OK, so I had a beautiful week in
which my editor sent me the next installment of the Dragon Warrior series, Dragon Warrior
VII. Having already gone through Dragon Warrior III for the Gameboy Color, I was eager to
see what Enix would give me on the PSOne. It felt like a lot, holding it there in my
hands, two discs worth. Dropping it in with thoughts of the cute anime characters on the
packaging, and in the instruction booklet, I was unfortunately greeted with visuals that
immediately sparked a twinge of nostalgia for the 16-bit days. My dream-like state soured
at the graphical quality of the game, but that is where the bitterness stops.
The game is still
quite tough, even if the menu system is a tad bit archaic, along with the battle system,
oh, and lets not forget the ridiculous rigmarole of saving. Where others have
streamlined, Enix continues stubbornly forward with what they developed years ago. And,
truth be told, there is still a portion of my soul that gives itself over to the hardcore
feel DWVII brings to the PSOne.
The quest is
an immense one, taking well over 100 hours to work throughone of the longest games
out there right now that I can readily think of. I mean, where Enix skimped on the
graphics, they made up with things to doyoure always entertained in this game.
Theres always something going on, a litter full of mini-games, classic characters,
etc. It just rocks where it counts, and that would be in the gameplay department. DWVII
balances dungeon exploration with land exploration, allowing you to roam freely throughout
the game, enhancing and personalizing the experience of the RPG. Youre able to
continue forward, pick up clues and progress through the quest, while at the same time
taking as many side-trips as you wish. In this respect, the game is great. I didnt
find myself taking too much time in any one area. It makes you feel like youre
really Role-Playing and not just moving along with someone elses storyline.
on the island of Estard. You, the Hero, and your friend, Keifer, are trying to unlock the
mysteries of the Ruins in North. As you can imagine, this is where the adventure begins.
It wont spoil much to say that within the Ruins youll discover the Tablet
Room, which will serve as a portal to the rest of the Dragon Warrior world. You will need
to discover various shards to unlock gateways through which you can travel to different
lands. Eventually, the quest begins to center itself, and I mean center loosely as there
are multiple mini-games and side-quests, around defeating the Demon Lordand trust
me, thatll take you awhile.
aplenty in the game, starting out with, you got it, slimes and progressing on up to more
difficult creatures. Count on dying a few dozen times and having to be trailed by those
damnable caskets. DWVII forces you to earn and make your way through its world; its
true to the actual RPG experience of not really handing you anything. You must buy or find
the better equipment, ensure that your characters dont die, pray if they do, etc. Of
course, as I mentioned above, the mechanics of the game are a bit lackluster and seem
clumsy and awkward compared to other RPGs out there on the shelves begging for our
comes the damning of this game: its competing with some other, very good titles on
the PSOne, such as Tales of Destiny 2, which features a decent, albeit shorter, storyline,
but offers richer graphics, and a better feel. The mistake Enix has made with DWVII is
that they havent really improved upon anything but the quest itself. Now, some
die-hards will damn me on that one, but Enix needs to get with the times and focus in upon
all aspects of the gamenot just one area.
Maybe my problem was that I had just come off of playing the GBC title and felt jolted
being so roughly thrown back into that low-bit world on the PSOne. I know the PSOne can
perform. It just strikes me to the core that Enix wouldnt have done a better job on
the graphical portion of the DW series, revamped some of their menu systems, etc. I
dont think they need to sacrifice content, but they really need to progress or else
theyll grow into catering to only a small niche of the market. Lets see what
they can do on the PS2 or whatever other platform theyll be releasing their next DW
title on. I just hope it doesnt have a 16-bit feel.