Before you read anymore of our Dragon Quest VII Fragments of the Forgotten Past review you should know that this is one of the largest RPGs on the 3DS. The sheer amount of time required to beat the game’s main story sat around 100 hours for me. I managed to beat the main story in Dragon Quest VII within this time-frame by using the original PlayStation strategy guide. I’m not sure how long Fragments of a Forgotten Past would’ve taken me without tailoring the original PSX DQVII’s strategy / walkthrough guide. There are some differences between the two different versions. The differences for the most part are minor, mainly the changing of some names for cities and other minor details. Like many Dragon Quest games, Fragments of the Forgotten past will require countless hours of level grinding, puzzle solving and exploration.
The Main Story of Dragon Quest VII
For as long as anyone could remember, the tiny island of Estard was all alone in the world—the sole speck of land in an endless blue ocean. That all changed, though, when two young adventurers, Auster and Kiefer, stumbled upon a mysterious shrine and learned there were many new lands to discover.
The story centers on three main characters – Auster (You the main character), Kiefer and Maribel. Starting off in the port town of Pilchard Bay the game’s pacing does takes it’s time introducing the player to the game’s characters and localities. The story begins during the start of a special festival honoring the local catch (a fish called Pilchard). You play as Auster (which you can re-name) and eventually meetup with Prince Kiefer and your hometown friend Maribel. The story is driven by Prince Kiefer’s desire to find all the missing islands of the world. At the start of the game there is only one known island in the world. Prince Kiefer believes there are many more islands in the world, and that the ocean can’t possibly be as empty as it seems. Overall the story in Dragon Quest VII is one of the best on the 3DS, with charming characters, surprises and mysteries. While most 3DS owners have experienced a good story or RPG, Dragon Quest VII’s story is written very well, with much thought put into making the characters as memorable and charming as possible. The characters themselves are also a plus for the story. Both Prince Kiefer and Maribel offer distinct personalities that give the party of adventurers some substance. Along with the main plot I also found the little backstories when visiting the game’s many cities and lost islands rewarding. From the fire ritual in Emberdale to the villagers turned to stone in Regenstein – Dragon Quest VII is loaded with history and tales. The main plot requires the player to find all the missing tablet fragments to uncover the world’s many islands. Some islands are require many tablets to be uncovered, which can mean re-visiting prior locations, or waiting until the right time in the game to unlock certain islands. Most islands can also be visited in the “Past” and the “Present“, which opens up story / gameplay scenarios similar to Chrono Trigger on the SNES.
Gameplay – Dragon Quest VII
The gameplay in Dragon Quest VII is what you’d expect from a JRPG. As a traditional turn-based RPG Dragon Quest VII doesn’t stray far from the proven formula. Players pick out their party commands similar to the fashion in a classical Final Fantasy game. You have the choice of having some of your party members automated, by picking from action categories like “Use spells”, “Focus on healing” etc. By picking from one of these categories level grinding becomes easier and faster (not by much though). For instance, I set both Prince Kiefer and Maribel to attack without using spells or abilities for the first part of the game. I did this mainly when battling over and over again. Selecting one of the categories for each character makes battling quicker, as you don’t have to select each characters command one at a time. The game has many bosses which have certain weaknesses and strengths, along with enemies that can require different tactics than would be normal. I found the battle engine in Dragon Quest VII to be fast and efficient. This efficiency is critical, as you’ll see when spending many hours battling and level-grinding.
Graphics Dragon Quest VII
Graphically Dragon Quest VII is top-notch as far as 3DS games are concerned. The 3D works well, adding depth to the games battles and many locations. I kept the 3D slider all the way up for most of my play-through, even when running around an island, city or sailing on the ocean. The ability to rotate the camera using the 3DS “R” and “L” shoulder buttons is a big perk, allowing the player to see the little details of the Dragon Quest VII world. I especially like how the camera cuts away parts of buildings, caves and other interiors when inside different places. The layout and style of the game’s graphics seem inspired by the original PlayStation game, but are given a new coat of fresh paint with the superior graphics of the 3DS’s. The world and level design also add to the quality of the game’s graphics. While the game does offer different forms of transportation (like a boat) when using the world map, I found the many different islands interesting enough that I couldn’t wait to discover more. While not always large, I found most islands to be different enough to feel like I was exploring a new land. The cities, temples and dungeons are also well layout, and there are tons of different dungeons to explore. The battle engine also looks good, as the camera pans out after selecting your character actions, giving you a nice view of your party during the battle.
Sound & Music Dragon Quest VII
The music in Dragon Quest VII is exceptional and recognizable to anyone who’s played a Dragon Quest game before. On the other-hand, I found the sound effects hard to hear or barley audible at all. The game does utilize sound effects but for some reason the developers decided to pull back how loud it it. This doesn’t apply to the game’s music, which is finely done, though a little lacking on the number of music tracks selection.
Replay, Online and More : Dragon Quest VII
Dragon Quest VII Fragments of the Forgotten Past has an interesting StreetPass and internet features. Players can exchange traveler’s tablets using either StreetPass or the internet. These traveler’s tablets can unlock additional dungeons, monsters and quests. Read more on Dragon Quest VII traveler’s tablets here.
Review Summary: Dragon Quest VII Fragments of the Forgotten Past
In conclusion Dragon Quest VII for the 3DS is a great game. While still adhering to it’s JRPG roots, I found the quality and presentation to be a welcomed treat. Anyone who enjoys a well crafted RPG with hours of level grinding required will enjoy Dragon Quest VII for the 3DS. The amount of content and well paced story makes DQVII one of the best title’s for replay value.
- Gameplay : 8 / 10
- Graphics : 7.5 / 10
- Sound & Music : 7 / 10
- Replay Value : 8.5 / 10
- Final Score : 7.7 / 10