Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King…just scrunched down for the Nintendo DS. There, I said it. Y’all were thinking it. But I put it to e-paper.
At least, that’s my first impression of the game. I’ve not gotten very far, but the music, the graphics, the battle system, the character models, the church menu, the story progression, the towns, the skill trees, the everything–it’s right there with DQVIII. That’s not a slight. I love and loved DQVIII despite never beating it; I got the game back in late 2005 shortly after it released. I had just moved out of my parents’ house to an apartment in North Jersey for my first post-college job. Since money was tight then, I decided not to get cable/Internet for the first three months. Suffice to say, I saved some money and read a lot of books and played my PlayStation 2 every chance I could. DQVIII helped with this.
A massive world, lush colors and graphics, a steep learning curve, lots to do and see, character designs from Dragon Ball mastermind Akira Toriyama, a demo for the much-wanted-at-the-time Final Fantasy XII—DQVIII had it all! And it kept me good and busy.
This all seems to be said-able about DQIX. Everything you could basically do in the previous game, you can do here, just on a smaller screen. In fact, customization is even more developed on the Nintendo DS, with a slew of clothing and weapons to pick from, all of which do affect the way your character looks and fights.
The story so far goes that you’re a Celestian (guardian angel) tasked with protecting humans down below on Earth wherever. Something goes terribly wrong though and you’re cast down with the mortals, stripped of your wings and angelic power. Then you meet some people and get caught up in their quests as you try to journey your way back sky-high. Very religious, even more so than DQVIII was, and some of the writing is too archaic at times, dancing on the edge of ridiculously unreadable. The most I’ve really done at this point is built a team–minstrel, thief, spellcaster, healer–and grinded to get them closer to my main character’s level. Then we defeated a knight terrorizing a local kingdom. Haven’t got to try multiplayer/tag mode yet, but hopefully soon because my sister is also playing DQIX though most likely very far ahead because, when it comes to traditional, turn-based RPGs, she’s a bit of a nut. Gotta catch up. Gotta find time for the slime.