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Restlessknight14

Countless beginnings! Everguiding Advice!

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Hey, everyone! So with anticipation of the next mainline DQ game heading towards the west, a increasing number of newcomers are slowly becoming more interested in the series. If DQ XI does well, it is possible that a good number of newcomers from DQ XI will want to explore other games in the series. 

So with that being said:

*What DQ games would you, as the experienced fan of the series, recommend a newcomer to start with? 

I know that this topic has technically been covered before, but i am going to add a bit of a twist to this topic:

* What DQ games would you recommend against for a newcomer of the series, and what are your reasons for it? :lrsmile:

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Since we’re talking about new players, my list is based off readily available games and I excluded mobile ports.

Do start with:

IV: In my opinion, it is the quintessential Dragon Quest game. It has everything you’d expect from the franchise, all of the hallmarks, presented in the typical fashion. Yes, there is the chapter gimmick to make it stand out, but it becomes a non-entity after about 10 hours of a 40 hour game, after which it turns into the standard Dragon Quest game you’d expect.

V: Arguably the best from a story perspective, it offers a lot of variation from the norm, while still making you feel like you’re playing a Dragon Quest game. It’s also slightly below average length, but makes up for it with replayability thanks to the many different brides you get to pick from.

VIII: Due to being on the PS2, with its gorgeous graphics, orchestral soundtrack, and voice acting, it’s currently the game that gives off the most “grand, sweeping epic” vibes. Definitely too big an impression to be giving as an entry point. But after playing a few games, you can appreciate what VIII adds to franchise.

If a new person wanted to play the 3DS version, I’d still stick it in this spot. The music is less amazing, and the graphics and menus aren’t as lush, but a lot was added into it and it still retains English voice acting, helping to balance it out. Heck, for awhile we were discussing which game was better because of what was taken out and added between them.

IX: A bit of an odd duck. It’s not liked by a lot of members of the fan base, but just as many fans love it. There’s a lot of additional stuff you don’t see in Dragon Quest games. Tons of side quests, downloadable stuff, grottos, etc. You could just play to the end and have a save file with 35 hours, or try to do everything and have over 200 hours under your belt. And determining which person you’ll end up being is up to you. Plus, a lot of the good extra stuff is no longer available so some stuff is gone now, making it tough to recommend to a new player.

VII: Incredibly long compared to all the other games mentioned. Only a fan who’s enjoyed other games would want to stick it out for as long as the game demands. It’s also pretty depressing at some points, and while that does help show the various modes a Dragon Quest game is capable of, it is outside the norm to shift from tone to tone and might be too much of a downer for new players.

...in that order. The worst thing you can do when introducing people to something is to tell them to play/watch/read the best one first. You should organize by accessiblity and expectations going forward and let them decide what they liked the most. And that’s why...

 

Don’t start with:

Any spin-offs: Just like any game or anime, they’re meant to be enjoyed as an aside, not as a way to get the full experience of a mainline game. You appreciate them more having played the regular games.

VI: My personal bias aside, it lacks a cast of characters that are particularly beloved, even if it does have the franchise’s best girl in it, the two world’s gimmick makes the vague directions even more confusing, leaving you wondering what to do next, the story is probably the worst the franchise has ever offered, and just generally leaves you feeling lost without any tether (characters you want to keep playing with, a world you want to discover more of) keeping you going.

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I would say it depends on the gamer's preference. But the first recommendation that comes to mind is DQ VIII. It is really easy to get into and captivating. A very good lure into the series.

I probably wouldn't recommend VI or VII to anyone new to the series. They would probably be seen as far too tedious for those new to the series.

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I'd recommend starting with IV or VIII. IV is a very simple but fun DQ - it has everything a good DQ needs, without anything too unique mixed in. It'll give new players a chance to know exactly how the series works, without anything thrown in that they might be expecting in another entry, like V and the focus on catching monsters, or VII and its shard searching.

VIII is also really solid, and it's an easy recommendation because even people who really want great graphics or voice acting are covered. VIII has a great story, fun characters, a big world, and a presentation that hasn't yet been matched in another DQ (though XI could do it!)

 

As for what not to start with... Dragon Quest VII is my favorite DQ. It's one of my favorite games ever. I really enjoy it! 

Do not start with VII. I think VII is easily the worst one to start with. It takes a loooooong time to get going, is the longest DQ by far, and has a lot of elements that are annoying. The remake fixes many elements, but the point still stands. I personally like it, as do many others, but I feel it's best to play it after you've played at least one other DQ, so you know you'll like the kind of stuff you're getting into. Someone who's never played DQ before might not like how it plays or something, and now they're playing the longest one. Not that it's impossible to play it first and love it, but IV and VIII are safer bets that are universally well-liked.

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I'd tell them to start with IV.

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Avoid DQVI. The hero's hair is just... oh wait, these are people who've experienced XI's hair.

*slowly backs out of this topic*

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Recommendations:

* You can pick up nearly anything between IV and VIII and have a satisfying story, but the best ones are undoubtedly VIII and V. These two have the best stories of any Quest, are easy to engage with, and have currents of romance in them if you're into that sort of thing.
* IV is also a solid, entertaining pick, but it is a touch dated and the story's not quite as large.
* IX, which is my personal favorite, but is unfortunately past its expiration date. While the main game and story holds up just fine, most of the content from the tremendous post-game was dependent on Wifi support which is now lost. It is, however, an excellent balance between old-school questing from the first era (I-III) and the stories of the second era (IV-VIII).

Save for Later:

* The original trilogy. With the exception of III, these games are more an entertaining history lesson than a fully engaging game by today's standards. III is a great game, but you won't get the full impact of it without being familiar with I and II. Save yourself for a grander time.
* VI, which occupied a unique spot in thr franchise for being so dar predictable. EDIT: Let's try that again now that I'm conscious. VI is a fun game, but it tends to range a little too open. If there was ever a DQ game that you might lose your way in, this would be it.
* VII, which people keep telling me exists, but I'm skeptical and demand more proof than hearsay. They say it's an immensely long game, which I think would be a certainly rewarding experience, but I'm a freak and we all know it.

Edited by JaybirdC

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I’m surprised you’re all going with games you think are the best or most impressive. Yes, it leaves a strong impression but it’s not the most indicative of what to expect. You should never start with the best possible thing when recommending stuff to people.

Every Persona game before 3, every Elder Scrolls before Skyrim, Far Cry before 3, they’re all totally ignored because they don’t match the “big” games.

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I was gonna write a more serious reply, and then I thought:

1) Everybody in this thread who's recommended anything recommends either IV or VIII, which are literally in your top three. Why are you even picking this fight?

2) I don't think it's particularly fair to criticize others for recommending Best Ofs when you describe IV with words like "quintessential".

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59 minutes ago, JaybirdC said:

I was gonna write a more serious reply, and then I thought:

1) Everybody in this thread who's recommended anything recommends either IV or VIII, which are literally in your top three. Why are you even picking this fight?

2) I don't think it's particularly fair to criticize others for recommending Best Ofs when you describe IV with words like "quintessential".

I’m curious what a more serious reply then that would be.

I wouldn’t really call it “picking a fight,” but I said it mostly in reference to VIII, which I noticed I forgot to mention in my post so that’s my fault.

I used the word “quintessential” because it is the most standard game, everything you’d expect to see is there.

Regardless, I said it was weird to pick games you think is “the best” as an entry point, which I wasn’t referring to either IV or VIII as.

Edited by eal

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While I get the idea of not making the perfect the enemy of the good, or even of avoiding "it's all downhill from here", I'm coming from the perspective of someone who started with VIII and that quite pointedly didn't ruin the franchise for me.

I even understand the desire to start with something standard to give a general flavor of the series, it's just that I don't think there particularly is a standard as clear as there might be.

To explain, I've mentioned maybe once or twice that DQ history occurs in "eras", distinct phases of kinds of game within the general JRPG genre. There's the first era, the campaign-based RPG lites of the original trilogy; the second era of self-contained stories and set casts from IV to VIII; the third era of epic multiplayer DQ, IX and, what, a decade, now? of X; and now this new throwback era that XI is ushering in. (These were actually surprisingly easy to categorize because DQ uses distinctly different preludes to the main theme for each of these eras, so I have to assume SQEX at least implicitly recognizes the same idea).

So, I agree that IV is typical, but not of the franchise as a whole. The two games it's most alike, with its set party structure of strangers finding common cause and systematically unfolding story, are VI and VIII, both of which come from the same era. IV's quite distinct in structure and adventure style from games like III, IX, V, and probably VII (which is apparently the franchise's odd duck). It would be giving false expectations to describe IV as some kind of standard flavor.

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But that line of thinking is something a person whose played a bunch of Dragon Quest games would think. You need to approach recommendations from the position of someone who is fresh to or you're trying to get into a franchise. IV is a middle ground. I-III are charming yet underwhelming games to play once you've played any game after them, VIII is too grandiose in terms of the series as a whole, VII is too long, the features in V are uncommon to the series, and IX is a totally different animal entirely. IV has a touch of everything you might expect in every game. The traditional gameplay of I-III, the gimmicky story structure of V-VII, the charming and memorable party members and developed villain of VIII, all rolled into one package in a way that does leaves you satisfied but doesn't utterly exceed your expectations, souring your ability to enjoy games that you determine don't measure up.

I'm nobody's boss, I don't care what people decide to recommend, but since this is a discussion on getting people into something new, I decided to give my two cents on how I see recommending new things to new people.

Plus, I just like having conversations here with people and wanted to keep the conversation going by posing a question instead of keeping it in my head for fear people might get mad for asking it.

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I think it's safe to say both lines of thought come from people familiar with the franchise as a whole -- you're recommending IV because of how similar it is to other games, after all.

I actually wanted to recommend IX first on similar grounds, because it balances the customizable party from III with the storytelling of IV-VIII; I didn't because it's incomplete without the DLC and that takes a lot more time and effort from a player to compensate for.

No need to get defensive. I don't think it's particularly weird to recommend Best Ofs to someone looking to get into a series; again, I started with VIII (the Shonen Jump demo disc, even) and that didn't particularly ruin anything for me; I recommend it primarily because I happen to think it's an especially good game and it got me interested in the series.

Technically, I suppose I would recommend catering to the interests of the person in question; for people interested in story I'd first recommend V or VIII, like I'd recommend IX for someone who liked combat or customization, or even VI for exploration.

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I started out the same way you did, the Shonen Jump demo disc (#$*!, I was looking at the magazine it came out just a few days ago), and VIII definitely gives a different impression. Like I said above, plenty of people have abandoned older titles of classic series because they were too outdated for them. Part of VIII’s appeal is what a leap it was from older games, so it goes against the spirit of it, in a small way, to go backwards.

Also, it’s easy to get defensive when you say I’m picking a fight and telling me it’s not fair to criticize other choices.

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I can see your point, but I don't think it's quite that risky. Again, I don't think IV is quite as typical of the franchise, given how many non-standards there are. It makes for a decent lightweight DQ, though.

Alright, my bad. It seemed like you were, but that was my mistake -- I was thrown by the "you should never". I'm sorry.

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I mean, I can see how you’d take my tone the wrong way, that’s how like 50% of my real life text arguments start. Also, I forgot to throw in a key detail that I mentioned above so there was some confusion. So I’m sorry as well.

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