Some shithead on /vr/ was asking why people love Dragon Warrior, now known as Dragon Quest, so much. Well I remember that it was just a very simple and pure game. You go out and fight, get XP and gold, then buy better gear, then go to an area with harder monsters, and repeat, and that’s the whole game basically. Nowadays retarded goddamn zoomers will call that “grinding” but that IS what RPGs are. Sorry you zoomer faggots have to have an entire cinematic experience with a based storyline too. I’m talking about Final Fantasy 13, Final Fantasy 15, and so on. I’ll draw the line at Final Fantasy 7 since the story and setting was very good but fuck these fake ass RPGs that funnel you down one giant corridor and that’s the entire game basically.
Here’s what others are saying about Dragon Warrior (Quest):
They’re fun, light hearted DnD like adventures that are just simple and pure rpg mechanics. No deep philosophical story on what it means to be human or if religion is evil, no huge flashy special moves that take ten minutes to watch, and no battle system which only opens up 50 hours into the game. They’re simplicity is a nice change of pace from time to time.
Just played Dragon Warrior 1 and was blown away by the dungeon theme changing every time you go down a level. Also a big fan of having a “bad end”. There’s nothing like Dragon Quest. The series has its personality. DQ did it all first. Grinding is ingrained into their culture. I actually think DQ has less grinding than the WRPGs that inspired it, but it really resonated with them.
Tabletops and PC rpgs were popular but expensive and almost no one had access to them.
Dragon Quest came to a broadly available system, with mechanics similar to those, especially Wyzardry and Ultima. It was unique for the time, as no one had done those before (in nipland, at least). The series is extremely vanilla, so you never encounter over the top plots, characters or gameplay. Basically an ice cream that anyone can enjoy, anywhere and anytime.
You know what you’re getting into with DQ, and they’re all reliably done well like a palate cleanser of the genre. And despite the reputation of being cookie-cutter, DQ manages to integrate interesting concepts without throwing the entire game off, like recruitable monster allies in DQ5. They’re also really solid at pacing and resource management as RPGs, at least up until they decide to give you some stupid infinite use healing item like the Sage’s Stone.
Let’s face it: as far as the earliest installments (Dragon Quest 1 and Final Fantasy 1 on NES) are concerned, there’s really no contest. Final Fantasy is the superior software. It’s got better music, more items, more spells, more monsters, a richer world, and a more interesting storyline, and this is all just quantitative. Final Fantasy’s customizable four-man crew eclipses the first two Dragon Quests’ one and three-character parties. The expanded and improved turn-based battle system makes for a deeper game, inasmuch as the player isn’t sitting around drooling for hours at a time while his one character trades 1 HP blows with a single monster. The concentration of early-genre bullshit is significantly reduced: there isn’t as much EXP grinding, the player doesn’t have to buy or find keys to open a hundred thousand locked doors, and never has to stress over how many torches he’s got left. There’s none of that “press the A button and select the ‘Stairs’ command to walk down a flight of stairs” nonsense, either. Dragon Quest may have come first and concocted the JRPG, but Final Fantasy made it good. This trend continues in the following Final Fantasy games that rebuilt the game again and again, the FF games are all radically different – while DQ is content repeating the same old principle to this day, and giving the player base the same menial task in every installment.
You can’t deny nostalgia is a huge factor for its popularity. They’re fun and simple, easy to pick up and play and usually the only thing stopping you from winning is just how much time you have to grind. The stories are simple and have that old fashioned childhood fantasy vibe to it. It doesn’t try to be anything gigantic and epic. Just your standard plotlines with personality. The characters and mood draw you in, not much else. Dragon quest was the first RPG to target kids, that was part of its early appeal in japan. It had A popular shonen jump artist doing character designs and cover art, and the story featured a young hero. Gameplay was simple and very casual friendly.
Up until that point RPGs were very western focused with older heroes (often Conan style warriors), a more strict following of D&D “rules”, and they were on personal computers and targeted much older and experienced players. Japanese had foreign ports of ultima, wizardry, and black onyx, but none of these were kid friendly games. Black onyx was the first hit RPG in japan on the MSX, at 150,000 copies, but again that was an older audience. Druaga was an adventure game, but it felt way more “japanese” than the western ports. Dragon quest took the druaga aesthetic and paired it with somewhat simplified western RPG mechanics. Hydlide tried to do this too but it remained a pseudo action RPG with dogshit mechanics. Dragon quest was just the perfect mix of shounen art, simple stoy, basic mechanics, and the perfect ’babbys first RPG" for Japan at the time.
I do think that there is a kind of tone and style to Dragon Quest games that no other RPG quite itches (kind of like how a million and one modern indie games want to be Earthbound without ever quite getting it right.) that being said someone would have to be fucked in the head to say that Dragon Quest I or II are better than Final Fantasy. Of course Final Fantasy had the benefit of looking at DQI&II and using them as a template to improve upon. DQIII came out roughly the same time as FF so those two are more contemporaries for comparison and I would argue DQIII is the better game although a fair case could be made for either. I don’t think that throughout the rest of the 8 and 16 bit generations either series eclipsed each other in scope or ambition. It really wasn’t until the Playstation where Dragon Quest fell into a the habit of being overly beholden to tradition, but when you’re number one you have the unenviable position of having to appease traditionalists. I think the merger made that worse because Square Enix has the two biggest franchises so they dictate one to be the experimental franchise and one to be the traditional one so for better or worse it doesn’t have to innovate to compete, but it stays the course as a company mandated niche in the market. That being said to get a polished big budget traditional JRPG every four of five years isn’t such a terrible thing.
I’ve never played a substantial amount of any DQ, so I don’t go around telling people I think it sucks, because in actuality I don’t have an opinion at all. Part of the reason for this is because there is like, no salient entry point to the series. I’m sure every DQ fan has their opinion on where that point is and the majority might even be able to agree on one or two that are good for this, but I guess more importantly there’s nothing that really resonates with me as an individual looking in from the outside.
With Final Fantasy — and again, I’m not saying it’s better, I can’t compare it to anything — if I hadn’t played most of them already, I could still probably tell you some things about many of the games just because its traits just really pop out at you from screenshots, hearsay, artwork. It’d be easy for me to figure out which one might best align with my expectations.
I can name some odd quirks about different DQ games that set them apart from others in the series. Like I know in the first game you only have one character, VII is disproportionately longer than the other games for some reason, but they’re all just sort of incidental differences. It gives me the feeling of a game that’s not being sequelized per se but just being patched endlessly, or given expansion packs, or re-skins, or something. Like an MMO or a sports game franchise. Sure it doesn’t seem bad, but I don’t feel like it’s a good use of my time to continue playing these each the same game as the last with slightly broadened mechanics, same Toriyama designs, etc.
Except that most of the spells do not actually work properly, NPCs are virtually meaningless window dressing and the decisions about exploration that you make before you get the airship are arbitrary as you are corralled into linear SETTLEMENT→DUNGEON funnels that happen to be placed on the world map to advance the “story”.
Yes, FF lets you pick classes and build synergy but the first DQ game places you in a sandbox where you are tasked with investigating the world to find out what to do next, you must find out about the world by talking to the NPCs and writing down notes, you make tactical decisions about what gear to bring with you as your inventory space is limited and this has a huge impact on surviving in the wilderness and dungeons earlier on.
Yeah, the numbers are smaller but that’s simply because they aren’t arbitrarily inflated to tell you about a supposedly epic game when DQ shows you that with the adventure it takes you on. I will give you the clunky menu hampering exploration but I guarantee that you will not be pulled into the world of FF by necessity whereas you would have drawn maps and taken down notes if you were playing DQ before the internet.