Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen is based off the NES game: Dragon Quest IV. The game has been given a graphic overhaul on its way to the DS and unlike Final Fantasy IV it did not stumbled into the mire of poorly rendered polys. The graphics for the most part are 2d, buildings and various other infrastructures are in cell shaded 3d while people and enemies are sprites. If you have ever played Dragon Warrior VII this may seem familiar since it uses the same graphics engine.
Dragon Quest IV is less of full-on adventure and more of a collection of short stories, up until the last act when everyone joins together. While not bad and a revolutionary method of storytelling back in its age the action can get broken down in between the transition to different chapters. Each chapter you take on the role of several different characters: a merchant trying to make his way to the top, a princess going on a journey to prove herself, a soldier looking for lost children, and so on. Its not until the final chapter do all these characters stories intertwine and work together for a common goal.
Your role in the story is the ubiquitous mute and prophesized hero, spending your early days preparing for the day you must leave the village and destroy the evil one. I dont get why writers are so lazy they have to make silent protagonists. If Link and Mario actually spoke I bet they would have some pretty decent quotes. Not that the other characters have deep personalities either, but this is based off a NES game. So I'll just roll with it.
Eventually your idyllic life turns to **** (ala Fable 2) and you must begin your quest to cast out evil and seek out like-minded individuals. The game being a true-to the-original remake sticks to the vagueness of the original, your never quite sure whats your next step until youve spoken to everyone. Although if youve played the NES version this will seem all quite familiar with the exception of updated names for certain people and places.
Unlike the NES version the difficulty curve has been toned down a bit, this means less level grinding and more action. Although this makes things easier that does not necessarily apply to the entire game, some parts can be difficult and you may need to build up some levels. Conveniently, the combat is fast paced and zippy, the enemies are wonderfully animated in 2d sprites and your characters are well balanced and have a variety of abilities at their disposal. The combat is not without its problems though, its nearly devoid of strategy, a problem which plagues many Dragon Quest games. Most of the time in random encounters youll end up attacking, using multi-hit spells, and taking small breaks to heal during battle. Later in the game the random encounters become more strategic as the enemies become stronger and pose more of a threat. No more will you sit idly by attacking but you must put foes to sleep, steal their MP, boost your offence, lower their defence, and much more. The boss fights are guaranteed to keep you on your toes.
If you are not familiar with the RPG genre or don't care for RPGs whatsoever chances are you wont like this game and it wont change you. Dragon Quest IV harkens back to the older days of RPGs (and rightfully so) the game is as true to the original as possible. The updates to the script are hit-and-miss, the characters now have accents and dialects based on their nationality (French, Irish, Russian, British, ect). The game also uses local Wifi but instead of multi-player minigames or Questing for a friend it's squandered on a town building game that doesnt really go anywhere. If you enjoyed the NES version or are a fan of Dragon Quest and want to see what it's more older entries are like, I highly recommend this throw-back to the old-school RPG.
(If this is well received enough I'll put up some of my other reviews.)