Dragon Warrior VII, known in Japan as is a Japanese console role-playing game developed by Heartbeat and published by Enix for the PlayStation in . It was released in North America in under the title Dragon Warrior VII.
Dragon Quest VII is the seventh installment of the popular Dragon Quest series of role playing games, and is the successor to 's Dragon Quest VI for the Super Famicom. An immediate success upon release, Dragon Warrior VII's sales have totalled 4.06 million, making it the best-selling PlayStation game in Japan as of April 6, 2001, and is a Square Enix Ultimate Hits title. It was the first regular Dragon Quest title to be released outside of Asia since the release of Dragon Warrior IV in North America in , and the last Dragon Quest title to be released in North America with the Dragon Warrior name. In 2003, Square Enix registered the Dragon Quest trademark in the U.S., with the intent to retire the Dragon Warrior name.
The game was produced by Yuji Horii, who has presided over the Dragon Quest series since its inception. Artwork and character designs were once again provided by Akira Toriyama, the artist responsible for all previous Dragon Quest games, and famous mangaka whose creations include Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump.
Dragon Quest VII
is best known for its huge size. Without completing the game's side quests, a single game of Dragon Quest VII
can take 100 hours or more. In terms of gameplay, not much has changed from previous installments: battles are still fought in turn-based
mode from a first person perspective. Although non-battle sequences are rendered in 3D, battles themselves are still portrayed two dimensionally.
The ability to talk with the party characters in and outside of battles was added to this game. They offer advice about battle strategies and plot points, or simply comment on how they feel at a given moment.
Dragon Quest VII uses a class system for learning abilities, similar to that of Dragon Quest VI. Some available classes include Warrior, Fighter, Cleric, Mage, Bard, Dancer, Jester, Thief, Teen Idol, Pirate, Ranger, Dragoon, Paladin, Summoner, God Hand and Hero, some of which are unlocked by mastering other classes. The game also includes 34 monster classes, which can be unlocked by using the appropriate monster heart or mastering pre-requisite monster classes.
In-game, there are four ways and means of locomotion: feet, boat, magic carpet, and skystone. Each of these can move across different terrain.
The main flow of the game is different than the other Dragon Quest games; instead of exploring one large world, the party goes to separate continents. The world map is created throughout the game by the player discovering shards of various islands that have been lost. After solving whatever problems plague the island, the party then travels back to Estard, the beginning island. From there, they can travel via boat, carpet, or skystone to the continent they just saved. These saved continents appear on the main map, although the originals can be visited through the ruins.
Like most of the other Dragon Quest
games, this game has several mini-games to participate in. The Immigrant Town, similar to the one in Dragon Warrior III
, lets the player recruit people from various towns. They then live in the town, which changes depending on the type of people living there (e.g. several merchants will bring more stores to the town). A prominent feature in most Dragon Quest games is the casino. Poker, slot machines, and luck panel can all be played in Dragon Warrior VII
. The Ranking Association allows the player to compete for the highest stats, like the Beauty Competition from Dragon Quest VI
. The player can also catch monsters, although they are only displayed on the Monster Park, unlike in Dragon Warrior Monsters
. Blueprints are found to add new environments to the park.
Plot and setting
Dragon Quest VII
tells the story of a young boy, the son of a prominent fisherman
in the small island town of Fishbel, and his friends. He begins his adventure when he discovers a mysterious fragment of a map his father brings home from a fishing trip. Further investigations lead him to discover that the world he lives on, which seems to consist of only his small island, used to contain many continents that have somehow been sealed away.
- Hero — The Hero has no default name; as is traditional in the Dragon Quest series, the name is supplied by the player (however, he is called Arus in the official manga). The Hero is a lifelong native of the town of Fishbel on Estard Island. He is good friends with Maribel, daughter of the mayor of Fishbel, and Kiefer, prince of Estard Castle. In particular, he has a fondness for going out on impromptu "adventures" with Kiefer. It is one such adventure than begins the story of the game.
In terms of gameplay, the Hero is a well-rounded character who is one of the strongest fighters in the game. He also lays claim to a variety of healing magics, and has fairly average statistical growth.
- Kiefer — Kiefer is a prince of Estard, and the presumptive heir to the throne. Far from anticipating his elevation to kingship, however, Kiefer seems to resent his royal blood, and is a source of endless worry and frustration to his family and advisors. Kiefer, for his part, spends much of his time in search of excitement and adventure, and has found a kindred spirit in the Hero, whom he considers his closest friend.
Kiefer is incredibly strong, with a high physical attack statistic and naturally high hit points (HP). He is the most powerful character available early on in the game.
- Maribel — A friend of both the Hero and Kiefer, Maribel is the daughter of the mayor of Fishbel. Unlike Kiefer, who has steadfastly refused to let his social status influence how he looks upon other people, Maribel tends to be a bit condescending, even bossy. Despite this, she gets along well with her friends, and occasionally accompanies them on their adventuring, even if she sometimes has to pressure them into letting her tag along.
Maribel is primarily a magic user: with low starting physical statistics, and an early lack of powerful weapons available for her use, it takes a good deal of time before she can do anything approaching the amount of physical damage inflicted by some of the other characters. On the other hand, Maribel has access to a variety of damaging attack spells relatively early on.
- Gabo — Although he appears normal, Gabo is actually a white wolf pup who was irrevocably turned into a boy. As such, he retains a number of obvious lupine characteristics, and can be somewhat animalistic at times. He agrees to travel with the heroes hoping to protect his family, but remains with the group out of a sense of loyalty.
Gabo's speciality is in physical combat. Despite his diminutive size, he can easily become as powerful as the Hero, Melvin, and Aira through mastery of the class system.
- Melvin — A skilled paladin of generations past, Melvin fought on the side of God against the Demon Lord many years ago. Melvin excelled at his work, and distinguished himself in both skill and honor. As such, Melvin was petrified in stone by God, so that, should the need arise, he could be reawakened to once again take up the fight against evil. The party finds Melvin, who joins their adventure, although his age and unfamiliarity with the present day often leave other characters somewhat befuddled.
Melvin is proficient at both magic and physical combat, though his magic casting abilities are slightly superior to his physical attack skills.
- Aira — Aira is the lead ritual dancer of the Deja tribe, an ancient race of people charged with the stewardship of a temple necessary in the act of calling forth God. Raised and trained at swordsmanship, Aira is a more than capable fighter, as well. But, for all her skills, Aira harbors a secret from her past that weighs heavily upon her soul.
Aira is a powerful fighter and magic user. Although capable of doing both significant physical and significant magical damage, Aira stands in contrast to Melvin, in that her magic skills tend to lag slightly behind her physical statistics.
Like most Dragon Quest
games, Dragon Warrior VII
takes place in a medieval-like
world, without any modern technology
The story starts off on Estard Island, which remains a sort of home base throughout the game. The Hero comes from a small fishing village, whereas Kiefer comes from Estard City, the only two towns that seem to exist in the world. Upon discovering different islands in the past, they reappear on the map with Estard on it.
- Dragon Quest VII was originally planned for the Nintendo 64DD.
- The back of the Dragon Warrior VII manual in North America contained an advertisement for Dragon Warrior IV, an enhanced remake for the PlayStation of a Nintendo game of the same name. The localization was subsequently cancelled, due to Heartbeat's hiatus.
In other media
Dragon Warrior VII
has appeared in other media, as a manga
series and CD soundtracks.
Warriors of Eden manga series
The manga adaptation of Dragon Quest VII
was published by Enix's Monthly Gangan
It was illustrated by Kamui Fujiwara, who also worked on another Dragon Quest related manga, Emblem of Roto. 14 volumes were released between 2001 and 2006, though the series is currently on hiatus.
In this adaptation, the hero is given the name "Arus". The manga follows the game story while adding in new characters and more detailed relationships, as the original hero was silent and a personality needed to be added for the comic version.
As with every Dragon Quest, Koichi Sugiyama
composed the music and directed all the associated spinoffs. As a first for the series, the original sound version was bundled with the symphonic suite in a two-disc set called Dragon Quest VII ~Warriors of Eden~ Symphonic Suite + OST
The first disc's tracks are as follows:
- Morning in Eden
- Echo of Horns throughout the Castle
- Heavenly Village
- Days of Sadness
- Strolling in the Town
- Memories of a Lost World ~ Moving Through the Present
- Shadow of Death
- Fighting Spirit ~ World of the Strong
- Sphinx ~ Mysterious Sanctuary
- Aboard Ship ~ Pirates of the Sea
- To My Loved One
- Screams from the Tower of Monsters
- With Sadness in Heart ~ A Safe Haven
- Magic Carpet
- Over the Horizon
- Orgo Demila
Dragon Quest VII was the best-selling PlayStation game of 2000 in Japan. It is also the eighth best-selling video game ever in Japan and third best-selling RPG after Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (combined sales) and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (combined sales). Dragon Quest VII won the grand prize in Digital (Interactive) Art Division at the 4th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2000, where the game was praised for being "...engaging without depending on a high degree of realism..." and "...well refined and artfully executed. The game also won four awards from the 5th Japan Entertainment Software Awards
by the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association (CESA), including Best Prize, Scenario Prize, Sales Prize, and Popularity Prize.
Dragon Warrior VII met mostly good reviews from U.S. critics. IGN noted that all "100+ hours" of the game are enjoyable despite the dated visuals and clunky presentation. GamePro questioned whether the game's package was nostalgic or just awful, but still gave it a decent score and called it a great game overall. GameZone.com praised the game's concept and nostalgia factor and cited it as "what role-playing games were meant to be." They also noted the game's high difficulty, which, instead of making the game frustrating, they say, "make it that much more of an accomplishment when you complete a quest.
Other critics were not as pleased with Dragon Warrior VII. GameShark.com described the first two hours of the game as "some of the most boring hours you will ever play in a video game." XenGamers.com also pointed out that in order to play the game, the player needs "the patience of a rock". Game Informer even went as far as to say that "four million Japanese can be wrong", referring to the game's immense popularity in Japan.