Tag Archives: Dragon Fantasy

The good, the bad, and the grind of Dragon Fantasy (Book 1)


So, I beat Dragon Fantasy (Book 1) recently, as well as earned all of its Trophies, which makes it the first game on my long list of mostly untouched PlayStation 3 games to have a shiny 100% next to its name. No Platinum Trophy though, but that’s okay. Maybe I’ll get my first Platinum somewhere else, like say Ni no Kuni or Grand Theft Auto V. ::runs off laughing maniacally::

Anyways–it’s pretty good. As I mentioned before, Dragon Fantasy (Book 1) really is an old-school JRPG with a few modern conventions tossed in for good measure. Now, I would not say I have true professional gamer experience with the classic RPGs of yesteryear, though I’ve dabbled in the early Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy games enough to know what they are about and how they helped shape the roleplaying genre as a whole: straightforward plot, tough fights, and a whole lot of grinding. Muteki Corporation’s celebration of all this sticks to its guns….er, swords, and it’s kind of a mix of good and bad, though I was still able to find a lot of enjoyment in this 16-bit fantasy realm of nostalgia.

Dragon Fantasy (Book 1) is basically split up into three chapters (and an intermission), which can be played in any order, though I went with linear; any other way felt wrong.

Chapter 1 focuses on the character Ogden, who is a washed-up former hero trying to get back into the business of saving the world from great evil. You’ll travel solo across the map looking for magical pieces of armor. I found this chapter to be the longest and most dull in terms of gameplay, and since you only have one member in your party, fights are pretty tough and it takes a while before Ogden has the upper hand. Expect to use a lot of Herbs.

Chapter 2 is all about Prince Anders, brother of Prince Marlon, who one saw kidnapped at the beginning of Ogden’s adventure. Well, he wasn’t kidnapped exactly, and you’ll eventually see Anders discovering an important artifact. This chapter is extremely short compared to Ogden’s, probably made easier by the fact that you have a bigger party for those never-ending random battles. I actually missed two Trophies related to this chapter and had to pop back to it for twenty minutes or so.

Chapter 3 introduces two new characters to the journey: Jerald and Ramona, a thief and his niece. They are trying to escape the eastern desert empire of Sandheim, but first need to save up enough money for passports. After some grinding and stealing and plot twists, the two of them end up robbing a ship that the heroes from the first two chapters are using, thus bringing everybody together for, what I assume is, further adventures in Dragon Fantasy (Book 2).

Lastly, there’s a whole intermission chapter devoted to praising Minecraft and its creator Notch. It’s totally throwaway though the monster-recruiting ability is a nice change of pace, and I found it to be a bit overly gushing, and heck, I like Minecraft. You can skip it, unless you want all them Trophies, like I did.

My favorite thing about Dragon Fantasy (Book 1), besides its punny names and comedic writing, is how you can push a button to speed the game up. I’m no mathematician, but it felt like maybe three times as fast. It helps make the grind less of a, well, grind, but you still have to pay a little attention as you just can’t button-mash your way to higher levels here as your attacks miss often and one needs to constantly before of how much HP the characters have left. However, after a bit, even with the game on ultra-speed, the music and random battles, which happen just about every three to four steps, can become grating. Mostly because, with time sped up, you will hear the first few notes of the overworld map, then the first few notes of battle music, then the first few notes of battle victory music, and then back to the overworld, only to rinse, lather, repeat for all eternity. That said, I found myself playing the remainder of chapter 2 and chapter 3 (and that intermission) on mute, listening to a podcast or a playlist.

I’m not quite ready to move on directly to the SNES-inspired Dragon Fantasy (Book 2), but when I get that itch for some classic RPGing, warts and all, I know where to look.

2013 Game Review Haiku, #31 – Dragon Fantasy (Book 1)

2013 games completed dragon-fantasy-book 1

Old-school roleplaying
With a button to speed up
That vital grinding

These little haikus proved to be quite popular in 2012, so I’m gonna keep them going for another year. Or until I get bored with them. Whatever comes first. If you want to read more words about these games that I’m beating, just search around on Grinding Down. I’m sure I’ve talked about them here or there at some point. Anyways, enjoy my videogamey take on Japanese poetry.

Dragon Fantasy (Book 1) grinds just like the old days

Dragon Fantasy Book 1 impressions

The open honest truth is I never really played much of the old Dragon Quest games. Or even the early Final Fantasies, for that matter. Well, not until pretty recently. It does not–and did not–stem from genre disinterest, but rather wrong place and time; as a young gamer-boy living in the historic towne of Smithville, New Jersey, I was not bathing in countless games as I am now as an adult in this seemingly supersaturated industry. Please note that I’m not actually bathing at this very moment–I’m typing a blog post.

Anyways, this meant that when I got my single and sole cartridge for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, I played it for hours on end, over and over, and I missed out on Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger and so on. There was only so much I could digest, and there are actually days where I yearn for being in that kind of protective, limiting bubble. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely knowledge-less about the JRPGs of yesteryear and can’t appreciate them for what they did then and there. I mean, c’mon. Have some faith. I write on a blog called Grinding Down for goodness sake.

Dragon Fantasy (Book 1) is a new JRPG designed by The Muteki Corporation in the style of those old RPGs for the NES, like Dragon Quest. It has simple graphics, random encounters, turn-based battles, and a straightforward plot involving a Dark Knight, castles, and a general evilness about. It’s split into three chapters and an intermission thingy, but so far, I’m still on chapter one, which focuses on Ogden,  a washed-up former hero getting back into the business of saving the world. Pretty typical stuff, but that’s the point here. Heck, you can even forgo slightly enhanced graphics and music for an 8-bit wash, which I checked out, but I actually prefer the former even if it doesn’t up the scales all that much.

I’m quite enjoying Dragon Fantasy (Book 1) so far, only a couple of hours into the first chapter. It’s got charm out the wazoo and some pretty amusing writing, coupled with a Wedge/Biggs reference from the word go. Heck, even grinding isn’t so bad, and yes, you’ll have to grind to progress, mostly because Ogden is alone for the battles in his chapter, needing to play both roles of fighter and healer. Basically, the pattern so far has been like this: grind a level or two, buy all the available weapons and armor, move on to the next town/cave area, and repeat. I do wish you could see how much XP you needed to earn for the next level increase, but alas, no. You can enhance the game’s movement speed up by like four or six times (I’m no mathematician) by pushing the Select button, which helps with the button-mashing grinding aspect, but is a bit too zippy when in a town or dungeon. However, I urge everyone to slow down when it comes to fighting a new monster type, as the writing for each monster is different and gleefully written, like in Dragon Quest IX and EarthBound. Not many puns so far, but I definitely chuckled at all of Mrs. Rock Monster’s descriptions.

Oh, and looks like Dragon Fantasy (Book 2) comes out…tomorrow! What timing. We’ll see how long it takes me to get through the first game though. These types of JRPG can go on for a bit, and no matter how endearing and fast-paced the battles are, one can only grind for so long before it begins to feel unrewarding, especially if there isn’t anything to spend that gold on after robbing every store clean for its goods.