Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation Review: The best of the Zenithian Trilogy

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation Review: The best of the Zenithian Trilogy

Embark on a journey through the fantastical realms of Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation, where turn-based combat meets captivating storytelling and intricate character progression. In this review, we delve into the depths of a game that stays true to the series' traditional roots while introducing innovative elements that elevate the RPG experience. With a solid battle system that boasts intuitive mechanics and seamless party-switching capabilities, players are drawn into exhilarating encounters that demand strategic prowess. However, it's the narrative that truly shines, weaving together vignettes across three distinct worlds, each brimming with its own set of challenges and mysteries. Accompanied by a soundtrack that sets the tone for adventure and pixel-perfect visuals that evoke a sense of nostalgia, Dragon Quest VI enchants players with its charm and depth. Join us as we explore the intricacies of character customization, from mastering basic jobs to unlocking advanced vocations, in a system that sets a new standard for the genre. Despite its minor shortcomings in sidequests and character development, Dragon Quest VI earns its place as a near-masterpiece of RPG excellence, offering an enchanting and unforgettable journey for fans of the series and newcomers alike. So, ready your swords and spells as we venture forth into a world of revelation and wonder.

Battle System - 8

This game has the traditional, solid turn-based gameplay of the other Dragon Quest games, with great AI and mid-battle party-switching capabilities. While the battle system wasn't going to blow my mind with how fun it was, this system slaps just as hard as it does in previous and later entries in the series. Ultimately, this is a simple battle system, but not a phenomenal RPG battle system that will go down in history.

Story - 7.5

While the story doesn't tell an expansive, chapter-based story like Dragon Quest IV or as emotional of a story as Dragon Quest V, this game does a fantastic job of telling vignettes that involve seeing the story through three different worlds. This elevates the simple save-the-world story of many Dragon Quest games to become something bigger, more complex, and more intriguing. This is the first Dragon Quest game that is centered around visiting different towns and helping them out with their problems, a formula I really enjoy, as it builds off the game's incredible prologue masterfully, in which it introduces the Dread Fiends that terrorize the world. You have to save all the towns from their evil entourage. Ultimately, with a fantastic world-switching premise that leads to a variety of cool scenarios, this game has a story that will consistently keep the player on their toes.

Music - 8.5

This soundtrack is fantastic, and I'd argue it is as good as the soundtrack in its predecessor (though Dragon Quest IV still has my favorite soundtrack of the Zenithian Trilogy). This game has my favorite world map, transportation, and ocean themes in the series, and its battle and dungeon themes are not too shabby, either! I can remember tons of fantastic songs from this game—Dragon Quest VI has a phenomenal soundtrack across the board.

Characters - 4

I found the main characters to be much less distinct, engaging, and personal in Dragon Quest VI compared to the other games in the trilogy, although they were still solid. I also really liked some of the side characters, such as Captain Blade, Madame Luca, and the King of Somnia. However, as a whole, the characters in the fourth title (especially the villain) were much more memorable, and the characters in the fifth had way more depth and emotion to them, making the characters in this game feel incredibly mediocre by comparison.

Art & Graphics - 9.5

This art style continues to look stunning to this day, with beautiful pixel sprites overlaying fun, three-dimensional backgrounds. It is one of the most charming art styles I've seen, and I doubt I'll find something truly as charming for a while, though I can see there being some competition with the eventual next installment in the Paper Mario franchise.

Sidequests - 7

This game is pretty light on fun sidequests, with finding hidden treasures, a bonus dungeon, and a couple of optional characters the bulk of it. None of it is offensive, per se, but none of these sidequests particularly stand out; therefore, a mediocre score is deserved.

Quality of Life - 9.5

The only nitpick I have with this game is that jobs can only be changed at Alltrades Abbey, which is pretty annoying because you'll have to Zoom between the two worlds often upon a couple of level-ups. Also, there are a huge number of late-game or post-game characters in this game, giving them almost no time to level up and unlock cool Vocation abilities. In the end, while this game is mildly frustrating, it didn't take me out of the game.

Locations - 8

After the much more linear experience that was Dragon Quest V, this title rarely tells you where to go. This might sound frustrating on paper, but this leads to the true adventure that comes with exploring a fun and beautiful world! From a town that has no rules to an underwater town full of sorcerers; from a city that never sleeps to the alternate version of that city that always sleeps; from a fishing village with a mermaid legend and a tale of a bitter old man, to a city isolated from the rest of the world; from a village that gave up on all their dreams to a village where everyone achieved their dreams, the towns in this game are fantastic, fun, and incredibly memorable.

Customization System - 9

My favorite part of this game would have to be the incredible progression system: the Vocation system. This game has a rather long, intriguing, and story-heavy prologue that hooked me enough to make up for the initially boring gameplay. However, the initial slowness was a blessing in disguise because, after the long prologue, a fantastic job system appears out of nowhere in all its glory. There are four types of jobs in this game: basic jobs, intermediate jobs, advanced jobs, and bonus jobs. The basic jobs include the Warrior, Martial Artist, Priest, Wizard, Merchant, Thief, Gadabout, Dancer, and Monster Master. The Warrior solely focuses on dishing out solid, single-target physical damage; the Martial Artist focuses on a variety of physical skills that dish out huge damage to various targets; the Priest, a healing mage and support character; the Wizard, an offensive spellcaster that can dish out heaps of damage; the Merchant, a job that provides useful field abilities and bonus Gold after battle; the Thief, which acts very quickly and can steal items automatically upon slaying an enemy; the Gadabout, an awful joke job that is unfortunately necessary for unlocking ga great intermediate job; the Dancer, a job that specializes in belittling enemies with various status effects and acting as a swift, backup attacker that can finish off low health enemies; and the Monster Master, which utilizes various breath attacks, damaging abilities, and status effects synonymous with the game's cast of enemies. The intermediate jobs are then unlocked after mastering basic jobs! There's the Armamentalist, a hybrid between the Warrior and Wizard that is proficient in physical attacks and elemancy, sometimes mixing the two with elemental-infused physical attacks. There's the Paladin, a hybrid of the Preist and Martial Artist that focuses on damage and supporting allies. There's the Gladiator, a hybrid of the Warrior and Martial Artist vocations, making for the ultimate physical attacker. There's the Sage, a hybrid of the Priest and Wizard who learns all the best magic spells. There's the Luminary, a hybrid of the Dancer and Gadabout that boasts some of the best support skills in the game. There's the Ranger, a hybrid between the Thief, Monster Master, and Merchant, and it learns random field skills, enemy skills, and abilities that nullify physical attacks and breath attacks. All of these jobs also provide permanent stat boosts upon mastering them, incentivizing leveling them up, even after you've found a winning strategy. The singular advanced job, the Hero, requires the master of the four intermediate jobs: Gladiator, Sage, Ranger, and Luminary (or, for the main character, only one of the aforementioned four). The Hero has incredibly powerful lightning magic, naturally recovers a substantial amount of health at the end of each turn, dishes out huge group-wide physical damage, and can restore themselves to full health for 0 MP with the Meditation ability. There are also two bonus Vocations: Dragon, a Vocation with all the most powerful breath attacks, and the Liquid Metal Slime, a weak vocation that can be invested in to be incredibly powerful, having some of the best stats and magic damage in the game. And the best part of this incredible system? You lose none of your abilities upon changing classes. The Vocation system makes for a job system so far ahead of any of its contemporaries and, in my eyes, puts Final Fantasy V to utter shame. It also makes logical sense, as, in real life, you wouldn't forget how to do math because you read a book after finishing your homework, so why forget how to use magic when wielding a sword? But I digress. Thank you for listening to my ranty Ted Talk.

The Verdict

Fun Factor: 8
Overall Score: 79%
Letter Rating: A

While many claim this entry is the worst entry in the Zenithian Trilogy, I believe quite the contrary. This game combined the exploration and worldbuilding I loved about the fourth entry. On top of that, this game boasted a deep progression system and an intriguing story, both of which rival the progression and story of the fifth entry. While it was lacking in the emotional resonance of the fifth game and the captivating villain of the fourth game, I firmly believe this is a fantastic and overhated RPG in the Dragon Quest series. I truly believe this game should be regarded at least as well- as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV-VI, and Live A Live, as this game is a certified, fun-and-charming near-masterpiece of an experience.

Primary Version: Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (iOS)