Dragon Quest V: Five Reasons You Should Give It A Chance

By Spencer . February 25, 2009 . 4:33pm

imageDragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride is much like the other games in the Dragon Quest series. You fight slimes in random battles using a turn based combat system, trod through dungeons, and even revisit some old locations.


Dragon Quest V simply sticks to the Dragon Quest formula. You either love its classic charm or loathe the lack of evolution. If you’re in the former category you’re probably playing Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride right now. If you’re in the latter this is why you should give Dragon Quest V a shot even if you never played a Dragon Quest game before.


Easy To Learn

Let’s say you never played an RPG (as unlikely as that may be on Siliconera!). Dragon Quest V is easy to get into. The elementary combat system and optional AI control bridges the gap for first time RPG players. Dragon Quest V, like the other games, is pretty friendly about death too. You won’t see a game over screen if you get walloped by King Slimes. You’re whisked back to town with half your money, which is the main penalty. You still keep all your experience so the next time you enter an area where you perished your characters will better prepared.


image Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Believe it or not Dragon Quest V has elements Pokemon fans will enjoy. Use this fact to persuade your kid brother to give Dragon Quest a chance. You can collect slimes and have them fight alongside you in battle. There isn’t any negotiation or deal making either. Monsters just randomly join, if you’re powerful enough. Once in your party you can leave a monster insider of your caravan where they gain a portion of experience as if they were doing the work. This feature makes leveling monsters up less tedious. Monster allies feel more like regular party members too since you can equip them and stick as long as you want them. Just throw them in the “monstergarten” if your party is full. The party in the remake has also mushroomed to four characters instead of three in the Super Famicom version.


A Journey That Doesn’t Drag

Dragon Quest games are about a journey, often thought of as a time consuming journey with lots of grinding. Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride has less grinding than you may think. Maybe it’s because I’ve played too many Shin Megami Tensei games recently, but I haven’t found the need to run around in circles and fight drackys to level up. Dragon Quest V isn’t a cakewalk, though. As long as you have a diverse group of monsters you can keep your party balanced and get through the game without much of a problem. Also, Dragon Quest V isn’t an epic 50 hour quest. Most people should get through it the first time under 30 hours.


imageAfterwards You Will Want To Play It Again

In the middle of the hero’s life you’re given a choice, now three choices in the Nintendo DS version, of who you want to be your bride. The decision doesn’t dramatically steer the plot into wild directions with time traveling robots. But, after you meet the three women: feisty Deborah, reserved Flora, and childhood friend Bianca you’ll want to see the alternate story sequences and what your kids look like. This gives Dragon Quest V a notch more replay value than your average RPG.


Watch The Hero Grow

At the start of Dragon Quest V you control a purple turban wearing kid under the care of his father. Wait, step back a second, you begin the game watching the hero’s birth. In the final stage the hero matures into a family man with children of his own. Most RPGs focus on a small slice of time, usually the one involving the end of the world. Dragon Quest V takes you through life’s milestones.


The focus on a single character through many trials and tear jerking moments connects the player to the hero more intimately than other RPGs. The plot stands out and feels fresh even though it’s over a decade old. The only game that comes close to doing what Dragon Quest V did is Lost Odyssey since it followed Kaim through a 1,000 years. However, you only read about Kaim’s side stories in sound novel form. It’s a nice touch that builds Kaim, but this doesn’t delve as deeply into the hero’s life as Dragon Quest V does. If you value character development Dragon Quest V delivers it in spades.

  • I really ought to play this. I’m still playing DQIV though, which I got for Christmas and am still on chapter 4. So many games, so little time!

  • Rciwws

    I just finished IV around October but i’m already more than ready for another DQ. I’m having a blast so far. I wonder if VII will ever be ported to DS. It’s so long I don’t know how they could fit it.

  • Dragon Quest V proves that a videogame can have a touching story, without resorting to long, drawn out cut scenes. The story is warm, genuine, and utilizes choices (such as choosing a wife) to deliver an emotional impact to the player.

    • aj

      I’d read that almost everywhere, and thought it just a bit of nonsensical game critic hyperbole, but it’s actually true.

      Take this one simple incident – you walk into a bar, and talk to one of the NPC’s sitting in the corner. It’s a bard, and he mentions a story about a king who spent his whole life searching for his queen. It’s just a box or two of text, but when you realize that the story is about your father, and your mother, and the actual plot of the game, it’s just a weird, moving little thing that manifests as a throwaway conversation with an NPC in a bar you don’t even have to walk into.

  • Fonic

    I liked the SNES version a lot so I will definitely get it eventually, but right now I’m swamped with games.

  • ShadowYuri

    Still playing DQ IV like Divals, though I am at chapter five ^^ I really enjoy the narration in this episode, much better IMO than the VIII’s, so I hope than this game will be even better. Already bought it (DQ V), waiting for it right now.

  • I’m in love with DQV. The characters have charisma, and the game have a simple aura. The npcs are great to talk, and the battle is very classic and fast.

    The monster animations in DQV are better than DQIV and the music is top notch.

    A great RPG indeed, all rpg-lovers must play DQV.

  • The main character GROWS? You just convinced me to try this out, Spencer.

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