Dragon Quest IX

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Specially Cork
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Dragon Quest IX

Post by Specially Cork » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:48 am

Well here we are. 5 years after one of the most immersive and satisfying JRPGs on the PS2, we have Dragon Quest IX. I've been looking forward to this one for a long time, but I'm pretty dissapointed so far. The story overall is fine, but the slant toward multiplayer play can be felt throughout and it's damn annoying for an old guy like me who just wants a nice solo RPG experience. I knocked Final Fantasy XIII for its crappy cast, but at least I wasn't adventuring with anonymous nobodies. Ironically, the characters that we do get (I'm looking at you cockney Stella) would be far better off shutting the hell up.

The decision to bring IX to the DS has really hurt this game too. I hate to whore over visuals, but they're asking me to jump from the most beautifully presented game on the PS2 to something that looks fairly mediocre by DS standards and not much better than the ports of 4/5/6 (which had much better characters too...). If anything right now, IX is pushing me towards replaying others in the series.

I'll stick with it, but things are pretty meh so far.

What does everyone else think?
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by Specially Cork » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:17 pm

Hasney wrote:Probably the best JRPG I've played in a decade and I can't even get online.

Not enjoying the grind because I decided to make my character a thief though. Back to level 1 is a bit of a joke. Other than that, I am totally in love with it. I prefer this type of game on a handheld and I think the translation job is brilliant. Already been to a Scottish and Welsh town.
Did you play the ports of 4 and 5? Because they're kinda the same (especially the European translations)...but better. They just look a little less pretty.
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by melancholy » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:45 pm

This post makes me cry, because I was just going to go buy DQIX tonight.
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by pavelbure » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:13 pm

I still need to finish 5 before I get 9. If the emphasis is heavy on multiplayer that could be a disappointment. 3 basically had characters with no background story to them. You actually hired people to help you out.
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by Specially Cork » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:44 pm

melancholy wrote:This post makes me cry, because I was just going to go buy DQIX tonight.
I was a little harsh to be fair. I just think that anybody who loved 8 will find it very easy to make comparisons of inferiority. There are many positives though:

- No random battles is an absolute blessing. I don't know why, but even if I'm grinding and initiating just as many battles, it's still much more enjoyable without them randomly occuring.

- The story (for you and the supporting cast) is excellent, and the characterization of them all is fantastic too

- There's a crapload of customization, alchemy and subquests to complete.

- The environments look fine, and some are really beautiful. It's just the crappy character models during gameplay. I'm not sure if they're different ones from what they use in cutscenes, or if they're just suffering from being zoomed out on a low-res screen - but they look worse than 16bit sprites at times.

- The focus on multiplayer doesn't affect the gameplay at all - just your party of 4. I loved almost every party character from every DQ game I've played, so I just feel kinda sad to be joined by 3 mutes who are completely ignored at all times and follow me around for absolutely no reason. On the plus side the story is now 100% centered around your main character, which is kinda nice.

- The music is stunning

- The many staples of Dragon Questing remain intact. I'm a bit dissapointed with this game, but it has still got its hooks into me. I'm looking forward to exploring the rest of the world and levelling up to super awesomeness.
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by melancholy » Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:01 pm

I bought it anyway. And as soon as I finish my second playthrough of Trials and Tribulations (which might be tonight), I'll start on it.
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by Specially Cork » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:10 am

Anyone beat it? Just got done with it. Certainly the dullest RPG I have ever beaten. It's just the characters for me. Playing a mute then having a party of interesting chatty people is great. DQ9 leaves me playing a mute with a party of people so unimportant - they vanish from every cutscene. Who are they? Why are they with me? When I posted before I hadn't reached the point where my reason to travel the whole world had been revealed yet. I was hoping for something a little more 21st century than what it turned out to be.

I have no problems with basic JRPG gameplay, but you really need a hook, and this game had nothing.

Worse still, 2 of my favourite franchises (FF and DQ) have released dissapointing games this year. At a time when I'm getting all disillusioned with the games industry. Pretty shit.
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by melancholy » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:13 pm

I'm about 12 hours into it, which puts me about 1/3 of the way through it. Just like all the DQ games before it, the side stories are still extremely interesting. But having an entire party of characters with no story and no voice, and the only voice you do have is a fairy that nobody can see, it really makes me feel disconnected from the game world. It was hard not to instantly care for every single member in DQVIII. Even the hero, despite being mute, was immediately interesting. But this game not only makes it hard to care for your characters when they are all just bodies helping the mute hero kill monsters.

Even stranger, the customizable team makes me feel even more disconnected because not only are the character creation options somewhat limited, but their armor and weapons constantly changing their appearance makes the characters feel even more generic. When I buy armor with the best stats that all 4 characters can wear, they suddenly become clones of each other, only with different hair (that's covered by helmets and hats) and weapons (which is only because I wanted to at least have some variety).

One other complaint that I've noticed is that, while the world seems to be gigantic, it appears most of this land is completely useless. There's no reason to really explore because there doesn't appear to be anything beyond the standard landmarks of towns and dungeons. Maybe this will change later in the game, but right now I'm wondering why they made all this explorable terrain if it's going to be completely bare.

In all, I plan to continue playing it. Despite the characters being incredibly generic, at least the game is still pretty fun to actually play. I'm hooked by that familiar RPG formula. But something better needs to happen soon because I don't know how long the gameplay will hold up the rest of the shortcomings.
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by Specially Cork » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:50 am

I think I spent waaaay too much time grinding. I was lured by the attraction of quickly getting skill points early on by levelling all my classes up to the teens.

The land has areas where you can find matrials for alchemy, but when you want something for a specific recipe and have no idea where it is in the world you're just going to go online rather than look all over for it.
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by melancholy » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:44 pm

Yeah, so I just unlocked the ability to change classes, and that put the final nail in the coffin for this game. Once I switch class, apparently my level drops back down to 1. Okay, I understand that, but what I don't understand is the designer's decision to have experience be awarded based on the character's level, not the enemies you fight. So suddenly most of my party is level 1 and the general enemies in the area now hit for a huge chunk of HP on my level 1 characters. I struggle but I win the battle, only to discover that my level 20 mage gets 150 experience, and my three level 1 characters only gain 20. So basically I am forced to go back to previous islands and fight weaker monsters to build up my party again because I can't just bulk them up on tough monsters. I was so annoyed I turned it off. Probably for good.
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Re: Dragon Quest IX

Post by Specially Cork » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:05 pm

melancholy wrote:Yeah, so I just unlocked the ability to change classes, and that put the final nail in the coffin for this game. Once I switch class, apparently my level drops back down to 1. Okay, I understand that, but what I don't understand is the designer's decision to have experience be awarded based on the character's level, not the enemies you fight. So suddenly most of my party is level 1 and the general enemies in the area now hit for a huge chunk of HP on my level 1 characters. I struggle but I win the battle, only to discover that my level 20 mage gets 150 experience, and my three level 1 characters only gain 20. So basically I am forced to go back to previous islands and fight weaker monsters to build up my party again because I can't just bulk them up on tough monsters. I was so annoyed I turned it off. Probably for good.
It was another decision that came from the online side. They don't want you getting you high-level friend to powerlevel your characters. I can understand that in an MMORPG - you've got thousands of players on the same server and you want to maintain a level playing field. DQIX isn't an MMO though - powerlevelling doesn't screw other people over. I think they envisioned that it would - because we would be part of a huge community of people visiting each other's worlds. As far as I'm aware - this is a DS game, so we still need twatty friend codes - so it's not going to happen.
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