Having recieved a New 3DS during the latest yuletime period, I have been gripped by what can only be described as RPG-lust fever. By perusing the new and used options on Amazon I have managed to amass quite the collection already; Bravely Default, Xenoblade Chronicles, Monster Hunter and Fire Emblem to name but a few.
Er.. Heh.. *Ahem*
However, none of these games have recieved quite the attention I am sure they deserve. This is almost entirely due to the 60-something hours I have put into Dragon Quest 9. This game has a tight grip on me and does not want to let go.
Essentially, this game gives you a Dragon Quest universe, points roughly in the direction of the plot, then slinks off for a vacation whilst you figure the rest out. Now this can be an issue - some games do not hold your hand at all, and it can be arrestingly daunting. The first time I picked up Black Flag I played the intro and got to the first port, at which point the game presented me with about eleventy-billion things to do and I summarily turned it off, not knowing which one was important and why. So if it does not hold your hand, nor stifle you with options, why am I enraptured by this game?
Well, for a start, it has the basic RPG fun elements down to a science. Each town I reach has new items. These items are expensive but I would like them, especially since each new item now displays on your party members during battle and on the field. So how could I go about affording them? Well, money is obtained by winning battles and coincidentally so are levels and skill points. Well shit, looks like I am back in the warm comfy grinding zone and 4 hours have passed.
So far, so basic.
Character creation is fairly swish. You customise your main character in a variety of Toriyama designed ways, the the option opening up a short way into the story to customise your class and learn new skills. It was not entirely well described that you can recruit / design further party members, but apparently this is the DQ norm. All in all, still pretty basic right?
However. Things changed somewhat when I started to gain quests. This is not out of the orginary for an RPG game surely, however I was a little surprised at their being 100+ side quests squeezed into this little cartridge. My fondness began to grow further when I realised that despite my 60+ hours of game time, I had only completed 4% of the Alchenomicon - a log of your completed alchemy recipes. For reference, I have completed 16 quests in this time.
That's not to say that the game is long or drags on in any way - you can set up options to ensure your party members simply make thier own choices if you wish, which speeds up battles significantly. They make good decisions too, even using items in battle to cast spells rather than use thier MP pool on stronger spells. Just be sure to turn it off when facing a boss though..
What a guy.
Combine this all with a pleasing aesthetic, a nice soundtrack and a well written script - as above - and well, you have a recipe for disaster. My disaster to be exact, I can't get anything else done.
Now go away, I have Metal King Slimes to locate.
Go on, Shoo!