dated, repetitive, and boring
That's funny, that's the exact words I'd use to describe this game.
Rant time folks! I got a little farther in the game so I thought I'd share some of my thoughts as someone who's not a fan of the series in any capacity. If you come to this series specifically FOR the old-school aspects of it, you can probably skip over this post or simply take it as some ignorant hate speech, but here goes.
I've just reached the point where you are allowed more free movement around the map (Got a boat and went to the northeast of the map where's there's a school of some sort), and the biggest annoyance for me is that I now pretty much HAVE to grind in order to go any further. Otherwise, even fighting a normal battle ends up sucking dry a lot of my MP or items. The fact that I can't get a decent amount of equipment (I can get maybe 2, 3 pieces of armor each time a reach a new town....considering how there's something like 8 slots on each character for four characters and there are new pieces of equipment every single town, I'm actually still wearing some of the gear I started the game with) without spending absurd amount of time just killing enemies is something I find really irritating.
I'll give some positives for the game first.
- I actually like the graphics a lot more than games like FF3 and 4, it might be because of Toriyama's artwork just working better with the DS 3D look.
- I like the cheesy and sometimes dry sense of humor the game has. Don't like the random Ganguro fairy though, seems really out of place.
- The story is simple, but not in any way insufferable.
Now here's my nitpicks:
- This is complaint I have about a lot of NDS games actually, but why is there no "turn off animations" control? Considering how DQ used to involve a bunch of boxes fighting still picture of monsters, it'd be nice to have a option to just play that way instead, since I really don't care how nice your animation is if I have to fight 20 battles in every dungeon. Also, there doesn't appear to be any options for increasing text speed, even though there's no voice acting whatsoever in the game.
- Every time I try to escape from combat, it takes something like 5 tries. Why? Honestly, running away should just be 100% except maybe for bosses, because preventing you from running serve no purpose other than to irritate the player. If I'm really having a hard time in a dungeon I'd just use a griffon wing or whatever or teleport to a nearby town. Maybe this wouldn't be nearly as annoying if not for the fact that the game apparently takes your chances of escape off the lowest level member of your party.
- Mentioned before, but class selection should be available from the start. I don't give a shit if I can make other party members in whatever class I want (Which also doesn't happen till a good 2 or 3 hours into the game), there's really no reason that I can't at least choose the class I want at the start- I'm not even talking about class changing, just choosing the starting class.
- The quests are fucking stupid. The quests I've done so far include landing killing blows on 2 metal slimes with a character under the effect of a special buff effect, which is far more annoying than it needs to be. All that just to unlock a class? I wouldn't mind so much if the quest was actually fun, but it's more a test of patience than anything else. Actually, maybe I wouldn't mind so much if I wasn't spending half the time getting chased and failing to run away 16 times from enemies 10 levels below me I didn't feel like fighting.
- The class balance sucks. Mages are worthless, at least in a normal beat-the-game playthrough. While having staves drain MP does help it along a bit, I find that having any sort of melee classes around will just make things more convenient overall. Which leads to my next point.
- Combat is boring. This is probably my biggest complaint. After playing other RPGs with combat that offers things other than spamming attack and cures, such as Grandia or Golden Sun, making a combat system this simplistic feels lazy to me. Status magic has a hard time sticking on to even normal enemies- why bother casting it at all (Of course there's a quest that requires me to kill monsters under the effect, so I guess it'd be too easy if it just stuck 100% of the time on a normal enemy right?)? Raising tension is a waste of time when I could've just spend said time attacking. Coup de Graces seem to just come randomly so there's no way to strategize around their use.
Lots of other little things in the game are irritating me as well. This game is sitting at a C- for me right now, as it doesn't do anything terribly wrong, but its many small flaws along with design straight from 15 years ago makes the game very boring. Furthermore, this game has the same problem Children of Mana has- it's absolutely begging for online play, so why the hell is it not there? This game is just an offline MMORPG, except with none of the class balance or interesting world to explore.