It may initially seem like an odd move for the latest Dragon Quest RPG to appear on the DS but I think it’s a good thing. Because they take an age to play I don’t actually feel like I’m wasting my time when playing it on the move. In this game you play as a guardian angel called a Celestrian who, thanks to a mishap at the beginning of the game, is thrown down to earth minus wings and a halo. You then gather a team and explore the land and do all the usual role-playing stuff you’d expect from a classic turn-based combat RPG.
You’ll find the controls and battles very pedestrian but I don’t mind this as it reminded me of the more simple days of managing your characters’ items, abilities and health as you take it in turns to fight and make your way through the forests and dungeons of the land. Item management could be streamlined a little more as you do have to scroll through lots of menus to equip armour and weapons and give items to your party but it’s certainly not something that breaks the game.
New to Dragon Quest is multiplayer support where up to three friends can jump into your game world and explore separately and then fight with you if you need their help. If playing alone you can choose players to help you at the inn or even create your own. Unfortunately they don’t have any personality and are just there to give you an edge in battle. Luckily there are plenty of other characters to interact with who you will grow to love. In fact, the whole world looks great on the DS and it’s nice to see the light feel of the series has transferred well to the handheld.
As you’d expect there is no voice acting but the music and sound effects do more than a good job of bringing the game to life and lifting the experience to a highly enjoyable RPG.
If you want something new from your RPG experience then this latest Dragon Quest game isn’t for you. However, if you want to return to the good old days of role-playing then this will keep you amused for many hours. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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