It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything on my blog, so I thought I could spend some time to talk about the games I’ve been enjoying lately. I try to discuss gems that may not be as well known, yet are every bit as enjoyable as the more modern titles.
This time, that game happens to be an iteration from the Dragon Quest series, namely, the third entry, The Seeds of Salvation.
The version I played is actually a remake for the Super Nintendo, as the original game was released initially on the NES console; as such, the game features some graphical and gameplay improvements. The game is truly a product of it’s era — as a Japanese isometric RPG, it has colorful visuals, a captivating soundtrack, and addictive gameplay. Characters gain money and experience points by defeating monsters in turn-based combat, and can visit towns full of npcs, where they can talk to the characters, visit shops to purchase better weapons and armor, and rest at an inn to regain health and magic points.
The game has a fairly simple premise: you, the hero, must travel the land in a quest to defeat the Archfiend Baramos, visiting various towns and dungeons along the way. Accompanying you in this journey are up to three party members, whose names, character classes and initial stats are of your own choosing. In an interesting twist, the game begins with your character being visited in a dream by a god-like being, who asks you various questions and puts you through a variety of theoretical scenarios that you must react to. In this way, the being then assigns you a personality type — such as “Carefree”, “Logical”, or “Timid” — which determines the way your stats improve as you level up. Your party members are also assigned personalities, and throughout the game your characters are given chances to change their personalities. I found this mechanic not only unique, but entertaining, and offers a type of character customization not found in other RPGs.
The visuals are gorgeous and detailed, even by today’s standards. The soundtrack is whimsical and pretty, and both sound and visuals exude a magical, cartoony quality that the Dragon Quest series is iconic for. The combat is simple, yet dynamic, with the gradual increase in stronger monsters requiring you to pay attention to your character’s health while taking advantage of their special abilities and items. The game is challenging, but not too punishing, and rewards careful conservation of resources on long dungeons treks. If you experience a game over, it’s generally because of reckless behavior, rather than overpowered enemies or sudden spikes in difficulty.
The game world feels vast and interesting, with unique locations littering the wilderness, and includes a day/night cycle, with different times affecting which npcs and quests are available. Dungeons are varied in style and often labyrinthine in design, encouraging players to explore their nooks and crannies for useful treasure and hidden secrets to prolong your party’s survival. In one dungeon, I even found an innkeeper and bedroom tucked out of the way in a corridor, and my party was able to rest up in the middle of a dungeon, which I thought was very cool.
Like any great game, what makes this game outstanding is that it doesn’t do anything wrong: it simply nails every aspect of what makes games entertaining. My only gripes are with the saving system, which only allows you to save through npcs located in the game’s towns, which can be very far away from dungeons and other important locales. The story is a bit simplistic, but it fits the game perfectly, and everything you do is tied in to your ultimate goal to defeat the big baddie. I highly recommend getting this game for your phone, as it makes for a wonderful portable gaming experience.