Video game reviews – Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation
Originally released in 1994, Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation was the final game in the Dragon Quest series on the Super Famicom (the Japanese Super Nintendo). North Americans, however, hadn’t had a Dragon Warrior game (the name of the series everywhere but Japan up until 2005 – yes, this gets a little complicated) since Dragon Warrior IV on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and wouldn’t see one again for ten years. For fans of the series, this meant an agonizing wait for those two Super Famicom games to make their way here – Dragon Quest V was eventually remade for the DS, and Dragon Quest VI is the final, formerly unofficially translated main series Dragon Quest game to make its way over to North America.
What anyone who is getting into this game should know is that despite the beautifully remade graphics and the same cheery atmosphere and witty writing that the Dragon Quest games are known for, Dragon Quest VI is a frighteningly difficult game. Battles are handled in the traditional Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) turn-based, menu-based paradigm that has been the norm since the original Dragon Warrior, and players expecting a gentle difficulty incline are going to be in for a real shock.
This predicates the need for that staple of the JRPG: relentless and endless “grinding,” which entails fighting as many randomly-encountered monsters and raising your experience points enough to be able to survive. While this is perhaps a bit of a modern game design taboo, it is a hallmark of the Super Famicom era of game development, and I was glad that it wasn’t watered down.
What sets any JRPG apart from another one is the story, and in that area, Dragon Quest VI is solid, if not particularly amazing. The game implements a similar “light world/dark world” setup as the classic Zelda game, A Link to the Past, and another JRPG staple, the amnesiac hero, is in full swing here.
What saves it, though, is the writing and the scenario planning, and at that, the game succeeds beautifully. This is, as has become custom with the Dragon Quest series, a pun-filled, witty and sometimes surprising adventure.
All in all, Dragon Quest VI is nothing if not traditional – but that’s not a criticism. This is by no means the best JRPG ever made, nor is it even the best Dragon Quest game, but it is certainly invaluable for the connoisseur of the Dragon Quest series.