7th Dragon starts out with the most unusual opening I saw this year at Tokyo Game Show. Rieko Kodama, the producer introduces the game dressed in a cat suit. Once you hear her talk about the trials of game development you get to create a character. 7th Dragon only has seven classes, but there are four sprites you can choose from for a more aesthetically diverse party.
I stuck it out with a paladin, fighter, rogue, and mage with cat ears. My first feeling when I saw my party march out of a town in a queue brought back memories of classic Dragon Quest. Inside the cave I discovered two types enemies. The first group comes up when the compass on the top right hand side of the screen lights up. These battles presented me with weak monsters easy enough to push through with the fight option alone. 7th Dragon’s combat is turn based which means players select their attacks then watch the results on the screen. While 7th Dragon plays like an NES RPG it doesn’t look like one. Colorful backgrounds, large static monster sprites, and party members popping up to attack makes 7th Dragon easy on the eyes. Point of amusement: When the mage attacks she whacks them with a blue ice cream bar.
Dangerous dragons lurk in the cave too and are easily identified by shadows on the map. Touch one of these and you’re in for a fight. The first dragon I took down nearly wiped my party out. I had to make good use of other commands. The paladin acted as a tank sitting with the front shield ability. She could also bash the dragon with the shield bash skill. The fighter is a damage dealer with attacks like power rush, but the cute cat-eared mage championed the fight. She had attacks like fire, freeze and an powerful MP draining spell which finally crippled the dragon. 7th Dragon isn’t going to skimp on the difficulty and fans of turn based RPGs should appreciate the challenge.
Ryoei Mikage, President of Imageepoch, explained the concept when for 7th Dragon came up while they were looking at what Japanese gamers were playing, “There weren’t any DS old school Dragon Quest type games and Niinou-san (the Designer) said well in that case I’ll just make it. It’s targeted towards Japanese audiences so I’m not even sure I’m going to make it to the US. It depends on the top person at Sega USA so I really can’t say if it’s going to make it from there.” Everyone start bothering Sega USA if you want to see 7th Dragon in English.
Images courtesy of Sega.