Monday, October 11, 2010

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

Developers: Level-5, Square Enix
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: July 11, 2010
System: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E10+

In a nutshell: Not all fallen angels are bad guys

0:00 I've never actually touched a Dragon Quest game, save for a brief, frustrating stint with the original Dragon Warrior on the NES. An hour probably won't be nearly enough to get a true feel for this epic game, but will it be enough to make me want to play more?

0:01 In an anime cut scene, a boy runs into a cavern, towards a fire-breathing dragon . A woman casts a spell. Slimes bounce on a rocky plain. Pan over a town where a boy plays with a dog. A party talks in a tavern. A woman dances. They clink glasses. A blue spirit rises up. A castle in the clouds. An eagle flies over a field. Zoom up to the starry sky and show the title! Yup, it's a Japanese RPG opening, all right. The animation reminds me of Dragon Ball Z, which is understandable, since it's by the same animator.

0:03 The character creator makes it remarkably easy to make a character that looks exactly like Super Saiyan Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z, which I do. My newly created character gets a halo and angel wings and he flies off. Then... loading? In a DS game?

0:04 "Hello? Is anybody there? If you're there, say something. Show yourself. Thus do the voices of mortals plead, ever hopeful of our existence. For how long have we watched over their realm?" Here we go with the heavy-handed religious allegory...

0:05 Pan over a idyllic little farm village, rendered in blocky, heavily-outlined 3D. Neighbors wave to each other, a horse whinnies, a man fishes in a gentle stream. Two angels watch. One of them is my Vegeta. The other, Aquila, one is impressed with how I've watched over the village, Angel Falls.


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