I picked up a little game called Dragon Quest V for the DS last week, and I'd like to say...
This is the best DQ I've played! I've played I, II, III, VII, VIII and IX to completion, and this is definitely my favourite one. Granted, I haven't beat the game yet (I'm just about to fight the final boss), and nothing short of the cartridge leaping out of its slot, spouting legs and kicking me in the balls could ruin my enjoyment of this. The monster taming mechanic is one of the coolest things I've seen in any traditional JRPG, and is something I hope to see more of in the series' future. It effectively allows for all types of combinations of party, with an infinite number of characters to level up (grinding is, oddly enough, my favourite part of JRPGs). The story is way more powerful (imo) than the more lighthearted ones in DQVIII and DQIX, which makes the game, in my experience, far more gripping. I feel compelled to avenge Pankraz and Mada, and kill Nimzo far more so than defeating Corvus or Orgodemir. The addition of the marriage options and the twins gives the game a more personal feeling, and the idea of leading my wife and two kids into hell to slay the devil is a really cool one. Just simple things like naming the kids, and the kids having different hair colours depending on what wife I picked (I picked Debora, and her party chats have been awesome) really helped me to feel a connection to this game, which was something I felt was somewhat lacking in VII, which was the last game I played.
The game found new ways to surprise me at every turn. I was shocked by the death of Pankraz and the selling of the hero into slavery, things I previously thought would be too brutal to include in a Dragon Quest game. I was shocked again when the hero's wife was kidnapped just as the kids were born, and again when they were turned to stone, as I naively thought they might finally give the hero a break. The appearance of Bjorn was really cool too, and seeing him burst out of his prison and advance towards you across the sea was probably one of the most memorable moments I've had in a Dragon Quest game. The modes of transport were great too. I thought the magic carpet would be the final one, so I was surprised to see you could fly an entire castle, and again when you flew the Zenith Dragon (Dr.Agon!).
The death of Pankraz really aided my connection to this game later on, and I took great delight in slaying Kon, Slon and Ladja, particularly after their taunting. I felt a hatred for Ladja that I've never felt for a villain in a JRPG, and the twist of Nimzo murdering Mada makes me want to destroy him too.
Are the other games in the Zenithian Trilogy as strong as this one? I was thinking about ordering DQIV and DQVI for the DS too, not only to finish off the main series (I would have gotten around to doing that anyway), but to see if they can stand up to DQV, seeing as I've seen lots of people on this site swearing by IV. Regardless, I'm somewhat doubtful that any other DQ game (or perhaps any other JRPG for that matter?) can stand up to this masterpiece. If I were to assign a numerical value to my enjoyment of this game, it'd be sure to get 10/10.