I started playing DQ5 this week (thanks to rlh). I've been in a pretty JRPG mood lately. I think it's a gamer's version of nesting. Our first child is due in June, and I've found much of my gaming habits have shifted over to playing sort of slower games on a handheld next to my wife on the couch while she watches TV/falls asleep. I don't really feel like hiding in the game room lately, less I miss the baby kicking and things like that. Also, RPG's on 3DS are pretty great for doctor's waiting rooms, so there's that.
I haven't had a TON of experience with the Dragon Quest series in the past. Although, as best my memory can recall, my first RPG ever was Dragon Warrior on NES. I got it free with my Nintendo Power subscription back in the day, and played it a lot. Although I was too young to really understand how it all worked back then. So like, grinding made no sense to me for instance. I'd just dive headfirst and get slaughtered. Not long after that, I got Final Fantasy and found myself much more connected to that series over the years. By the time I could really understand how RPG's worked, it was games like Final Fantasy Legend that really clicked with me.
I finally played another DQ game around 2008 - this time the rather raved about Dragon Quest VIII. It was an impressive game. Super pretty. And gigantic. But alas, my attention span around this period of my gaming life just wasn't really meshing with huge RPG epics. I was more in an arcade-y zone at the time. So I really didn't stick with DQ8 for long. It's one I'm sure I'll revisit again at some point. But, as I said - my Dragon Quest series experience has been limited thus far.
I should mention up top that for the past few weeks I had been playing Final Fantasy IV, so I can't help but now compare DQ5 to that game - unfairly perhaps. I'm sitting about three hours into DQ5 right now, and it's a bit slow starting so most of my current thoughts are just initial reactions. First of all, the DS remake looks completely gorgeous. The way it utilizes both screens for a big portrait mode looks great. Going from FF4 which used one screen for the gaming area and another for a map, this port makes it look like I'm playing DQ5 on a big screen.
There's some sort of QOL stuff that feels like a step back from the FF4 DS remake, though. And again, that might be unfair. Effectively, I'm comparing systems from a Famicom game to a Super Famicom game. I get that. But just little things like some of the menu navigation, or not being able to properly save my game 'anywhere.' (I know quick save is there, so maybe I'm being pedantic). A run feature would have been nice for the slow-moving world map, though. And I don't personally care for the camera rotation with L and R buttons.
That said, I'm having a good time. I'm certainly getting flashbacks to the original Dragon Quest even. Namely, the grinding. I didn't feel like I had to put too much thought into grinding in FF4 for example. But I just spent a whole hell of a lot of time dancing around this first village trying to get me and the girl (I'm super bad with remembering names, FYI) leveled up enough to afford all the good gear before we made our way up to the tower. Once we got there though we were level 10 and 11 respectively, so ghostbusting was a cakewalk.
I don't love this game yet, but it's still early. And I definitely like it. Probably I like it a lot. At least the charm of the graphics and music and cute little slimes.
I'm a little over 7 hours into Dragon Quest V, and really started to enjoy it. There's a definite charm to it that's keeping me happy. And my gawd, the visuals are fantastic using the two DS screens in tandem. When the game started, our hero NOISE was just a kid. But now it's ten years later. The biggest development here is that I've got myself a wagon which means I can now recruit monsters. Oh, baby. It's like Dragon Quest x Pokemon. Except this game was originally released long before Pokemon. So y'know. Whatever.
In my mind, the Slime is the face of Dragon Quest. So in that sense, recruiting a Slime and keeping him in my part for the entire game is akin to recruiting Pikachu in a Pokemon game. Luckily for me, the ever abundant Slime was the second monster to join up. I've also got a little whack-a-mole dude who was actually the first to be recruited, and some kind of mushroom guy who I have in the wagon. I plan on keeping the Slime around forever but I'll prob swap out the other monster whenever I find something cooler.
Noise is sitting at level 14 and Prince Harry is 12. The Slime just hit level 10 and has learned some magic. I have him decked out in some fangs and armor and he's holding his own pretty good by now. This game is good stuff.
Remember how I said I couldn't help but compare this game to FF4 just because I was playing that one last month? Well here we go. One thing that is SUPER nice about DQ5 is that when a character leaves your party, they give you all their gear back. That's a great touch. NO idea if that was in the original SNES version or something that was added as QOL in the DS remake. But it's welcome! I'd get so pissed when I'd spend a bunch of money to deck out Kain or Cid and then kiss that stuff goodbye when they left the party. I suppose I could have checked walkthroughs first, but where's the fun in that? I want to play the game with all the surprises left intact. But yeah... not losing all the gear is a welcome touch.
So where am I? Oh, I went through this portal thing and found Ra's mirror and brought it back to the castle so we could find the imposter queen. That boss battle was laughably easy (so maybe I'm leveled up right where I want to be). Harry left the party, as did Maria. So now I'm rolling with my three monsters. Fingers crossed that I find myself a Slime Knight soon. I wouldn't mind a full party of various Slimes. Anyway, we hopped on a boat and headed for a new area... which made me realize just how big the overworld is and how little of it I've seen so far.
Made some decent progress in DQV last night. First off, I went off to find a monster who had been terrorizing a small village. It turns out... it was the cat I had a decade earlier. Sweet! So now he's in the party along with my Slime and Mole. I did some grinding for a while, hoping to get a Slime Knight. No luck. Grabbed some other monsters in the wagon that I probably won't even use. Meh. Then I went off and helped a professor with an experiment which granted me the Zoom spell. Visited the homey Harry, and found out he and Maria had gotten married. He gave me a love contract thing, so I guess that means I'll be able to 'ship. Then went and visited a new village where I briefly met the blue haired gal who I think has a crush on me. I'm about 11 hours in now... still a great game.