. There are also a couple casinos in which you can exchange gold for tokens and use them on slots, betting on slime races etc. These can be exchanged for items. Evolution is mentioned in reference to DQIV (such as an NPC Darwin the Psaroligist) but it is not a theme on the game. Some might find it strange that the hero starts off as 6 years old and eventually gets two 8 year old party members when he gets older.

Overall DQV is better than the previous game. People who did not like IV will not find anything new here as it stills feel old-school in nature (though less than that of DQIV arguably). However for veterans of the series they will find another grand adventure. Because of it’s lesser difficulty it is a good place for newcomers to start as well. One question remains, when is VI coming out?




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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