Dragon Warrior 7 is a game for RPG fans with a ton of patience.
zh666 wrote this review on .
On the good side, the plot was creative, and the battle system was classic Dragon Warrior that's easy to get into. The enemies looked pretty cool when they were in motion. The game was a bit of a challenge, but mostly on my patience. Uh.. that's about it. Ok, I take back what I said earlier, it's a pretty terrible game.
Dragon Warrior 7 is a turn based RPG, hardly unchanged since the original title. This is old school to the extreme. You'll have a maximum of 4 on your team, but occasionally a 5th non-playable character will join your team, and sometimes they will fight alongside you. Even though you can't control them, they can deal massive damage or heal you in battle being a great help. Your turns are made in rounds, so you put in all your moves and then wait to watch the round unfold. The character or enemy with the highest agility should go first. You can't pick the specific enemy you want to attack, but rather the group of enemies. The computer picks which enemy to attack, but the computer is pretty smart about it. Usually the group will attack the same enemy if you pick the same group, and if one enemy within the group gets paralyzed or put to sleep then they'll all skip over it and attack another one, which is smart. This was annoying and slightly confusing for me at first, but I got use to it.
Every character will have the option to Fight, Skill, Magic, Flee, Item, Equip or Parry. Magic, of couse, costs magic points, these magic attacks can either be used to deal damage to a monster, heal a party member or give a status effect to a monster or teammate. You can use some of these magic abilities outside of battle aswell. Skill is similar, except you gain more attacks skills over time and most skills don't cost MP. You gain new Skills and Magic abilities over time by gaining levels. About 20 hours into the game you get to an island with a priest that can change your job skills. When you change your job skills you can learn even more abilities related to the skill. Your job classes have 8 levels, you gain new levels by fighting battles. For example, to reach level 2 Warrior job class you need to fight 15 battles. After each level you usually gain a new skill or magic ability. If you max out your job then you can switch to another skill, and if its related you can open up a new job. All these jobs can link up and branch out into a job tree. So you can master Warrior and Fighter and gain the Dragoon job, then you can master the Dragoon job, then if you master the Dragoon and Paladin jobs you can open you a Godhand job class. As you pick out jobs your stats will either go up or down depending on the job, but not permanently, just for the time you have that job. So if you get a magic user job class, then your MP and INT will be high, while your HP and Strength will be low, and the opposite for a Warrior. Some jobs can clash and you can gain special abilities over it, like if you have a Warrior and a Dancer you can learn the skill "Sword Dance". While there is some depth to the jobs, you still have to level grind all day to get anywhere with them and you won't even use half the skills you learn. Gaining character levels takes forever aswell. I think you might average 1 level per 3 hours in this game, that is if you're not straight level grinding. There's no puzzle solving at all in this game, most of the dungeons consist of just mazes and just surviving the endless random battles until the boss, there was one clever dungeon towards the end of the game where you had to walk in a gravity-free zone, watching across giant cube-like stages that would flip once you walked across them, but one original dungeon out of 20 or 30 is still kinda lame. ----------Characters / Story----------
You play as a silent protagonist with no name, I'll call him "Hero". The Hero lives on an island with just one town and a castle with a temple hidden within the mountains, this island is the only land on the planet. His best friend Kiefer is the Prince of the Castle and a wannabe explorer. The Hero and Kiefer decide to search the Temple, and are followed by Maribel. After some exploring and loads of running back and forth between the 3 landmarks, your team finds some shards. They place these shards on a pillar and are warped to an unknown land. This kicks off the game and starts the never ending pattern of what’s to come. After your team is settled, they go to the nearest town and find out they have a major problem, all the woman have been kidnaped by an evil magician. So they go explore a cave to find a special crystal that can cure the last warrior in town. Once you hook up with the warrior you invade the castle that has all the women and defeat the boss, island saved. After you save the island, you go back into the present and find out that island has reappeared into the world. This is the pattern that you'll have to get use to: Find shard, go back into time, find out the problem, fix it, go back to the present, find more shards and repeat. It gets really repetitive, some problems are even the same, there's two islands where the entire town is frozen in stone. You'll hook up with 3 more characters (I'll skip their origins because of spoilers) and try to save the world from the evil Demon Lord that destroyed the world in the past, that you are saving. Besides the repetitiveness, I thought the plot was pretty clever, except that it was pretty much taken from Quantum Leap. There's just little things that was annoying. For example, if there was only one island on the world for hundreds of years, with only 1 town, why do they need a full Kingdom with an army when there's no threat of monsters or rival Kingdoms? The main character's aren't special either, anyone can go back into the past, so why are they the only ones that are doing it? While your team goes back into the past and saves a town or towns from massive catastrophes, only one town decided to write it into their history about it. There's also some stuff like when you visit the past and then present, some houses are exactly the same, including the same pots and beds and stuff haven't moved at all. You would think after several 100 years, a few people would want to move things around a little bit from their previous owners. Some towns however are cleverly changed, either by added new houses, or the town might not even exist anymore. I’m also pretty sure I met someone from the past (Pamela the future teller) that ended up in the present, though not 100% on that one.
There's alot of dialog problems. I've noticed atleast 5 misspellings or typing errors in the game, and I'm sure there's even more than that. The main character is always asked "Yes or No" questions, and you respond with them, but there was one question given that wasn't even a Yes or No question, but you had to pick one. You would think stuff like this could of been caught with the logicalization.. oh well.
Geez, where do I start with this? This game came out in Japan in 2000, and in America in 2001. Legend of Dragoon, Final Fantasy 9, Grandia II, Vagrant Story, Skies of Arcadia etc were all games releases before or around the same time as Dragon Warrior 7 and these games make DW7 look like a SNES game in comparison. There's really not alot of things done in this game that would separate it from Enix's 16 bit games like Illusion of Gaia, Paladins's Quest or Dragon Quest 6, actually I think the character models and towns are much better looking in Illusion of Gaia. The backgrounds during battles are improved over Paladins's Quest or DQ6, there's even CGI sprites floating around here and there in them. The enemies don't move until they attack, so they're just a still 2D picture until their turn is up. They might have up to 2 or 3 moves at the most and the attack rarely last more than a second on screen, so there's nothing to impressive about them, but they do look nice for that second of movement and the enemies are drawn well overall. The character attacks are just slashes on the screen. Some magic attacks might throw a fireball, or cover the whole screen in water, but the attacks are about as minimal as you can get away with.
The towns and dungeons are full 3D and honestly look like crap. You'll see the same houses over and over again. Alot of the dungeons are in the same style, either a castle, tower, cave or uh.. that's about it. There's not very many characters in the game, so you'll see the same towns folk in one town and then in another one. Sometimes though you'll see the same towns folk even in the same town, some even talk to either other in dialog scenes. The world map is in plain 2D, each land is either a covered in mountains, grass, desert or trees. The castle, cave and town icons usually look the same. You'll find lakes and poison areas on the world, with an ocean surrounded everything else, but that's about how lazy this world map was put together. The characters are 2D, they look exactly the same on the world map as they do in towns. 2D characters in a 3D world looks ridiculous. The characters walk like they're sliding across the floor. There's rarely any action between them during dialog scenes. The most action I've seen is two guys fighting but all they do is bump each other's bellies, repel and then repeat. Not alot of thought was put into the graphics department at all in this game, so pathetic. There was even one scene towards the end where a winged character wanted to disguise her wings from a crowd, she does it, but there's still wings on your avatar, which is just lazy.
There was only a handful of full motion videos on this game, they're grainy and not exactly up to par with Final Fantasy or Legend of Dragoon, but it's better than nothing. ----------Sound----------
The music, like in any other Dragon Warrior / Quest game is almost untouchable. Classic stuff that will stick with you forever, except that after hearing the same music over and over again for 80 hours the music will get on your nerves. I don't know how many songs are on this, but it feels like 3. There's no voice overs at all though, not even in the FMV cutscenes, not even grunts, moans or even catch phrases during battle, which would of been nice. ----------World Map----------
The map is a classic Dragon Warrior overview map. There's two basic worlds (past and present), but you can only view the present map. There's no monsters on the world map on the present either, which is weird but fits for storyline purposes. The point in the game is to find shards and place them on pillars that warp you to the past. When you resolve the conflict of the past, the island is saved and will re-appear in the present as a peaceful island. You'll have to travel from past to present alot in the game discovering new areas. Early in the game your team finds a boat which you can sail around to the new islands. After you've visited a town, your Hero can warp back to them instantly with a Return spell, to speed up the game a bit. You'll get a flying stone at the end of the game, but by that point it's a little late.
You can only save by talking to a Priest or Nun at a Church, or finding an abandoned book in a few places. If your team is wiped out, then you're warped by to your last save, but you lose half of your money, and keep all your experience, so it's wise putting your money in a bank before setting out into a dungeon. ----------Time to Complete Game (last save before final dungeon)----------
The game doesn't save after you beat the game, and there's obviously no saves within the dungeons, so all that time going through the dungeon for the first time, fighting the boss and watching the long long long ending to the game, I would say add about 3 hours to the official time. I didn't waste my time with the casinos, or level grind more than I had to, so it's a pretty long game.