By William Haderlie / January 20th, 2016
Yesterday Nintendo of America narrowed down the release window of Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past to Summer 2016. Previously we had been given just a 2016 release window. This is very good news for some community members worried that this would be vaporware. After all, the original release was both massive and a bit controversial. Not the type of controversies that fill our gaming press currently, but more of a style conflict.
As much as Dragon Quest VIII was considered an old-school jrpg, Dragon Quest VII was far more old school than that. And the development period was so long that other jrpgs like Final Fantasy VIII and The Legend of Dragoon were already out and showing what the PlayStation was truly capable of. I myself was, and still am, a huge fan of those classic game styles, so I loved that game. But I do admit that the game is almost intimidatingly large and brutally difficult.
New Dragon Quest VII English Screenshots
Some of those aspects of the game were altered for this remake, and some were kept in. Nintendo released new screenshots of the English translation of the game that show off some of those changes.
This screenshot shows that it retains your party view of having all your party members displayed and following behind you. This is the classic Dragon Warrior style. But the camera has been tightened in and the perspective lowered to a much more three dimensional view. This helps with viewing on the small 3DS screen and also shows the wonderful detail of that Akira Toriyama art design. The character designs are also taller and more fleshed out than the original squat sprites.
This screen shows that the battle screen is given the same options at the beginning, but beyond the better graphics for the monsters and the background, the enemies are also animated. This has been the style of the Dragon Quest games since VIII, but for VII they were not animated at the time.
And this screen shows that you will not only be able to see your own party members in the fight, unlike the original, but they will also animate similarly to the way they do in the Nintendo DS title Dragon Quest IX. This is great news, as it makes the time that you spend fighting much more interesting. And for those old school DQ fans out there, they know just how much fighting that will be. The game is very long people.
This screen shows that the map restoration in the temple (basically the main mechanic that makes this game what it is and defines it as being different than the other DQ titles) has remained intact. However, the next screen shows a new addition.
This character was not in the original. In the original you had to go into each room and search around the room for the correct pillar to add your new map puzzle piece. This was made more complicated in the mid-game when you would often receive multiple map pieces that were not all to the same puzzle. While the Japanese Dragon Quest fans are decidedly hard core, it looks like even they were interested in changing that mechanic to be more user friendly.
This is one of the largest changes in the game. The world map now contains visible enemies in much the same way that Dragon Quest IX did. But the perspective is down lower to the level of Dragon Quest VIII. This should make picking out some enemy types that you want to fight a bit easier. Because of the class system in DQ VII, you will be spending a ton of time finding enemies that will give your grind a boost. While it bears some similarity to the class system of Dragon Quest IX, it was much more brutally grind heavy.
Last we have our heroes emerging from the teleporter, ready to explore this new land. Much of the game will be spent with these three characters and the fourth battle spot will be a rotating list of characters for each portion of the game you are in. The character designs are looking really good and are far more expressive than in the original. These new screen shots have my excitement level growing at an exponential rate. So it is a good thing that Square Enix and Nintendo released these in conjunction with narrowing the release date.
For more information on Dragon Quest VII, and eventually the remake of Dragon Quest VIII as well, keep it here at Operation Rainfall.
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