Dragon Quest IX Already Critically-panned?
Our resident DQ freak Jarrod Nichol noticed something interesting the other day. Upon checking out amazon.co.jp’s customer review page of Dragon Quest IX, you’ll notice that the reviews range from mixed to negative…295 one-star ratings and counting. Additionally, for a big release like this game, Famitsu’s scores should’ve been out in the open by now…but the magazine has not reviewed DQIX yet for some reason.
So what gives? Why all the hate? Upon google translating some of the negative reviews on amazon, the general idea that fans have been echoing is that this installment simply “doesn’t feel like Dragon Quest at all” due to a variety of reasons and nitpicks. As most of you know, the Dragon Quest series is so sacred and traditional in Japan…and due to its immense popularity, it’s sort of hard for the developers to radically deviate between installments ala Final Fantasy. Even DQ8 has gotten a bit of criticism back in the day because it moved to 3D and used third-person cameras during random encounters. Imagine that. Despite so, DQ8 has still gotten rave reviews from Japanese fans…even its amazon.co.jp page shows that.
Apparently, not having random encounters in DQIX is considered a radical departure in the series. Some fans even have the audacity to classify this game as an “action/RPG” because of these visible enemies when it’s apparent that the battle system itself is extremely traditional. Another factor that fans haven’t been digging is how the series has been “casualized” by level-5. The dress up system, the easy difficulty, the shallow plot, the local co-op, fact that this RPG has one save slot only–all these claimed changes have been negatively received one way or the other. The amount of hours you can put into the game still scream “epic Dragon Quest”, but whether you’re able to go the distance and absorb all these changes is something that has been questioned by these Japanese amazon buyers.
I currently have mixed feelings about all this. Either way, DQ fanboys are making way too big of a deal. Nostalgia and tradition is a good thing in games…but too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Industry-wise, you could say that the Dragon Quest series is an example of why Japanese game development hasn’t gone forward as much as the rest of the world. I hate to be harsh, but it’s the truth. On the other hand, it’s what the fans want…DQ 101…and the world is a better place as long as the fans get what they want. I have mentioned this many times in my review: when it comes to sequels, balance between formula and departure is extremely important and hard to achieve. Don’t get me wrong; I love it when developers please their fans with certain things in a series…but with Dragon Quest it has gotten to a point that fanboys dictate what they want to the developers, which hinders creative thinking. Either you make the game how we want it or else you get death threats and boycott claims. I personally hated it when I heard that level 5 caved and switched DQ9 to a traditional RPG instead of the action/RPG elements they wanted to implement. Granted, it’s too much of a departure, but why not experiment for once? Fans can complain as much as they want, but in the end as long as the game has “Dragon Quest [number]” on the box, it will sell like hotcakes…action/RPG or traditional.
I’m not a hardcore fan of Dragon Quest, but adored DQ8 and its traditional gameplay. Looking back at Jarrod’s article on the History of Dragon Quest, you’ll notice that any change in the series is considered a big change to the public eye…no matter how small the change itself may be. That alone shows how fans are devoted to the game…but in the same time, most of the changes we see are obviously minor when it comes to gameplay. When changes are only limited to plot, graphical presentation, music, and level-up system; you know that you’re trapped as a developer. One thing’s for sure; the series has always been epic in scale…something any RPG fan will appreciate.
I’ll let you people know as soon as we get more official reviews on the Japanese reception. Also, be on the lookout for Jarrod Nichol’s impressions as he’ll have his hands full with the game starting tomorrow. For now, let’s know on your thoughts on the series and how it continues to maintain traditional elements due to fan pressure.
Source: DQIX Amazon Japan Page
- Watch This Blacksmith Build and Wield the Buster Sword!
- LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins Review
- New Super Mario Bros. U Review
- Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon Review
- Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Review (PS3/Vita)
- Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault Review
- Far Cry 3 Review
- PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review (PS3 & Vita)
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells Review
- Jarrod’s Drool is Toxic! -50 HP! Hero’s Turn: Dragon Quest VII 3DS Remake Confirmed [Updated]!