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Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (DS) artwork

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (DS) review


"Dragon Quest VI's main draw will always be its extraordinary plot and immense world. The plights of each world's citizens feel real, raw. They’re moving and inspire players to do all that they can. The enormous map will ensure that you're still discovering new places well into your fiftieth hour. But most of all, once you’ve uncovered that last inch of land, you'll be sad it's over. You'll look back on all that you've done and ask, “Why did it have to end?”"



Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation opens with what looks like the finale. Heedless of the furious lightning blasting around them, a nameless group of warriors soars across the sky on dragon back. They land safely inside the confines of a castle dripping with an omnipresent malevolence. This place belongs to the monster Murdaw, and it's this gang's job to destroy him. However, when they reach the fiend's throne chamber, a dank mist permeates every inch of space, and a disembodied voice taunts them from somewhere deep within. Suddenly, the three warriors find themselves floating in midair where Murdaw turns each to stone and, with a burst of fell magic, scatters each in a random direction.

Then, as if some strange dream, the image fades and Hero wakes up to an ordinary life in an ordinary village filled with ordinary people. Asking around reveals that war looms over the land as the sleepless King Somnus prepares to wage war with Murdaw and his minions. But for now, all you have to do is sell some goods so you can purchase a crown for the town's yearly harvest festival.

Of course, nothing can be that easy. The crown smith hasn't returned from a simple errand, so you have to locate him. A small distance away, you find the man dangling from the edge of a large hole in the map. Though you succeed in rescuing him, you slip into the abyss below. Startled, you wonder if you just died because even though your surroundings look familiar, there's something... off about them.

Stray into a nearby village and you'll discover why. Wander to what looks like the mayor's house, and you'll overhear two scoundrels plotting to kidnap the official's daughter. However, trying to warn someone proves futile; they can't see you, and those that do sense something amiss attribute it to the wind. Or their imaginations. Or a ghost. Dismayed, you frantically stumble about until you hear something about a mysterious well. Travel down it and you'll suddenly find yourself back in your own body... or is it your own world? Whatever the case, it doesn't take long to return to your original task, still clinging to the hope that you can save that poor girl.

From that point on, things become a lot more complicated. Hero's brush with this phantom realm leads him on an epic quest not only to defeat Murdaw, but to discover the truth behind these parallel worlds, along with his own life and destiny. Along the way, you meet others who eagerly join your quest, both to share in your ideal of a just and peaceful world, as well as to achieve whatever personal goals they seek to accomplish.

The journey will take your party to every inch of both worlds, and everywhere they visit has its own history and adversity to overcome. The desert town of Aridea seems remarkably empty for its size. Grief-stricken citizens tell how their numbers have dwindled. Consumed with hopes of a better life and escape from a cruel, lonely world, they gave up everything to venture to Paradise. And no one has heard from them since. Now, those remaining few hope only to join their families as the next full moon rises, heralding the arrival of the floating island that started it all. Caught up in the town's woes, you go along, all the while suspecting the worst. You won’t be disappointed.

Explore a snowy village at the base of a mountain and discover that all its inhabitants have been turned into ice sculptures. Save one. But he's too bitter to discuss what really happened, and only cryptically warns you to stay away from the local shrine. Ignore his advice and you'll surely discover how one simple mistake led to the town's swift demise.

To be fair, not all of Dragon Quest VI's stories are tragic. Some are only mildly depressing. The fishing town of Pescadora features a grumpy old cripple with an affinity for mermaids. The village of Clearsdale tells the story of a terminally ill boy with a flying bed. Port Haven's mayor decides to imprison his own love-struck maid after a jealous friend accuses her of poisoning his favorite dog. All of these stories demand resolution. Regardless of whether they're critical to the plot, you'll find yourself so compelled by their depth and appeal to human conscience that you'll do everything you can to ensure a happy ending.

Of course, a happy ending isn't always possible... and it's for that reason that you'll stick through it. Even when the game's sheer length starts to feel a little tiresome, you'll quickly forget that once you hit upon the next town to save, the next mystery to unlock, the next new area to explore.

And explore you shall. With two whole worlds full of immense landmasses, vast oceans and undersea caverns to root around in, you'll never want for something to do. And with the plot's initial linearity tapering off significantly about a quarter of the way through, you'll have all the time in the world to investigate every nook and cranny every place has to offer.

Even mere combat provides opportunity to learn and discover new things. Once you're capable of choosing a class (in this installment, “vocation”), you'll have access to a number of abilities that otherwise would be impossible to obtain. These fall along the traditional lines from warriors to mages to thieves and everything else in between. But there are a couple of unique ones as well. Master the right vocations, and you'll have access to a more advanced class, one with greater benefits and techniques. Sages channel both black and white magic, gain the spell to completely revive fallen party members, and also cast at a third of the cost. Gladiators can use a number of devastating abilities like the multiple-striking Boulder Toss, and Metal Slash, which allows you to slay metal slimes with the greatest of ease. As a bonus, they also have a chance of completely shrugging off an attack, which helps when facing wickedly tough bosses.

As entertaining as combat can be at first, it may grow cumbersome after a while, particularly later on when you've acquired so many abilities that you're wading through pages of options just to find the one you want. Fortunately, some of this can be avoided by putting all but your lead fighter on autopilot, but then you'd want to remember to turn it off when a critically important battle comes up.

Still, Dragon Quest VI's main draw will always be its extraordinary plot and immense world. The plights of each world's citizens feel real, raw. They’re moving and inspire players to do all that they can. The enormous map will ensure that you're still discovering new places well into your fiftieth hour. But most of all, once you’ve uncovered that last inch of land, you'll be sad it's over. You'll look back on all that you've done and ask, “Why did it have to end?”

Rating: 9/10

wolfqueen001's avatar
Community review by wolfqueen001 (August 27, 2011)

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wolfqueen001 posted September 01, 2011:

#
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jerec posted September 01, 2011:

I bought the game but haven't started it yet so I decided I didn't need to read a review. >_>
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pickhut posted September 04, 2011:

Okay, finally had the time to read your review, and I found it entertaining! The vast descriptions of various places and hardships were pretty engrossing. Sounded like you really enjoyed the game.

Oh, I found a small mistake, the "/" in this line:

Explore a snowy village at the base of a mountain and discover that/ all its inhabitants

Nicely-written review!
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wolfqueen001 posted September 04, 2011:

Thanks, pickhut! I'm really glad you liked it. I really did enjoy the game, and wanted to write about it the best I can (hopefully without imitating Jason's review too much, which I don't believe I did). Honestly, I felt that this was perhaps my best review in a good long while (never mind the fact that I've only written about 5 all year in the first place), so I really wanted to know what people thought about it. Haha. Ordinarily I wouldn't be so blunt with wanting feedback as I was here, but this time, I was just really excited about mine, and was kind of disappointed when I received almost nothing for it.

Thanks again. Also, I just fixed that catch. Good find.
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threetimes posted September 05, 2011:

Yeah, Honestgamer's review was a hard act to follow and I think you've done a great job on the game giving a sense of it's vastness as well as the emotional pull of the story.

The introduction is an excellent description of the start of the game, setting the tone of the threat and then the confusion that arises when you find yourself transported. I also liked the summaries of the scenarios you encounter, but then I've played the game so it was nice to be reminded of these. You don't mention the characters/slimes stuff which might be significant given the expectations from those who've played the other DQ DS games.

But then...anyone can read up on that if they are interested enough... I still have problems thinking that everything needs to be mentioned!
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wolfqueen001 posted September 05, 2011:

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. I tried to draw the focus on what I felt was most important in this game, so I'm glad it worked for you.

Interestingly, your guide on Gamefaqs helped me out a lot in places where I got really stuck. Don't think it happened to often, but when it did, I was glad it was there.

Also, I did originally mention the slime stuff (albeit briefly) in a rough draft, but then took it out because it felt like it was just sort of shoehorned in without going into as much detail as I or others may have wanted, and so its inclusion could have ruined the flow of the review.

Thanks again!
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Masters posted September 12, 2011:

Nice review, Leslie. I told you I'd get around to reading and commenting at some point. The intro is very strong, although I'd be remiss not to point out a tiny issue: you mention scattering EACH of the heroes. Unless they were dismembered, that doesn't quite work.

I love this line: To be fair, not all of Dragon Quest VI's stories are tragic. Some are only mildly depressing. Funny stuff.
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wolfqueen001 posted September 13, 2011:

Thanks, Marc. I'll try to think of a way to word that one sentence better, but probably won't have time to get to it right away.

Anyway, I'm really glad you liked the review overall. As I'm sure I mentioned elsewhere (in this topic, even), I really felt like this was one of my best.

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