Fans of the genre should really play this game.
The plot spans many years of the hero's life from childhood through to a full adult. Though certainly not pushing boundaries in anyway the storyline is full of family moments, drama and twists to keep the game intriguing. Generally speaking the game feels a lot more personal about the hero's life than about any world saving quest which I found slightly different as well as sort of touching in a lot of ways.
The gameplay is essentially the same as it's previous installment DQIV though with some minor tweaks to keep things interesting. As you would expect from a Japanese RPG from the SNES era all combat is a turn based affair with character information on the top screen and the enemy and battlefield located on the bottom screen. Dragon Quest V has a nice cast of characters with varying abilities as you would expect but most interesting is the monster recruiting system newly available to the series. Defeating monsters will occasionally have them request to join your party. Each monster has access to certain abilities as they level up and can also be equipped with varying weapons and armour. The variety of enemy types is fantastic and any you aren't using can be stored in monster daycare giving you a large cast to choose from.
Monsters vary from area, dungeon and continent and can gain experience from battles even when not in your main party when traveling with you in your wagon making your party balance far less tedious. I had one monster I kept in the background solely to heal my main party between battles though he still leveled up getting better spells and more MP. Useful needless to say, as it saved my main party's magic for when I needed it most. As just demonstrated Dragon Quest V can be quite tactical and even allows for characters to be given tactics and then just fight on auto allowing for easier enemies to be crushed without constant selection of "attack" over and over.
The visuals are excellent, not just in monster design but also in detail and colour. All the character designs like with all Dragon Quest games to my knowledge were done by Akira Toriyama of Dragonball fame which is fairly obvious by his unique style. The soundtrack has also been enhanced and reworked from the original SNES version and are generally as good as the DS hardware can allow. Overall the presentation is excellent.
The hand of the Heavenly Bride lasts for a good 40+ hours with plenty of hidden items to collect like mini medals, monsters to try and recruit, gambling in casino's as well as some re-playability based on who you choose to marry, one of these ladies is entirely new to the DS version of Dragon Quest V.
So to sum up, Interesting plot, excellent colourful visuals and plenty to do. Dragon Quest V is a perfect example of Japanese RPG's at the peek of their genre and any fan of RPGs or Dragon Quest should really do themselves a favour and pick this game up.
+ Excellent Presentation.
+ Monster Recruiting is excellent.
+ Great value for money.
+ Plot is quite personal.
- Little similar to Dragon Quest IV