I've written several essay posts on this. Deleted each of them. I'm not sure if I really want to get into this without overcomplicating matters.
Dragon Quest VII is my favourite game with good reason. It's a HEAVILY flawed game, and sadly, while the 3DS version is my favourite, while it addresses many flaws in the original, it creates whole new flaws on its own.
The beginning of the game is slow on purpose. It's meant to be a slow burn built around the curiosity and intrigue of an island in the middle of a huge empty ocean. The ONLY island, and it's a veritable paradise. No one dies, no fisherman is ever recorded having been lost at sea. They always come in with a harvest of fish. There are some stories of monsters in the past, but no direct history of Estard actually having a monster invasion since its founding. Nor any wars to speak of. It is in every sense, a literal Eden.
The issue I think a lot of people have with the start, is the excessive dopamine addiction probably 80~90% of the population in the US and EU have. Whether it's because of social media, whether due to the nature of commercials and the well studied effects of short-term attention spans created by excessive TV watching. Whether it's created by the multitude of Freemium games that use simple-yet-sadistic skinner-box mechanics to hook people into them like addicts, or the cheap one-time purchase games with added content you need to repurchase that utilize skinner-box dopamine hits at a higher rate than most games, or the sad reality of loot-box games that started with Diablo, and which most MMO's hooked and dragged to them, over time with each subsequent MMO making those drops easier and easier to obtain, generating more and more consistent dopamine hits (especially with WoW, which was the first MMO to virtually guarantee rare drops from bosses, creating the need to "roll" for said item or pass it up depending on who needed/could equip). This was a drastic shift from maybe 1 in every 100~1000 battles for the good truly rare drops, and matched more closely to Diablo 2's model of constant, but not too constant, rares, especially from bosses.
Then you have another intrinsic issue some people have with DQ nowadays that wasn't an issue in time's past. The ability to put oneself in the shoes/mind of the protagonist at will, without the story generating so much emotional draw, trauma, and non-stop action and suspense to force that connection. With the advent of CD games, this changed the nature of RPG storylines, especially since FF7. That created the Cinematic RPG, and it's a trait WRPG's have adopted almost wholesale, with a few minor exceptions in that it's only a slight adoption (Fallout New Vegas, Knights of the Old Republic, looter games with stories like Dungeon Siege and Torchlight). This is something Dragon Quest, despite general presentation, doesn't adopt, despite each subsequent game, especially starting with DQ7, drastically increasing the number of cutscenes (and except for a few here and there, almost ALL of them are in-game engine based....dear lord DQ7 PSX's 3 FMV cutscenes are cringe beyond cringe, memorable, but like an Ed Wood movie is memorable). Most gamers just lack that ability to tap into that. Then again role-playing in school in its old form, of roleplaying different jobs, or roleplaying different scenarios, isn't as prevalent. It's more about roleplaying different "races" or "sexes," which doesn't allow for the fantasy of a different world, a different way to look at life. Nevermind the cutting of arts programs in schools in the US especially, since the 1980's. Now sports programs (and schools get about 3~10x the amount of money now than they did then...makes you wonder where it all goes).
There's also the kids growing up in the 90's and 00's, and how many of them lacked parents, and were in daycare centers. These kids inherently lack the ability to identify with others, including with other types of roles, such as a job, and do not generally seek to do so. Meaning their creative center is essentially cut off. I'm sure that has to factor greatly into the ability to isolate the self and transmogrify the brain and sense of place into the game without being forcibly swept along with a constant dopamine adrenaline rush storyline. Something DQ's just cannot create, as they're slow adventure's with some cutscenes in between a lot of traveling. It's very old-school in that sense, and 7 more than any other with traveling back and forth.
Then there's time, and how many gamers are busier now than at any point in the past. Houses are made with more easily destroyed materials, causing a lot of breaks and fixes (which is good in that it keeps aspects of the economy going, and there is at this point, a sense we've taken this too far, and should be making slightly more durable materials, as the overwhelming number of required fixes is beyond both the number of people who can afford it, and the number of people able to do the job...such as the reality at least 3 in every 10 houses has a water leak due to broken pipes underground, which can be VERY expensive, over 10~15k, in some areas over 50~80k due to HEAVY regulations). Then work, kids, family issues. More grandparents are in a state of perpetual sickness and inability to function, and at FAR earlier ages than in generations past (a lot of 50 and 60 year olds today look like 80+ year olds pre-depression, and are even LESS able to handle normal life functions than a 90 year old in the depression era). So it's a lot of time, weight, and limited patience. This probably has the greatest impact on older gamers. @Bob_the_Almighty pointed out to me in several conversations, and at several points on these forums, as well as others (like GameFAQs), that he's no longer interested in a 70+ hour game. He doesn't have the time, and would rather play a 20~40 hour game, even if he knows he wouldn't enjoy the experience as much. He'd rather games be more compact and get to the point, while telling a good story, have solid and fun gameplay, etc. So I think this as well plays a significant part. One has to WANT to sit down and slowly play through a game that clearly indicates from the getgo, that this is a long haul. Nevermind tacking in kids, the various bills we now pay (how many insurance agencies do we have to consider now, and how many "protective" services do we pay for now compared to 10 years ago, nevermind 20+?). There's a LOT to pay attention to now, a LOT more to take up our time, and drain our energy in just daily life. Nevermind all the "threats" left and right people have to consider and account for, and budget for, and prepare for future events. This game isn't conducive for that sort of lifestyle unless you willingly choose to engage. At least the 3DS does allow tracking, but some people still won't want that continued play to last that long, so I'm sure for some it becomes more frustrating as they'd rather things move along more speedily.
There's a general lack of awe, of curiosity, of wonderment in today's society. Everything is so fast paced. So overwhelming, and full of constant dopamine drips. Nevermind general mindsets crafted in the forge and fires developed for the younger generations when I was in High School, or the precursors to that when I was a child. It's an uphill battle to climb for a game like DQ7. One where just 20 years ago, this game would have been praised for the 3DS version (especially if it had the puzzle elements from the PSX version restored, and easier transit to and from islands in between time zones...like Zoom spots in the past, and automatic Zoom locations for each past-location that appears in the present).
I won't get into other complications, such as certain people's needs for EVERY game to have a grey area (complex motivations for every bad guy, and little to no acceptance for something to be evil because it enjoys it...it's like no one believes Psychopaths actually exist, nevermind the concept of Demons and even just entertaining what they are, beyond how Atlus portrays them as potential allies, which is more acceptable apparently, than the historical context in literally every single culture since the dawn of time, because it's a grey area mindfield rather than black and white).
There's a LOOOOT of various elements in human psychology I could cover, that is more consistent with today's world, and how DQ7 especially, but DQ in general fits in with that, but I'm not. I do want to get back to doing stuff, and this has taken 4 hours out of my day so far with the multiple rewrites.
Issues with Dragon Quest VII (both versions) from a gameplay perspective (I had a long as fudge list before I started writing the above, and it now escapes me):
Very limited information on how classes work. Especially the nature of upper classes, monster classes, pre-requisites, hybrid skills for the original
3DS opening being streamlined is a VERY good thing, however, the lack of the puzzles which introduced much of what was to come, including some foreshadowing elements of the later storyline, oversimplifies to a point of literally dumbing down the original intent (this was almost certainly due to lack of time to complete...they only worked on DQ7 3DS for 3~4 months, compared to DQ6, which is less than 1/10th the actual size in terms of general content, having 10~11 months...it took them that long to rewrite the PSX code, then revise the dev kit and tweak it to maximize the 3DS, and likely a very strict development period/cost).
Shard finding in the original was a hassle, which the 3DS fixes with multiple avenues to pinpoint, including the game map on the lower screen.
3DS lack of Padfoot, and no Vanish-like spell makes it very difficult to navigate dungeons without getting into constant battles (PSX battle counts per dungeon crawl are considerably lower). Combine this with a +50% EXP rate, and a much faster human class growth rate, and you've got a recipe for being overpowered fast. The adjustments to enemies in the 3DS do not account for any of these changes, rendering any challenge virtually impossible.
It might be very streamlined, but several sections in the original, especially concerning Dune/Al-Balad, are confusing for a lot of players.
The first post-game dungeon requires finding a special shard in a well during the ending sequence, in Estard castle, which is EASILY overlooked, and in the original PSX version, that shard had to be taken underground in Estard, and placed in this lone chest on a ledge. It's a fairly long ending sequence, and in the PSX in general, a fairly large final dungeon with puzzle rooms (good puzzles, but one of them takes awhile to get through as you touch certain parts of the wall that automatically carry the party to particular positions, and if you take or accidentally touch the wrong one, that can take awhile to get back to the start, and choose the right path again). At least the 3DS version just requires picking up the Shard/Fragment.
No explanation for the interplay of functions, such as which special weapon attributes work with what. There's a LOT, and a LOT of surprising function exchange. As well with damage buffs. Given the sheer volume of skills, it's hard to figure out for most players, and the game offers no guidance or even awareness this is so. Though this is DQ in general, and only since DQ9 have we seen any attempt to address this, and it's through quests...unfortunately a lot of people do not pay attention to these quests and fail to grasp the nature and purpose of the gameplay teaching quests...most of which is to encourage experimentation as they clearly indicate this is just ONE option available of many. DQ's since 6 have a LOT of layers of gameplay stacking, surprising amounts, especially in 7 and 9, that almost no player, even major DQ fans, are even aware of (thus people like me are needed, lol, and it seems a common thing in Japan to unlock abilities).
Less an issue in the original game, more in the 3DS. The need for a Zoom function in the past, and carry-over of Zoom places into the present. The PSX original has a world map (in the 3DS, the map used for vehicles) that is about 1/4 the size of the 3DS map in scale. However, the actual area map in the 3DS where characters run, is about 500x larger than in the original game. Even accounting for running speed, it takes MUCH longer to get from place to place. So without Padfoot, without Vanish to cut down on enemy spawns in the past, and with the one shoes that boost running speed only boosting it by about 20%, the lack of instant Zoom really exacerbates the game's requirement of returning to old haunts a second time in the Present. Not that this is a bad thing to have that return, as you'd clearly have new items to find, but it takes so long each time, after each repeat, that it becomes a bit tiresome for most. I love it, but if I'm in a hurry, it's not fun, if I'm able to take my time, I thoroughly enjoy it. Doesn't help that the map layout is overly simplistic, unlike DQ8, and each island spawns on its own, so resource management is very inefficient (they load all battle data along with the islands in 7, in 8, they flush and reset them in RAM...and this would be a non-issue if they patched the New 3DS to make use of the extra RAM and processing power for both games, nevermind the extra buttons).
A lack of purpose in some present day towns. Some have a bit of story or some fun mini-game (or for some, an annoying simple mini-game that leads to maybe something useful, like the Big Book of Beasts). Would have been nice to have a scenario like in DQ6's first lower-world town, such as the temporary Kidnapping event. Or a monster attack on some town (like after the Dig Site opens up, there should have been some towns that needed help for some extra items).
3DS extras, the tablet creation system, is rushed and needs a lot of work. Would be nice to have stuff like upgrade stones won from battle, and boss level factors into what stones etc. Would be a nice way to include the style forge -> alchemy pot -> DQ11's forge into DQ7, and give a grander purpose to the tablet system. As well as expanding on boss powers and abilities (and base monster abilities).
No tying of wisdom to magical damage/healing. Would have been nice to see that addition from DQ8 brought into DQ7 and 6, as magic is just not up to snuff in those games, especially middle and late game.
...so many, if I recall the original list I had in my head, I'll write up some more.
It's a great overall game, but a very flawed game. Quite enjoyable though, and the vignettes especially, the way they're written and the details and variety of storylines makes for a very intriguing and for me, a very engaging emotional ride. Even now I find myself tearing up at a few lines here and there (like Sharkeye's lines about his son).