Dragon Quest V is part of the “Dragon Quest” series. It was created by Yuji Horii with character and monster designs from the creator of Dragonball and Dragonball Z, Akira Toriyama.
It’s the fifth installment in the Dragon Quest series and the DS remake marks the second remake made for Dragon Quest V specifically.
This enhanced remake features a new option on whom to pick as a wife for old players of the game. The game is, on average, from 30-40 hours long and features much dialogue and a little bit of added plot from the original.
The game itself features a “generations” in which you grow up in the story and monster recruitment which, obviously, allows you to recruit monsters.
Now, admittedly, it doesn’t get right into the story when on the first dungeon but the first dungeon itself has an important story element to it. However, just when you think this game isn’t going to be that engaging, it throws fireball at you with a very engaging cut scene that really gets you into the story immediately. From there on, you feel varying degrees of personal emotion from story-based cut scenes and your own actions throughout the game.
It’s important to note that as a silent protagonist, the main character is YOU. You feel emotions in reaction to the events that befall the silent protagonist in the game because he IS you. That’s the sole purpose of a silent protagonist, it’s to BE the player.
The reason why this silent protagonist wasn’t given the option to be female in this game like Dragon Quest IV had to do with a very important plot element later on. I’d rather not spoil it for you if you don’t already know.
As with most Dragon Quest games, Koichi Sugiyama delivers great classical soundtracks with some video game synthesis to make it sound more action-oriented. They probably aren’t for everyone but I loved them especially the final boss’s theme.
Something I should specify before I go and ramble on and fanboy about this game. I LOVE most turn-based RPGs. To me, they’re fun. That’s really all I care about in a game, if the gameplay is fun and this one’s implementation of turn-based gaming was definitely one of the best in my eyes.
In this game, you can recruit monsters. Okay, so you’re probably thinking: “Pokemon?” But WAIT! I’d argue that, assuming you like monster catching or monster grinding, it’s superior to any Pokemon game in terms of actual gameplay because you can choose to use from more than 4 moves in a battle and have more than 2 monsters in a battle at any given time.
Your Protagonist fights with the monsters and if the Protagonist dies then you can still continue fighting the enemy.
Recruitment of monsters is based on whom you kill last (only the last monster you defeat in battle will be able to be recruited) and it’s based on how rare or strong the monster is (obviously you have to work more to get more broken monsters unlike in Pokemon where you can trade strong Pokemon from other versions with Masterballs or save in front of a Legendary). The downside is that not all monsters in the game can be recruited but you have plenty to choose from of those that can be recruited.
Personally, I’m glad the list of monsters isn’t too ridiculous like the 500 something in Pokemon. I mean, I use to like Pokemon as a kid but they should have stopped before it had become too ridiculous and now they just milk the series so I’m glad Dragon Quest V has a shorter, more concise, list of monsters. You can recruit more than 80 in total (they’re left with a monster tamer for you to switch, drop off, pick up, or delete monsters from whenever you visit him).
One important thing I would like to make note of: You eventually do get human party members later in the game. The first time you have to pick among three choices for plot reasons (three save files means you can play through all three choices but, admittedly, there is little difference as far as the scope of the story but much difference in character development).
These party members, once obtained later in the game, will comment on virtually anything from almost every comment a random NPC makes in any town to their thoughts on the towns, dungeons, and world itself. The immersion and development of such this dialogue along with a hefty amount of translations needed from the Japanese version make this one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever played and really puts you into the game as the silent protagonist himself.
Overall, I recommend this title. I believe it’s very much worth the time of anyone who likes a solid turn-based RPG experience and I think it has one of the best stories ever made in a video game. It also proves, just like Chrono Trigger and many Shin Megami Tensei games, that you CAN have a silent protagonist that has character development. Not through what they say though, but through their actions and the cruel experiences they’re forced into.
Dragon Quest V is one of my top five favorites of all-time.
Final Score: 10 out of 10. 10/10