RPG Review #116: Dragon Quest VI

NuMetalManiak
Now for the first RPG Review of 2020 we have the sixth installment of the Dragon Quest franchise. As always, I work up the ladder of the franchise in the hopes that the successive games in Enix's series get better and better, but it looks like I had to jump through some hoops in order to do so. The original SNES version of this game was only released in Japan. Looking at some fan translations, I notice that many have similar issues with the dialogue boxes. I then decided to settle for playing the DS remake, which was the official North American release for the sixth Dragon Quest title. The full title is Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation.

Gameplay: As you might expect, many Dragon Quest mainstay gameplay mechanics exist in VI, with only a few new things to mention. The monster recruitment thing from V is here, but ONLY on the original SNES release and only with a certain class, so I didn't get to see it. And speaking of classes? Those make a return in this game, under the guise of vocations. So basically after a certain point in-game the player can now choose particular jobs at a certain locations, which changes the stats around according to whatever vocation is picked. These vocations get leveled up as you battle, until it maxes out at 8 stars. All the while you learn more new skills for each job.

The battles and navigation are typical Dragon Quest fare. The skills of course are very useful, especially the ones that don't need magic to use. The grinding is still present, as are notoriously tough-to-catch metal slimes and other such things. The game offers quite a lot in subquests, with casinos, slime arenas, a beauty pageant, and a curling mini-game (only in the DS version) among several others. There's even a post-game dungeon as well. I'm not going into it since it's pretty meh from what I read. The DS remake gives the player a map on the top screen on the overworld, and guess what? There's several overworlds to travel on. This premise is neat, with a real world and a "dream world", later on there's a "dread world" as well. Things just get more interesting when we get to the plot of this game. Grade: B+

Characters:
Hero: A traditional Dragonball Z-drawn hero, with blue hair and a sword. Seems to be an orphan, but is later revealed to be a missing prince.
Carver: Also known as Hassan in the SNES game, Carver is the son of a carpenter, but appears to be a huge muscle man who clearly has it going for physical traits.
Milly: Also known as Muriel in the SNES version, Milly wears yellow ribbons and seems to resemble a dancer of sorts. Her magic ability is better than others.
Ashlynn: Also known as Barbara, Ashlynn's more of a mage than Milly, actually coming from the aptly-named Sorceria. Later on she gets a special spell that uses all MP for a powerful magic strike.
Nevan: Also known as Chamoro, Nevan starts off as a priest and has access to some good healing magic, but like other characters you can change his class any time.
Terry: A mysterious warrior who ends up stealing your credit for stuff, then he joins. He's okay, but he joins late enough where he can barely make a better mark than grinded-up characters.
Amos: Old Amos is actually optional, but he's an interesting knight-like character with a special to transform into a powerful beast in battle.

I'm not gonna mention monster recruits, because most of them at least in the SNES version can be any monster as long as a character is of the Monster Master class. There's also several monster recruits in the DS version that are usually slimes. Well, there are classes worth mentioning, most of which came over from the third game, but also including advanced classes like Sage and Luminary. There's also the Hero class, and secret Dragon and Metal Slime classes as well. Grade: B

Plot: The game does something most other games do, give the plot doses of amnesia for the main characters. Those main characters being the Hero, Milly, and Carver. It seems to begin in the middle of an attack, with the three riding a dragon to reach the dread fiend known as Murdaw (or Mudo). Murdaw actually ambushes them and seems to completely destroy them, except the Hero all of a sudden wakes up in Weaver's Peak, apparently it was a bad dream and his sister Tania wakes him up.

The hero is just a humble man at this point, doing a job for the mayor to go get a crown for the festival that happens at Weaver's Peak. While doing so he stumbles into another world where he is basically ethereal and cannot actually interact with anyone. He does come back to his world eventually and gets the crown. After a mysterious message during the festival, the Hero treks out for Somnia (or Reidock). He takes a test to become a soldier in their military, with Carver helping out. Afterwards they get a wagon and must find a horse, finding one named Peggy Sue. Another trip to the so-called "Phantom Realm" has both Hero and Carver as ghosts, but Milly can see them, and explains them along with Madame Luca who explains quite a lot, functioning as the fortune teller. With the "dream dew" the pair become visible again, then they find another Somnia, where there's rumours of the missing prince and the hero bares a striking resemblance to this prince. They are to seek Ra's mirror, and meet Ashlynn on the way there.

With this mirror, the king of Somnia in the first world is revealed to be the actual queen, and after a trip to find Murdaw it is revealed that the beast was in fact the king of Somnia. A revelation occurs when they find out that the world they are currently in is called the Dream World, and the so-called "Phantom Realm" is the real world. The heroes have to set out to fight Murdaw in that world, getting Nevan's help, along with a ship, to Murdaw's Lair. The beginning scene plays out again, but this time after the dream is done, the Hero has Ra's Mirror which is then used to turn the tide and finally defeat Murdaw.

The game definitely doesn't end here though. The queen of Somnia asks the Hero to find his true self, and at this point a lot of the game really opens up. The Alltrades Abbey where you can change vocations is open, and the Medford Manor where you can donate mini medals is also present; both are in the dream world. A certain place called Arkbolt is looking for proud fighters, with one called Terry managing to snag a prize for the king called the Sunderbolt Blade. There is a specific tower in the real world that requires the legendary equipment (you know, the Zenithian stuff from the previous games). Also Murdaw isn't the only dread fiend, there are four of them, and it's required to fight both Jamiras and Gracos (Glacos) as well. You basically do the rounds to get more means of transportation all around places, including a floating island and a flying bed. Yes, you heard that right. Ashlynn is revealed to be from the place known as Sorceria, where she's revealed to inherit the Magic Burst spell. And of course, for the hero to find his true self, he must venture to real world Weaver's Peak, where he discovers his cowardly self, monsters attack, and the two heroes become one. The Hero really is the missing prince of Somnia, and is then welcomed home. Then it's the quest for the legendary equipment.

And with that comes reviving the Cloudsgate Citadel (known to fans as Zenithian Castle). The final dread fiend Dhuran (Duran) is here, and he believes in a fair fight, but he also sics Terry to fight you. After defeating the fiend, Terry joins, and Milly recognizes him as her long lost brother. Furthermore, Dhuran spills the beans that the dread fiends serve a greater evil, Mortamor (or Deathtamoor), a powerful arch-fiend. The king of the Zenithian castle mentions a third realm, the Dread realm, and it is up to the heroes to find Pegasus. As it turns out, Peggy Sue merges with Pegasus, becoming the steed that takes them to the Dread realm. In this realm, the party notices how disastrous things are, and just how the people are filled with despair, greed, or other sins, and all this fuels Mortamor's power. The party is tasked with finding the Supreme Sage Isaac, but first encounters Benjamin, his twin brother. Benjamin helps in finding his brother and freeing him from his curse, and afterwards it is finally time to confront the arch-fiend himself in his final stand. After defeating Mortamor, everyone heads home, and the two worlds are effectively severed, which means that those in the Dream World, including Ashlynn and the Cloudsgate Citadel, are to remain there, while the real world people are to prevail where they are. The egg inside the citadel ends up hatching as the game ends. And there's some post game stuff! Well, it's actually not much. Anyways, this plot does seem pretty neat for the most part, although once it opens you'll probably be doing enough sidequests to forget about it. Grade: B+

Music: Well the music is serviceable. The DS version makes the music sound okay, but I'm grateful for some variation in the tracks, especially for multiple overworlds, okay town music, dungeon music that's everywhere, at least two distinctive boss themes besides the regular battle theme. They are improving, after all. Grade: B

Overall Grade: B

It does a good job. It does a better job than its predecessors. Multiple moments of customization make the game much more intriguing to play. And come to think of it, this DS remake kept much of the original game pretty well.

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