By Jeff Neuenschwander / November 30th, 2013
Music, for example, was one of those aspects that was good but not a strength. There were a number of lovely melodies that were a part of Dragon Quest IV. And one of my favorite parts was that each chapter had a different world map tune.
However, it was rather apparent that the music was dated. The score, while good at points, felt limited in its depth. There were too few tunes in the game, leading to things like every town on the map having the same song. On top of that, it felt like a number of songs could’ve used another layer to the mix (especially that boss fight at the end of Chapter 5).
Graphics were also something that you could write home about but probably don’t want to gloat too much about. There is a definite improvement over the original NES version but the graphics feel a bit dated for the DS. For instance, Final Fantasy III and IV are games that got the remake treatment around the same time as Dragon Quest IV. However, unlike DQIV, the Final Fantasy games look a lot better and have some sense of depth to them. There was also a definitive 3D element that was added to the game and stands out well, particularly in cut scenes.
In comparison, Dragon Quest IV is rather flat. There does seem like there could be some 3D element to it but you could also make the same argument for the early Legend of Zelda games. There are no sprites for the protagonists during battle; all you will see are the enemies. As for cutscenes, there doesn’t seem to be much interaction with only a couple of spots where characters get physical with one another.
You could argue that since Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are different franchises that they should have a different look. And that’s okay; there isn’t really a bad side to take on this argument. However, it just feels a bit disrespectful on Square Enix’s part as they shove these games onto outside developers while they had one of their teams (along with Matrix Software) do the 3D remakes of Final Fantasy III and IV in-house.
That’s not to disrespect the developer at all. ArtePiazza is a fine developer who worked on one of my favorite Wii RPGs, Opoona. It just seems like they were not only outmatched in resources for their remake but they were given little priority from Square Enix as they tried to squeeze as much as they could from Final Fantasy.
But there are some positives to the system that we can all enjoy. First off, outside of a number of dungeons, you can switch you team up during battle. This means that if one team member faints you can replace them in-battle with another character. And while you can’t change classes like in later Dragon Quest games, there is added flexibility in the remake as you’re now allowed to control each character manually during battle–this is something that wasn’t around in the original NES game.
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen on the Nintendo DS may not have all the bells and whistles of its contemporaries’ remakes but it still has the elements that make it a good Dragon Quest game. The story is very solid. Characterization is a welcome flair. Gameplay is better than before. It may not hit all the right notes but it does enough to make it memorable.
Review copy was purchased by the writer.
Trailer from YouTube channel dragonquestnet.
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