Let’s see, I’ve had Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for a little over a week now, and I’m happy to report that — for me — it’s more than living up to all the expectations I had placed on it as a huge fan of the series, and as a big fan of Level 5’s work (who worked on one of my all-time favorites, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King for the PS2). I’ve been hard pressed to put it down since unwrapping it last week and any time I can catch a few uninterrupted minutes of free time on a break or what not I try to fire it up.
As for where I am in the game for anyone that’s playing: I just reached Cap’n Max Meddlin’, “swashbucklin’, seafarin’ collector of only the miniest o’ medals” at Dourbridge and am leveling up in the fields and caves nearby before tackling the next boss. My party consists of the a minstrel (the silent hero) who I named Roto after the original DQ warrior, a green haired female warrior named Lyn, a blue haired female thief named Natasha, and a priest named T’ Challa. Most are hovering around Lv. 24 and I’m having an awful lot of fun upgrading their weapons and armor just as the creators knew we would.
Someone recently described the Dragon Quest series as something of a ‘game you play as a vacation from games’ and I have to agree wholeheartedly with that summation. The DQ games are always a return to fun, a joy to play and chock full of charm. With all the new features, it’s still a series that unapologetically revels in what has worked so well for it for over 20 years now and I couldn’t be happier.
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You can’t take a few days off without missing some grand announcement these days, and given that this was actually announced at the end of last month I don’t know where the heck I was to have missed it (outside of my face firmly being planted in a textbook). So, for those like myself that may be interested but just hadn’t heard, Level 5 is teaming up with Studio Ghibli, yes, THAT Studio Ghibli to bring a RPG to the Nintendo DS, entitled Ni No Kuni. Details are still relatively scarce but the story will center around a young boy who recently lost his mother through some action he had inadvertently taken and who is approached by a fairy who raises his spirits telling him of a way to save her while adventuring through the parallel world, Ni No Kuni. The trailer (in the video section of the sidebar) looks amazing and seems to have everything going for it that a developer the caliber of Level 5 and Studio Ghibli can muster. These are two powerhouse storytellers and rockets right up to the top of my most anticipated list. Given the stateside interest in Miyazaki’s properties I’m hoping this will be localized in the U.S. because while importing always remains an option on the DS, this game requires the use of a (freaking cool) book that will come with the game and I’m not all that polished in Japanese yet. But I imagine I don’t need to worry in that regard…just wait. The dates we can expect the game has yet to be announced in Japan, or the U.S.
Between this and stumbling upon the new Dragon Quest IX trailer played at the TGS show (yowza), I’m a pretty happy DS owner! This really is a great time if you’re a video game fan.
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