Dragon Quest VIII is here, and it’s a port from the original release from the PS2. It’s just one part of a huge, huge franchise – one of the most popular gaming franchises in all of Japan, in fact. There’s been ten main installments (with an eleventh currently in development), in addition to shitloads of spinoffs and remasters over the years. I’m one of those guys who has a hard time jumping into the second or third installment in a franchise if I haven’t played it’s predecessors… But for Dragon Quest? I think I’m gonna have to make an exception.
The good news for completionists is that aside from the first three Dragon Quest games (which are considered a trilogy), none of the Dragon Quest games share any sort of continuity. Every new installment is a different, silent hero who’s got to stop an evil enemy with the help of a ragtag group of other good-guys. Each game has introduced new mechanics and quality-of-life improvements, but largely the themes are the same. Here’s a breakdown of the first ten games in the Dragon Quest series.
Dragon Quest – Players control a young hero who sets out to defeat a being known as the Dragonlord. This is the second chronological game in the original “trilogy”, but the first actual game in the series.
Dragon Quest II – Set 100 years after the first, centered on the prince of Midenhall, who is ordered to stop an evil wizard named Hargon. This is the last chronological game in the trilogy.
Dragon Quest III – The hero is tasked with saving the world from the archfiend Baramos. This is considered the first “chronological” game in the trilogy.
Dragon Quest IV – A completely new storyline and continuity, divided into five distinct chapters, each of which focuses on a different protagonist or protagonists.
Dragon Quest V – Takes place over roughly thirty years of the main character’s life, from when he is born through to when he gets married and has a family. Also introduced a monster-collecting element which later influenced games like Pokemon and Digimon.
Dragon Quest VI – Many of the main characters do not initially remember who they are, but find out over the course of the game. The primary objective is to save the Real World and Dream World from a faceless evil.
Dragon Quest VII – Involved time-traveling through some ancient ruins and defeating evils in each new location’s past and present. Introduced a new class system that allowed players to customize their characters more than any game in the series did before.
Dragon Quest VIII – The first game in the series to have fully 3D environments and character models. The heroes must defeat the wicked Dhoulmagus, who has cursed the kingdom and transformed the royal family into beasts.
Dragon Quest IX – This game was hard as fuck. It had a badass local multiplayer feature where your buddies could import their characters to your game and fight with you in turn-based combat.
Dragon Quest X – This was the first MMO in the franchise. You fight against the devil and stuff.
And then, of course, there’s Dragon Quest XI, which is due to release for PS4 and Nintendo Switch later this year. I’ve only played IX and VIII so far (these games aren’t short) but I think I’m gonna make it a new life goal to play them all at some point. Not finish them all, because thats like 1200 hours I’d need to invest and I’ve got shit to do today, but I’d like to get a taste of each.
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