When life gets confusing and tough, it’s the perfect time to put wool over the eyes by playing a lengthy RPG. Dragon Quest The Chapters Of The Chosen has been chosen! But now its over I see life is still confusing and tough. RPGs never solve anything! I wish writing a novel and finding a paying job was as fun and effortless as going on an adventure to hunt down the demon king. You just need to keep playing and you’ll get there…
The Chapters Of The Chosen is a remake of classic NES title Dragon Quest IV, which never came out over here so it’s pretty damn new to us Englanders. The game is a traditional turned based role-playing game, one with a team of characters to play as, random encounter monsters to fight, towns to visit and often vague directions on where to go next. It’s as old school as you can get, not even featuring touch screen controls, though the remake softens it up by bringing the flow and visuals up to date. The Super Nintendo quality sprites and simple 3D backgrounds still make it feel a little retro, but it’s pleasingly so, especially with Akira Toriyama’s art doing the rounds. But don’t you think Toriyama is a one trick pony? While his cartoon style is distinctive it also doesn’t vary much between his works. Dragon Ball, Dragon Quest and Blue Dragon look to be set in the same place! At least it’s a good style though, full of charm and fun and it even offers the occasional double screen wonder. Usually when big objects are involved, because big things tend to impress… okay.
This Dragon Quest starts things up a little differently and features a chapter for each group of characters who end up part of the hero’s group to take down the evil Demon Lord. It helps add depth to the cast of characters and show just what they were all up to before they joined the ultimate quest without having to force in tedious flash backs. Story is present but kept simple and slim, most of the back story is learnt from towns folk rather than from the events you experience. Minimalism keeps the game running at a steady pace and the actual story events are rather cliché anyway, so spending too much time going on about young ladies being used as sacrifices for demons and half elf racism would have just got long in the tooth. Dragon Quest IV may have been the game to introduce these story types back in the day, but with so many RPGs using them as if it’s a law to do so means the story doesn’t come across as anything special here. There is still life in the tale though thanks to the excellent regional accents which give the world a sense of real character. Though it can be a struggle trying to decipher Scottish slang.
The gameplay continues the simple theme going on and it plays much like the Final Fantasy’s or Pokémon’s of old. You pick an attack, spell or item for each of your four members and watch how much damage they do to the slimes and tigers that roam the earth. Then they get to have a crack at you. Amusing designs with awful pun names make each new creature worth facing, and the quick nature of the battles means bumping into them never feels too much of a chore. Though seeing recoloured versions of monsters further down the road is a little disappointing. Hell, even the final boss is just a recolour. It keeps faithful to the original, but surely some new designs (and some extra music while they’re at it) would have been welcome. Back then it was because of memory constraints, now its because of being too afraid to anger the hardcore fans.
So Dragon Quest The Chapters Of The Chosen ends up being a charming update but an update which still feels a bit out of it. There is nothing wrong with the gameplay which stands strong so many years later, but they needed to do more redecorating than they did. It’s like a work experience kid who just ticks the list without thinking too much about it. He probably just wanted to get back to whatever RPG he was getting lost in at the time.