A disaster in every sense of the word, Dragon Warrior VII doesn't earn its place in the legendary RPG franchise.
Graphically, the game just fails. It looked laughable in its Japanese release, and it looked even more so in 2001, when it finally hit the United States. The textures are blurry beyond recognition, and the sprites are squatty and ugly. This game could have, should have been a 2D game from the start. Instead, it's a mess of a 3D game that shows the developers weren't really putting their hearts into it. Also, the menu fonts are atrocious. The trauncated item names and humongous fonts are an insult to anyone who remembers the professional job that even the original Dragon Warrior games recieved when localized here in the US.
Sound is also laugable in this game. The synthesized sound effects sound nothing like they're supposed to, and the music is bland beyond all recognition, save perhaps for the main theme. It was sad to see.
Gameplay rests entirely on the game's battle system, and that's not a good thing. Eschewing the fast-paced action of Dragon Warrior III, this game's system is boring as sin. It takes forever to earn enough money to even buy weapons for the very first time, and battles drag out due to a sorry skill selection. That the player isn't informed of what spells actually do leads to more confusion. Exploration is also not very good in this game. The dungeons feel like a sick 3D version of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, where every room looks the same and there's no way to tell just where you are or where you're going. The lack of landmarks and the room-by-room structure of the dungeons really gets annoying.
The story is awful. Rather than actually having a central story, you're given these largely insular vignettes which don't really convey the feeling of an epic journey at all. Going from mini-story to mini-story is just terribly disorienting.
It's hard to recommend this game. That's all there is to it. After the last Dragon Warrior game to be released in the United States (Dragon Warrior IV), I had high hopes for this game. However, not only did it not deliver on the promise of its predecessors, it failed to even meet the standards of the mid-1990s. This game is an unmitigated disaster in every sense of the word.