Well, the past month or so has been kind of hectic for me, but it looks like things are going the way I want them too. I finally managed to find the time to really push past the final few areas in DQVII and finish the game. It took a lot longer than it really should have (Which is my main problem with the game in general) but I have to say that in spite of that, I overall found DQVII to be a really pleasant experience. It would easily have gotten very high up on my GOTY 2016 list if I had not decided to disqualify remakes of older games.
There are actually quite a few games I wish I had talked about on that list. Perhaps I will make a video shortly going over what I thought of them.
But what makes DQVII so appealing to me, in spite of it’s pacing problems? Well, in a weird way, the pacing gives this game an air of mystery and wonder that I haven’t felt in a while. Each Island has it’s own bizarre set of issues and characters that really give the player a feeling of constantly falling into new situations and solving them. I feel as if DQVII is made up of several, much shorter adventures rather than a single large one. Once you get past the point where you have saved all the islands and the real plot takes off… it really feels like the game could end at any time. Which makes the plot twist actually pretty effective.
The combat, as I’ve mentioned before, is very simplistic. But somehow it is fun in spite of how simple most encounters are. It’s a very ‘standard’ RPG with no real gimmicks and surprisingly few party members (Only five? Are you SERIOUS?) I also dislike the bizarre amount of time it takes to max out your team. You don’t meet the final party member until the game is almost over, and the job system isn’t even unlocked until fifteen hours in. This is ridiculous for this kind of game. It absolutely boggles my mind that the original Playstation release was even WORSE about this. I’ve heard hardcore fans lament the addition of the fragment location feature, which allows the player to figure out where the pieces they need much more quickly and easily than in the original release, but I am strongly opposed to this. This game, even with the changes made to streamline it, was still way too fucking long and a bit of a chore to play through. Did I enjoy it? Yeah, but I was interested in moving on to other games pretty soon. I almost quit once I got to All Trades Abbey, but thankfully the game started to pick up a little bit after that due to the job system finally being introduced.
One of the things that really impressed me in this game was the personality of each area and the characters living in them. Each character had their own distinct quirks and interests, even if they had standard character models. Euphonia’s probably one of my favorite characters, as her odd personality, fan club, and her willingness to befriend the heroes really charmed me. And she only really has a role in one part of the story.
Really, the game kept me invested throughout it’s main story, and I’m sure there’s more stuff in the game that I missed, but without that feeling of constantly working towards clearing the game, I can’t say I’m interested in seeing everything there is to see. Unless, of course, I get to marry Maribel, which is sadly not the case from what I understand. I was invested in saving the world, and once I had that… it was over for me.
Also, the ending didn’t really do it for me, besides Euphonia suggesting that she wanted to be married. Lots of these characters I never really got to know because they weren’t involved in the plot all that much. Because, as I’ve said before, the meat of the game takes place in the past. I simply didn’t feel all that invested in what was going on in the present.
Very much unlike something like, say, A Link the Past, the two world mechanic feels very disjointed and very, very… incompatible with each other. Besides the fact that islands only appear in the present once you’ve saved them in the past, they don’t do a whole lot to keep you interested in the new characters and going ons in the present. At least, not right away. The sections in the present, although interesting while they last, don’t leave the same sort of impact the first part leaves. At that point, you just want the game to be over.
And it does end. Eventually. If you spend all your free time doing nothing else. It does end. And you know what? It’s still a good time if you’re a fan of these kinds of games.