There's no getting away from the fact that Dragon Quest: Chapters Of The Chosen is as old as the hills. Possibly even older, in fact, to the point where it looks at the hills and remembers when they only came up to its kneecaps, before banging its walking stick on the ceiling and telling the whippersnappers upstairs to turn their newfangled music down.
True, you might not be able to tell that from the dapper new graphical suit that Square-Enix has dressed it in, but the fact remains: chances are, many of you weren't even born when this particular Dragon Quest came out nearly two decades ago. Goodness, that makes us feel ancient.
Classic Is As Classic Does
What it doesn't do, however, is disappoint. At least, it doesn't if you're prepared for what it represents: namely, gameplay that's so old school that it does its Latin homework with chalk on slate. Suffice to say, anyone coming to Chapters Of The Chosen expecting the modern-day comforts of RPG gaming - gentle learning curves, extensive tutorials, absorbing storylines that all but spell out what to do next in bright red neon lettering - will most likely be shocked at how basic it is. Between badgering every villager for their single line of useful information and entering into near endless bouts of random combat in order to increase your characters' stats, it's the very definition of classic role-playing circa 1990.
While that makes Chapters Of The Chosen a great introduction to the Dragon Quest way of doing things then (especially since Dragon Quest IX on DS isn't too far off), it's not exactly friendly to anyone outside the hardcore RPG-playing fraternity. That's not to say that Square-Enix hasn't refreshed the game as best it could to make it more attractive though. For example, while we're not exactly pleased that the same amount of graphical love hasn't been lavished here as it has on the Final Fantasy remakes, the use of top-down 2D characters with a rotating 3D landscape is still very nice in a quaint sort of way.
The Daily Grind
The way the story works too, with the first four chapters each seeing you control a different character before the final showdown in the last two brings everyone together, is a neat trick that stops the action getting overly-familiar and one we've not seen done since... well, the first time Dragon Quest came out.
But then that doesn't really change the fact that playing and actually enjoying Chapters Of The Chosen requires a significant amount of resolve on the part of the player. There's no avoiding having to grind through countless random battles simple to increase your level and earn enough gold to buy new equipment in preparation for the next brutal, unforgiving dungeon, and no dodging the need to talk to everyone in each area in order to activate the next step of the adventure. We appreciate this and, as such, really quite enjoy what Dragon Quest offers but then, we've loved this kind of RPG since we first started gaming and now have the tenacity of several bull elephants as a result. If that's not really you though, then Chapters Of The Chosen won't change your mind in the slightest. Although in fairness, we'd question exactly why you'd be interested in playing an RPG in the first place.