A while back, in the Nintendo Power Retrospectives, I covered Dragon Quest IV for the NES. Prior to that, I had picked up the DS version of the game and had been playing it off and on. Having now beaten the game, I wanted to give my quick thoughts.
Dragon Quest IV, as far as the series goes, comes closest to what we associate with some of the middle Final Fantasy titles (like IV) – a massive party, multiple vehicles that you get access to over the course of the game, each allowing access to different areas of the map, and a much bigger save-the-world plot than the first few titles. On the NES, it was an incredibly ambitious game, both in terms of the scope of the game and the size of the narrative.
For those unfamiliar with the game, the story goes through 5 different chapters, each focusing on an individual character or small party, telling their story and building up the larger narrative, before in the sixth chapter the characters go to form a larger party and go on to take on the main final boss and save the world.
The game itself has some quality of life improvements from the NES game. In addition to a quicksave option, your attacks are retargeted when the enemy you originally intended to attack is slain. The game also has more animated sprites for your opponents – with more expression and detail to their movements than even with the Super Famicom Dragon Quest titles.
That said, there are a few quality of life improvements from later titles that this game could have used, and would have also provided more opportunities to develop the character of your party members. In particular, later games give the opportunity to talk to your party members to get a reminder of where you need to go to proceed in the quest.
Otherwise, the game is a solid Dragon Quest title, and a really good place to come in on the series.
Dragon Quest IV is available for the DS from Amazon.com.