Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation

Years ago when Nintendo’s latest portable system was the Nintendo DS, Square-Enix announced a remake of the Zenithian trilogy of the Dragon Quest series, comprising the fourth through sixth installments, with North American release announced for all three, as the series had somewhat been experiencing a golden age outside Japan with the success of Journey of the Cursed King. However, unlike Cursed King, the rereleases of the fourth and fifth games, largely due to invisible advertising, didn’t sell as well, leaving the fate of the sixth and final Zenithian Dragon Quest in the air. Eventually Nintendo took charge of localization and reannounced the trilogy’s conclusion as Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation, although it kept its original English subtitle, The Realms of Reverie, in Europe. The title ultimately saw a port to iOS devices, with an experience on par with the rest of the series.

Combat is turn-based and randomly-encountered, with the sixth installment following the tried turn-based tradition of the player inputting various commands for their characters and letting them and the enemy beat up one another in a round. As with other entries, turn order can be inconsistent, and the escape option doesn’t always work. Outside most dungeons, the player can swap party members out from their carriage, although this option is available in some dungeons where the player’s carriage comes along. Winning fights nets all living participants, even those not in the party, experience, alongside money and rare items.

Eventually, the player accesses DQ6’s job system, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, with a certain number of battles with enemies on par with the player’s levels, or any battle in the last area of the main game, necessary to advance in jobs, acquire new skills that become permanent parts of a character’s skill set regardless of occupation, and ultimately master skills, with higher-level careers available depending upon base classes mastered. Despite the multitude of non-MP-consuming but effective free skills, the game is by no means a cakewalk, especially the tricky last form of the final boss of the main game. Aside from the above issues, combat definitely helps the sixth Dragon Quest more than hurts.

As usual, however, interaction leaves room for improvement. The menus are superficially clean, but shopping for equipment and items is troublesome, given the countless confirmations, alongside the taxing nature of saving the game, the unavailability of the quicksave feature within dungeons, and a general poor direction on how to advance the main storyline or where to go next. Hopefully one day the franchise will ditch these archaic traditions.

The story is pretty decent for a Dragon Quest game, focusing on two parallel worlds and initially focusing on a conflict between the playable protagonists and a villain named Murdaw. All characters have a story behind them, and the various subplots are interesting, despite occasional lack of direction on how to advance the main storyline. The localization is top-notch, although some of the name changes might catch those who played the Super Famicom version’s fan translation off guard, such as Hassan to Carver and Chamoro to Nevan. Even so, the narrative is a decent driving factor.

Series composer Koichi Sugiyama, as usual, does a superb job with the soundtrack, with virtually every track being enjoyable, although there are some silent parts of the game and the battle sounds are still dated.

The sixth entry utilizes the same graphical style as its Nintendo DS predecessors, with decent scenery in spite of some pixilation, and fluid animated enemies designed by Akira Toriyama in battle, despite the retained classic first-person perspective.

Finally, lucky players may make it through the game in a little over thirty hours, although grinding and accessing the extra dungeon, which requires mastery of all classes by at least one character, can take well up to sixty hours.

Overall, Dragon Quest VI is for the most part a solid remake that hits most of the right notes, particularly with regards to its solid class system, enjoyable narrative with polished translation, excellent soundtrack, and fluid visuals. There are aspects that leave room for improvement, however, with regards to things such as the leap in difficulty towards the end of the main quest, the retention of the pantheon’s archaic traditions that affect interaction adversely, the occasional poor direction on how to advance the main storyline, and the largely-useless quicksave feature. Those who have enjoyed other games in the franchise will likely be able to look beyond its flaws, and as the story doesn’t have much connection to other games in the series, those who aren’t used to the franchise may find this port to be a good romp.

The Good:
+Excellent class system adding lasting appeal.
+Decent narrative and localization.
+Superb soundtrack.
+Nice visuals.

The Bad:
-A little grindy towards the end.
-Retains franchise’s archaic traditions.
-Sometimes poor direction on how to advance.
-Quicksave only available outside dungeons.

The Bottom Line:
Another enjoyable Dragon Quest title.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: iOS
Game Mechanics: /810
Controls: 6/10
Story: 7/10
Localization: 9/10
Music/Sound: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Moderate
Playing Time: 30-60 Hours

Overall: 8.5/10

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