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Dragon Quest: Chapters Of The Chosen Review

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.

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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.


4 comments so far...
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  1. Mama Luigi Thursday 11th Sep 2008 at 15:15

    Great work ONM. You rated a game at a mediocre level because it actually has some challenge, a ridiculous amount of depth and a good story, yet you rate games such as Nintendogs and Wii Play 90+. You call it too niche, but I know for a fact that Dragon Quest has a very large following and is highly regarded among RPG fans. Just because families won't want to sit down and play it together doesn't make it a game that isn't worth at least 85-90%. Many people would be put off of a game that is rated 78% and effectively, this review will have hindered sales to all but the few who take your reviews lightly and buy the magazine for the great comedy.

    A message to RPG fans and gamers in general:

    Chapters Of The Chosen is one of the best RPG's ever. I'd even go as far as saying that I enjoyed it as much as, if not more than Chrono Trigger. I've played it to completion and it is definitely one of the most defining experiences available on DS. Under no circumstances should you use this review as a guide when considering purchasing Dragon Quest.

  2. Dean Thompson Thursday 11th Sep 2008 at 16:45

    Easy there tiger. Nothing beats Chrono Trigger.

    But I can see where you're coming from.

    People can do what they like though so as long as it gets enough sales to allow for plenty more DQ games on the DS.

    I for one will definatly be getting it but all the DQ games for Nintendo consoles have dropped in price radically after a few weeks so I may gather the strength this time and wait.

  3. Oxo64 Thursday 11th Sep 2008 at 17:38

    I was kind of expecting this. very few RPGs are rated above average by ONM. Maybe they should hire someone who doesn't hate 'em?

    'Although in fairness, we'd question exactly why you'd be interested in plating an RPG',

    is not the kind of thing an unbiased reviewer would say, is it?

    I'll be buying this regardless of its poor review.

  4. Munchlax OWNS Sunday 14th Sep 2008 at 18:13

    The DQ franchise has never failed me before. It'll be great to see the classic RPG style the games have (and slimes! yay!) coming to the DS.

    Stuff you ONM, this is not a game to be missed.

    RPG 4 ever.
    DQ 4 longer.
    Slimes for... something even longer.

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