Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen Updated Hands-On

We play as the chosen ones in this Nintendo DS remake of a classic role-playing game.

Yuuji Horii's Dragon Quest series is one of Square Enix's most popular franchise, so it makes sense that they're remaking the games one by one for the Nintendo DS, starting with Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen. Released in Japan last year, Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen has now been brought to North America, and Square Enix is expected to follow up with Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, as well as Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie on the handheld. Square Enix has made quite a few changes visually since the 1992 NES release, but the game looks similar to the Japanese PlayStation remake from 2001.

King Slime is a portly fellow.

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen is split into five chapters of short stories with new heroes and heroines introduced as the story unfolds. We started our adventure by choosing a male or female character and learned that our character was ready to go out into the real world, but then, we were whisked away to a palace where we met Ragnar, an army captain who the king had requested to track down children that had gone missing. In the next chapter, we met Princess Alena, a tomboy who refused to stay within the castle. As the story continued, we also met Torneko, Meena and Maya. Each time we were introduced to a new storyline, it was like starting over again where your party will begin at level one, and you need to work your way up to progress through the storyline.

Unlike the role-playing games of today, you have to do quite of bit of level grinding before you can move between cities and locations. Dying and simply respawning at the last church is not always the best option either, considering you lose half your gold coins each time your party is wiped out. Saving the game, reviving a fallen party member, finding out how much experience you need to level again must be done at a church. You also won't find yourself rolling in the dough because enemies will start off giving you a measly few coins, and you'll soon realize that you need to save up coins to upgrade your weapons or armor. There will be banks later on in the game where you can deposit 1,000 coins at a time so that you won't lose as much money in the likely event that things turn sour.

The random encounters will occur often so you will always have plenty of opportunities to level, which is what you should expect to do most of the time. Time will pass when you're on the overworld map where you will notice that there are certain creatures that only come out at night. The adorable, teardrop-shaped slimes will also show up in abundance because it wouldn't be a Dragon Quest game without them.

Actual combat is turn-based where you only see your enemies onscreen and your vitals are displayed on the top screen. Menus will come up on the bottom screen so the fighting is incredibly straightforward. Going through equipment and transferring items to party members takes up a few extra steps, but anyone familiar with RPGs should not have any issues navigating through the game.

Ragnar McRyan not only has a fancy mustache, but is one of the chosen.

Even though it is on the DS, there are no touch screen controls for this game. In towns and dungeons, you can see your surroundings across the top and bottom screen, allowing you to see what's ahead. You can use the L and R buttons to rotate your camera angle. In town, you can also press the Y button to pull up a hand-drawn map of the entire area that will point out where to find the important shops. On the overworld screen, you can bring up a zoomed-in map to give you a better idea of where you are situated.

Visually the game looks great; it's bright and colorful. Fans of Akira Toriyama will also appreciate the character and monster designs. Monsters are lightly animated so that it doesn't feel like you're slashing at a cardboard cutout; however, monsters still show up in a tidy row. The environments have an impressionism feel to them, making them slightly different from other 2D surroundings that we've gotten used to exploring. Koichi Sugiyama, a well-established musician before he entered the realm of Dragon Quest, composed the score, which has made a smooth transition to the DS. His work on the series has inspired symphonic suites, live concerts, and a ballet so the soundtrack is worth a listen. The English translations have also been tweaked, and you'll come across towns with various dialects.

There is a Chance Encounter mode, which is available through a local wireless connection. We aren't sure what it entails exactly, but we were told it involves expanding your town to discover an ancient mystery regarding a cursed kingdom.

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen will allow a new generation of gamers to experience yet another classic RPG. It's an excellent addition to the growing Nintendo DS library of Square Enix games, and this is only the beginning of what's to come. Check back for our full review when the game ships on September 16.

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Discussion

62 comments
Wrecked69
Wrecked69

Fun RPG. First Dragon Quest i've tried and it was overall a very enjoyable RPG despite occasional frustrations. Beat all 6 chapters in about 25 hours, excluding collecting all mini medals and doing the pioneer town sidequest. Kinda wish it was a longer game, but Ive got DQ 5 to move onto I suppose!

majahret
majahret

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

psp8976
psp8976

wow and the upgrade this game from 1992 man that is so cool!!!!!!!!!!

Franzkill
Franzkill

and I literally cannot hide it! Err my excitement I mean...

Sodney
Sodney

It seems kinda cool. I'll wait though. I need to be reassured.

paul_hubans
paul_hubans

What about DQ 1 - 3?! Those were some of the best, in my opinion! :)

RazorBlankGiga
RazorBlankGiga

I woulda schooled yall at some Dragon warrior 1... Unfortunitly I havn't played any of the others of the series. :/

Sunrie
Sunrie

Very exciting. I've not played 4, 5, or 6, so I'll be sure to pick them up this time around. The greatest thing about DragonQuest has always been the fact that it's not about levels or power leveling...it's been about STRATEGY

omega300
omega300

this is good game it about time show's once it not easy game to beat but like it SSS rank :)

Extra_Life
Extra_Life

Most anticipated DS game game of 2008, even if I did import the Japanese version last year. Really can't wait for V and VI either!

The_Symphony
The_Symphony

For those worried about the "starting over" with each chapter...well, in Chapter 5, all the previous characters band together with all the weapons and experience you left them with at the end of their own chapters. So it's not "starting over" as much as "leveling up another portion of your party."

TriviumA7X
TriviumA7X

Nah... Square... please...please... Vagrant Story Re-make for PS3 or a... sequel

stewd05
stewd05

i think that it is great to see so many of the old square enix games being remade for the ds...i bought final fantasty 3 and 4 and i must say they are both great, can't wait for this one either...i just hope that they are able to remake some of the classics like ff7, 8 and 9 for the ds, how ever i doubt that they will fingers crossed eh?

Conjuration
Conjuration

I'm extremely excited for DQIV, but especially for V (whenever it comes out). I just bought a DS based on the hope that V, and VI will come to DS in NA as well, but also because I can't wait for IX either. Long live the DS! My gaming savior!!!

michelle_moraes
michelle_moraes

I'll definitely grab this one! It seems like a very light hearted game!

CheeseBacon
CheeseBacon

this is a must for every rpg fan. i'm playing the 30+ hour and im delighted. Just great story, maybe bit too much level grinding sometimes, but hey, this is old school.

jaymim101
jaymim101

Man!...Ever since Nintendo Power gave away free DW I's with a subscription I've been hooked...I understand that level grinding may be weak nowadays...but it's these old school designs that I feel give the most rewards after all the hard work. DW is the OG of RPGs!

Sanctinus
Sanctinus

Can not wait for this game loved all the previous ones be interesting to see how it looks on the DS :)

vaejas
vaejas

Just like Star Trek movies, even-numbered DQs are the best.

omega300
omega300

can't hardly wait 4 this game 2 come out :)

Yoshi_Kirby
Yoshi_Kirby

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

mrbrice
mrbrice

extited UNTIL i hear 'level grinding'. that's a deal killer for me - i don't have that kind of time. rpg's have to be more rewarding nowadays.

Wiseman01
Wiseman01

Next must buy for me on the DS.

nick0091
nick0091

OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY.... OH BOY!!!!!! Sorry have been waited for about 7 years for this so I may be a little excited.

pai-may
pai-may

As long as it comes out in Britain, I'll be v. happy.

Memoryitis
Memoryitis

Dragon Quest has always been the straight forward simple kind of RPG ill say meh to this

Flipyap28
Flipyap28

this sounds like 5 short rpgs in one game, I hope this isnt a problem starting over again each chapter. Either way im interested...

aryoshi
aryoshi

Mostly planning on getting III and IV on the NES being I already have I and II on it. I'm just waiting for V and VI to come out, then I'll get VII on PSX, then I'll practically have the whole main line, aside from Monsters, etc.

RTS____EX
RTS____EX

hope number IV is good like Final fantasy wich was a masterpiece

Payback7
Payback7

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Payback7
Payback7

Cool, another RPG to play on the DS - gotta finish The World ends with you first! hehe

THE_WHITE_MAGE
THE_WHITE_MAGE

To Banjo 7, the reason they are starting with DQ IV is because DQ I - III (also known as The Erdrick Trilogy) were already released for the Gameboy Color a few years back. I would have preferred an Advance or DS version of those also (especially considering the graphical limitations of the Color), but that is their choice. And while IV did come out for the NES in the States, it came out after the SNES launched and thus sold dismally here. IV will be fun, but I am much more excited for V and VI, which have NEVER been released in the U.S. before. And to Okamibladder, I actually agree with you about the Final Fantasy series, that it peaked back in the SNES era. VII is the most overrated game in history and commands the respect that probably should go to Ocarina of Time (I know, different genres). That is not to say that VII is not a great game - an overrated game can still be great. But it just does not deserve the massive amount of praise that is heaped upon it! The bad combination of static and isometric environments, only three people in your party maximum (before that game the minimum in the series had been four), and long FMV sequences that took you out of the game and whose graphics have not aged well AT ALL are glaring flaws. The amazing story and death of a major character are just not enough to make up for its faults. I think the main reason so many love it is because it was the first big RPG for a lot of people. But since I had been playing RPGs including Dragon Warrior (which has now been renamed Quest for continuity) since the late 80's, I was just not as impressed.

enisguy
enisguy

Looks awesome. I can't wait to play this game again...

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

I always liked this game. I thought it was underappreciated in its time, and I'm glad its getting a remake. I didn't pick up FFIV for the DS, but I'll probably pick this one up, because unlike FFIV, I didn't actually finish this game. I quit shortly after I finished Torneko's plot.

teknicz
teknicz

What is up with the frequent grammatical mistakes on GameSpot lately? And even in the reviews, sentence structure is poorly chosen and awkward. Strange.

e-racer22
e-racer22

I'm really looking forward to this. I think 5 & 6 are each are scheduled about 3 months apart. I'm playing through the FF4 remake currently and hope to be done before this releases.

Okamiblader
Okamiblader

Never heard of dragon quest? Shame on you! Shame on you! Of course it is not as popular as final fantasy in the states or maybe worldwide, but that is what makes it better! Final Fantasy has declined since FF6--FF7, oh please, that game changed everything enjoyable about the series,the decline, in other words (FF fans will kill me for this comment, I just know it but I am sticking with it)--and has given itself up to the hype and trends (though FF12 was a great one, but still). I understand most people don't know of this game--and DQ:The mask queen and the tower of mirrors was a bad start off--and the many others that came after, but give it a try! They are also releasing DQ5 and DQ6, which never came out of Japan and they are going to be a great addition. Final Fantasy is great and all, but if you want to get back to the basics of swords, magic, and monster mayhem, pick Dragon Quest!

thattotally
thattotally

oh yuck!!! this game sounds boring, horrible, and just really old-school, just bleh! and I, for one, am definitely getting it regardless! :D I mean, we really need to support these titles, I don't care for all you old people complaining about remakes and about having played these games already, who cares? I mean, what a great library of DS games, you have your Final Fantasy 4 (yes I have the gba version, so what?) and hopefully Chrono Trigger. Then we have Dragon Quest, 4-6, as well as DQ 9, so it's a lot of rpg goodness. And if you must have no IP's, look no further than The World Ends With You. and that's only for rpg's, I don't even know how many strategy rpg's or other genres already avaible (dont care much for them really :( ) again, this game looks really hard and I'll probably hate it, but I'll buy it as well as it's two "sequels" and the up and coming DQ 9. I hope you lot do the same :)

shabulia
shabulia

I'm sorry, Dragon Quest is Square Enix's most popular series? Perhaps only in Japan. Final Fantasy is a much more popular franchise worldwide, I would think. I know the Japanese are gaga over Dragon Quest games, but name one moment in a Dragon Quest game that has touched so many as when Cloud rushes to save a certain someone and fails to come to the rexcue in time. Hell, can someone give a name to any character in any Dragon Quest game without looking it up? I didn't think so.

tootergray34
tootergray34

anything would be better than that garbage on rails game for the wii....i think it was the two towers or something? I rented it and couldn't even play it it was so terrible.

Mamba219
Mamba219

@Atronflame: 5-6, you mean. I for one am pumped, DQ4 for the NES was great, and I love DQ7's style, so combining the two will be awesome.

Atronflame
Atronflame

Well, 1-3 were already rereleased on the gameboy color. Not to mention that 4-6 have never been released in the united states.