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30 January 2009

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen [DS]

Plot Synopsis: 6/10
This game is considered to be part 1 of a story arc called The Zenithian Trilogy. You take turns playing the part of each of the chosen heroes accomplishing some individual goal. Once each goal is accomplished, the heroes unite, and embark on their quest to beat down the bad guy once and for all. Generally speaking, I felt like this game wasn't much of a departure from your typical RPG story line. But then, what should I really expect from a game that was originally produced for the original Nintendo Entertainment System? They had a limited amount of memory to work with back then, and there's only so much you can change the story when making an updated version without the fans getting upset.
I feel bad doing this, but I'm going to give the story a 6 out of 10. And bear in mind, the only reason the score is that high is because I'm factoring in the fact that this is an update of an old NES game, back when they had less memory space to work with.

Game Play: 6/10
The basics of the gameplay are no different from the original. You roam the World Map form one location to another. You bump into random encounters along the way. Battling these monsters gives you bother experience points, for leveling up, and gold for buying better weapons and armor, which can be purchased in the various towns you will visit throughout your travels.
Each character has a separate chapter. As such, you have to start from the beginning for each character, right from level 1. I understand why the game was done this way, but it kind of irritated me, having to start new with one character, play through their mini-story, and then start fresh with another character, play through their mini-story, and then start fresh with another character... you get my point. I much prefer the RPG standard method of starting as one character, meeting up with other characters along the way, and leveling everyone up together, as one cohesive unit.
One fact particularly bothers me. This is an old NES game, re-released for the DS. Yet, it doesn't even incorporate use of the DS's touch screen. Squenix knew that they were redeveloping the game for the DS, but didn't even try to figure out a way to use the DS's most well-known feature.
I have to score the game play pretty low, at a 6 out of 10. Basic top-down view of everything. Walk on the world map until you come to a city. Then, you're in the city, where you can enter buildings and look for stuff. My main gripe about the game play is the lack of use of any features that make the DS worth playing. The action takes place on the bottom screen, while the top screen alternates between a view of the world map (when exploring) or a status screen (when in battle). There is absolutely no touch screen support. I feel like Squenix should have made this a GBA game instead of a DS game.

Graphics: 4/10
When I first started playing this game, I was really turned off by the graphics. I don't know if maybe I'm subconsciously comparing this game to Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, or what. I understand that this is an update of an NES game, and if you update the graphics too much, the game play may start to stray too much from the original. But I feel like Squenix could have done more with the graphics. It's a game for the Nintendo DS, but I feel like they're only a degree or two better than SNES-quality graphics. And that's disappointing to me.
I have to give the graphics a 4 out of 10. If you're going to make an updated version of a game from at least 20 years ago, at least update the graphics so they look more recent than at least 10 years ago, please.


Overall Score: 5.33/10
With a $40 price point, I was really expecting more from Squenix. The graphics and gameplay were a good fifteen years behind. I don't want to say that I feel ripped off by Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen... but I kind of do.