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Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride

Nintendo DS

Game Description:

If there is any Dragon Quest game that has a beautiful story about growing up and living through the horrors of the world, it’s this one. Out of all the games in the franchise, it has the most touching over-arching story.

It also had monster recruiting elements long before Pokemon (but not before Shin Megami Tensei).

If you’re tied between playing this version, the PS2 version, or the original SNES version, ask yourself this: Do I want to play with ugly 3D models? If the answer is yes, go for the PS2 version. If the answer is no, then ask yourself: Do I want a fast battle system, a fourth slot in my party, and more features? Then go for the DS version. Otherwise, go for the original SNES version (that was the version I first played, long before we had choices).

So, I already said the story is good, but I didn’t say what it’s about. The game starts you off in the early days of a man’s life. You’re that man. You’re led around by your father. You have childish adventures during this time and you meet lifelong friends (one of which you can betray later, if you feel so inclined, but you’ll feel like a jerk). Then, after a series of events, you’ll end up growing up in a prison in the middle of nowhere and escaping in the most unlikely form of travel ever. After that, you go on more “serious” adventures, reunite with childhood friends, marry, and even have children. Throughout the whole thing, you’ll be trying to avenge your parents and save the world in usual Dragon Quest style.

Did I mention you can recruit monsters? For a good part of the post-child game, your party will consist of monsters you will recruit. Recruiting is done automatically and there’s really very little you can do to influence it. I think it’s easier in this version of the game, but I can’t really tell for sure.

The graphics in this version of Dragon Quest V are nice. All the characters are sprites, all the environments are 3D, but they never clash as badly as they do in Dragon Quest IX. They’re not as clear as the SNES graphics, but they do carry more personality, if that makes any sense. Just about everything is also fully, and beautifully, animated which is in stark contrast to the SNES version’s still images.

The music is great, standard Dragon Quest stuff. You will hear classic sound effects. Everything good in this department.

I recommend this game to anyone who has a soul. It deserves at least a single playthough, in any version. Even the fugly PS2 one.


1 Hack
DQ5 DS: Monster Trainer v1.0Improvement29 Feb 2012