Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation is over 30 years old. Considering its age, people might wonder how well it has held up over the years and if its ideas and mechanics are still relevant. The thing about this particular entry is, Dragon Quest III made some of the biggest additions to the series. Concepts introduced here continually reappeared over the years. While some parts do show their age a bit, such as the story being rather sparse and people needing to speak to everyone to know what to do and where to go,
The customizable hero is the first inclusion that helped set Dragon Quest III apart. Previously, all Dragon Quest heroes were male. Here, the legendary hero could also be a woman. While there aren’t any story changes, some throwaway text with NPCs will change and your avatar could have different personalities based on their gender. Plus, it set the pace. While this was the first game to offer the ability to choose your identity, eventually Dragon Quest IV, IX, and X also offered that option along the way. The spin-off games, like Dragon Quest Builders, would also continue that trend.
Even more important is the class system. While the player’s avatar is a hero, the other party members can change their focus. (In fact, depending on their personalities, which you can also change, you might want to alter what they do to play to their stat strengths.) You could have characters be a Gadabout, Mage, Martial Artist, Merchant, Priest, Sage (if you unlock it), Thief, or Warrior. Once you eventually reach Alltrades Abbey, you can alter a character’s class in order to diversify movesets and take advantage of previously earned stats to build up a character in a new way. While the Vocation System first showed up here, it ended up finding a place for itself in entries like Dragon Quest VI, VII, and IX.
The day-night cycle found its footing in Dragon Quest III as well. Almost every entry after has the concept implemented into it after this installment, with the idea that there may be difficult monster encounters found once night falls. It also is one of the entries where time passes in towns as well as outside of them, with shops closing and certain people appearing or disappearing at different times of day. It added a sense of realism in a rather fantastic world, one which would maintained as a series mainstay.
Since the Nintendo Switch version is taking into account features from remakes, like the one that appeared on the Super NES, it is even more relevant. It brought in thieves as a class option, a sort of role that otherwise only started to make its appearance in Dragon Quest IV with Torneko’s Steal ability. You can search bookcases and pots for items. It’s a selection of little things that end up being present absolutely everywhere eventually. Once you start seeing that and it hits you, it reminds you how much was done in Dragon Quest III years ago.
Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation is when the series really started to feel like the modern Dragon Quest installments we see today. It had the class system we’d see in installments like Dragon Quest IX. It brought up a day-night cycle, which remains in all subsequent games to varying degrees. It was even the first game to allow the player to choose the hero’s gender.
Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation is available on the Nintendo Switch and both Android and Apple iOS devices.