The Nintendo Switch is fast becoming a JRPG machine. This is especially true if people love Square Enix games. Three legends have just launched on it: Dragon Quest I, II, and III. Each one is, on its own, a lengthy quest filled with all sorts of challenges to overcome. But, these are especially notable for how much is there, what has been changed, and what it means for people who might only now be coming to these installments after playing more recent entries or spin-offs.
First, the Nintendo Switch versions of these three Dragon Quest games are based on the Android and Apple iOS versions of the games. This means you’ll have a font that might be a little easier for some to read and convenience features like a quick save option in each game. The translations are vastly improved and more consistent, which means the character, location, and spell names will match the ones we’ve seen in recent releases.
But, this also means there is an issue people might not be as happy about. While the Dragon Quest III characters and locations don’t look all that different from the original release, the first two games have updated sprites that have something of an RPG Maker look to them. Monsters have the general spirit of Dragon Quest characters, but they are are a bit too smooth and really stand out when compared to even the updated other sprite work in the world. Some people might not mind, but it is a very noticeable change that does alter its personality a bit.
The plus side is, this also means that some of the changes that have been popping up in these first three Dragon Quest games are all here. Even if the characters and monsters don’t look exactly how people would expect and there’s a bit of a shock as a result, lots of improvements remain. You don’t need to get as much experience to level up or grind as much, which is to the benefit of more difficult games like Dragon Quest II. (Not to say they’re suddenly super easy. It’s more of a balancing thing.)
With Dragon Quest III, all of these changes are most noticeable. The version that people are playing here could be considered the definitive version. It doesn’t have Monster Medals, the Ice Cave, or Pachisi. But, we do have medals, Sky World, the ability to have a thief and see personalities, and all sorts of spells and equipment. (Of these three ports, it also is best at looking true to the original game.)
But, there’s another thing about all three of these games that makes having them on the Nintendo Switch even more special. They pair perfectly with other Dragon Quest titles available to offer a strong foundation. All three of these are a part of the Erdrick Trilogy, following along with a legendary hero and his descendants. They share a common location and tell a story that begins with Dragon Quest III, continues in Dragon Quest, and ends in Dragon Quest II. The Nintendo Switch is also home to Dragon Quest Builders and its sequel, which are based on alternative takes on the first two Dragon Quest games. There’s also Dragon Quest XI, which isn’t set in the same location, but does have references to the idea of a legendary hero known as Erdrick.
The Nintendo Switch versions of Dragon Quest I, II, and III aren’t the exact games people remember. There’s rebalancing here, inclusions like quick saving that make them easier to play on the go, and changes to the look that might be a bit too different and jarring for some. But, all three also have adjustments that make them wonderful journeys to revisit. Especially since it gives people a foundation on a system that can go anywhere. People who pick these up here can have greater insight into spin-offs like Dragon Quest Builders and better appreciate where Dragon Quest XI S came from.
Dragon Quest I, II, and III are available for the Nintendo Switch. They are also available on Android and Apple iOS devices.