A few weeks ago I tweeted, “I love the first 10 hours of Dragon Quest games. It’s the other 190 that I can’t stand.” While I was exaggerating a number of things, the sentiment remains true. In fact, I can think of no other series that causes such distinct binary reactions within me.
I did not play a single Dragon Quest game until my brother bought Dragon Quest VIII. I decided that as a fan of RPGs, I should give the series a fair shake. I played the game almost to completion. I finally stopped because I realized that at the forty hour mark, I was still thinking “when is this game going to get good?” That is not usually a good sign.
I thought that would be the end of my foray into Dragon Quest, but fate would have me review Dragon Quest IV for RPGamer just a few years later. While I did not love the title, I found myself more endeared to its simplistic take on battling and leveling up.
It snowballed from there. I replayed the opening hours of Dragon Quest VIII, Dragon Quest V became the first title in the series I bought myself, and I soon considered myself a fan. However, of the five titles I have played I have only completed one, and that was a requirement for review. This is where that initial tweet comes into play. I throw myself into the games when I first begin. I cannot stop playing. I get excited to play. I enjoy myself when I’m playing. I do not feel dirty after I play. Still, there inevitably comes a distinct time when I lose any and all interest in whichever title I am playing and so I stop and never look back.
It is not unusual for me to lose interest in a game, nor is it unusual for me to no longer have the time for a game. However, it is generally a gradual process and includes twinges of regret or even longing. With Dragon Quest, it is sudden. I no longer enjoy any moment of the game in the least, I have zero desire to play any more, and I have no regrets.
Why is this? Perhaps I feel that – despite some decent plot points – I never connect with the stories or mood on an emotional level. Perhaps I feel that the characters never really get powerful enough in battle. Or perhaps it really is a less extreme version of my tweet, and I feel that the games are far too long for the sake of being far too long. If unnecessary length were the only factor, however, it would not line up; I play Tales games to completion and I definitely think those games are too long.
This is where my reflection ends, readers. I noticed that for a site with a deep affinity for RPGs, Dragon Quest is hardly touched upon, so I thought I would throw an opinion into the pot. What are your experiences with Dragon Quest, fine readers?