Fuck, that game was long. That game was long. As. Fuck.
I thought I’d die before I finished it. My life flashed before my eyes. I think. I couldn’t tell, it was all clips of this game, I think it might’ve just been all the backtracking.
I don’t know where to start with Dragon Quest VII. It’s definitely something. I played it for a good 120+ something hours, it must’ve done something right. Right? I was intrigued enough by the adventures of the great hero, Dickbutt, that I finished the game all the way to the end. Then why am I just so mentally exhausted and pissed the fuck off?
Dragon Quest VII originally came out for the PS1, and was later remastered for the 3DS. Widely considered a classic in Japan, it really captures the feel of a grand odyssey spanning an entire world.
That was like, a decade ago though.
Much like my vehemently racist grandfather, Dragon Quest VII shows its age. If you’re gonna hate Asian men, you can do it in your own home, but please stop embarrassing me in public.
It’s an incredibly slow game, and a little on the clunky side. It’s got the pacing of an obese kid running the FitnessGram Pacer Test in gym class. It takes forever for the game to get going. It took me about an hour to actually get to the point where I could fight something, and the job system that makes battles so much more rewarding takes almost half the game to open up.
This is apparently a very valuable feature in Japan. A near-immortal race that spends their entire lifetime on trains, games that are too fast to beat are their worst nightmare. The ungodly amount of filler in Dragon Quest VII is unnoticeable to them, like a brown man eating something spicy. White kids would have to call 911 to rush them to the emergency room, but to brown people it’s just food.
Dragon Quest VII is a great RPG, but a great RPG weighed down by an absurd amount of bloat. You’ll embark on a grand quest to reassemble a broken world, collecting up tablet fragments to reform islands sealed away within them. Saving each island from its fate will restore it to the world, opening up more places to explore for tablet fragments. Fun? Sure. Formulaic? Definitely. Extremely repetitive? Try listening to Around The World by Daft Punk.
After saving every world, you’ll need to re-explore the reformed version of each world, which will consist of walking around and talking. There are rarely fights during these portions, simply exploring and talking to people. The world has been saved, so all of the monsters are gone. Sometimes you’ll need to re-explore dungeons that have no monsters in them, just to get whatever tablet fragments might be at the very bottom floor where the boss was.
Sometimes you’d even need to jump from world to hub world to world and back just to get the items you’d need to trigger certain events. A lot of walking, a lot of text, and not always the good kind. There’s so much backtracking, so much filler, so much absolute bullshit that out of the 120+ hours I played it I would not be surprised one bit if I only really played the game for half of that, because the other half was just walking around and mashing buttons through lengthy text segments. And it’s a little grating.
The tablet thing is for every world, so you’d need to do it for every world at the very least. But that doesn’t count things the game will make you do just to save an island itself. Every time I’d think I was enjoying Dragon Quest VII, it would direct me to walk back the way I came to talk to someone else, who would direct me to go back to where I was originally to talk to the guy that directed me to the other guy, who would tell me to take this magical piece of shit and go back to the other guy with it.
Each island has its own self-contained story, and by saving all of them it eventually all connects into a bigger story. And while some of the writing behind each island is fantastic, not every island has a very compelling reason to fight for it. A lot of the major characters boil down to generic character models and goofy accents, a staple of Dragon Quest writing.
And quite frankly, I just didn’t give a shit. I really didn’t.
I love me some turn-based combat, but that’s really all the game’s got going for it I think. Definitely not my favorite Dragon Quest that I’ve played, and definitely one of the weaker Dragon Quest experiences overall. I get what they were trying to do, and I get the feel they were going for. And at times, you can really feel it too.
But it’s outdated to an extreme degree, and even the remaster can’t save all of its issues. There’s something fundamentally wrong at its core, and no matter what you, you just can’t escape that. Like a paraplegic kid trying to be the greatest tap-dancer of all time. Sure, there’s a million things you could add to him to fix him. You could hold him up, whip him around, and let his limp legs ragdoll all over the place. He could tap up a storm. But you haven’t cured the source of his problems.
By around halfway through the game, I was so ready for the game to be over. And it’s an incredibly cruel game, leading you on to think you’ve beaten it multiple times only to present even more to do after that. I think that’s probably the sign of a bad game, if you can’t wait for it to be over. I liked Dragon Quest VII. At least I think I did. But I could not wait for the end credits to roll so I could take this game out of my console and never look at it again.
If you’re not Japanese, I don’t think you’d like this game. It seems to be a Japanese thing. I’ve watched three whole animes and know how to say a couple Japanese words, so that’s probably why I kind of enjoyed it. I’m not full Japanese, but I’ve got to be at least, like, half. It’s gotta be some kinda Japanese thing. Like rice. Who the fuck eats rice? Just like, eat some bread or something.
If you’re gonna take your slice of bread and run it through the cheese grater just so you can put some soy sauce on it, just pour it on the bread and get it over with. Not that difficult, Asia.
As a deeply flawed game, I wouldn’t recommend it to someone that doesn’t deeply enjoy the RPG genre. And even then, you need to be passionate not just about RPG’s, but JRPG’s. JRPG is Japanese for anime.
There’s a lot of glowing, positive reviews for this game out there, and I have to say, I think they’re all wrong. All of them. I think they all just don’t know what they’re talking about, or are just so deluded with what they think we want to hear about a big name like Dragon Quest. “Like a work of art” and “a grand story that takes a while to build up” are gross overstatements. Fuck off. Don’t just suck Squeenis’ little Asian ding dong because that’s what people expect to hear about their shitty-ass weeb games.
Dragon Quest VII is the pinnacle of a grind. At its best, which is sometime between unlocking the job system halfway through the game and the point where all of the islands have been brought back from the tablets, Dragon Quest VII ranges from pretty good RPG to okay RPG. I would not consider it, at any point, to be on par with some of the greatest RPG’s I’ve ever played. Much of it is forgettable. Much of it fails to impress.
“One of the most fairly adequate RPG games of all time” might be a better description for it. Out of all of the Dragon Quest games I’ve played, which is most of them, VII definitely didn’t leave the impression the other ones did. I give them props for what they were aiming for, and I think at times the genius of the initial vision does indeed shine through the obnoxious bloat of the game, but I think they failed to deliver on what their goal was.
And I wasted 120+ hours of my fucking time, walking around and talking to a bunch of generic-ass character models with goofy-fucking accents, just to come to that conclusion.
120+ hours of my fucking life, gone. Do you know what I could have done in that time? I could have watched Ice Age almost 100 times. Now that is a grand journey. All the way across glaciers and shit. And it only takes an hour and twenty minutes to experience.
Japan could stand to learn a thing or two from that.