Dragon Quest 7 [3DS] – What Changed in the Remake? | DQ7 Critical Review

The 3DS version of Dragon Quest 7 was released recently and a few people are still asking what the differences are between the new remake and the original PS1 game. Having played through the original games twice I thought I’d give you all a quick run-down of the changes I’ve noticed on my adventure. The biggest difference of course is the graphics: there’s no denying that the Dragon Quest 7 remake is absolutely gorgeous. This new adventure has been updated with expressive 3d character models in a full 3d environment while the original game used flat 2d sprites on a low polygon count background – resulting in a title that looked rough and pitifully dated back in 2000. The remake is easily worth playing for the eye candy alone. Downside: the game is occasionally too zoomed in.

I find myself frequently rotating the camera while running out of frame. This issue occurs outside while exploring the world and disappears in towns and dungeons. Shorter introduction: the original game opened slowly. A player could easily sink in multiple hours chasing Prince Keifer around the starting island before ever seeing combat. The new introduction is still long, but also cuts out unnecessary conversations and a few red herring fetch quests. This does downplay the already minor role that the hero’s skuzzy uncle plays in the plot – and may trip up new players later on in the game when a quest requires them to seek him out. Whenever you’re stuck just remember to use the party chat – not only do your traveling companions have funny observations but they can toss out helpful hints. The ruins that house the fane/assembly room have been transformed into two different locations. The new game moves the armor pieces the hero must gather to unlock the assembly room to a graveyard. This is good because it cuts down a lot of tedious walking (and ladder climbing) to reach the tablet pedestals (a place you return to frequently throughout the adventure).

The bad? Developers cut out all the introduction puzzles. The armor gathering task is now a handheld fetch quest that requires zero critical thinking skills. Some players see this as a plus as it shortens the prologue. But I feel as though the developers could have easily kept this portion of the adventure intact and satisfied our collective blood lust by simply tossing in a few slimes. Despite this change reaching the ruins is still a bit tedious as developers added a long empty corridor/cliff-side forest that players have to run through to reach the shrine. It’s still faster than climbing through the old ruins and this minor annoyance is completely negated once your hero learns the zoom spell. The remake has also introduced a new NPC.

There’s an imp who takes your tablet fragments and provides minor plot-line exposition. This reduces the assembly room into a single menu. In the old game the player had to run across four separate rooms in order to pair stone fragments with their matching pedestals. Name changes: many non-player characters and locations have had their names changed. For example the Hero’s mom was changed from Mollie to Pearl, and his drunk uncle Honduras is now called Pike. The player character changes are more annoying: Sir Melvin has been harmlessly engrish-fied, as Sir Mervyn, Aira has transformed into Aishe, and Gabo the wolf pup has been given the cringe-worthy moniker Ruff. Fortuitously the game does provide a method of renaming party members which I will personally be using at the first opportunity. I should probably mention that the hero’s pet gecko is gone completely. In the original game this lizard showed up in character art and the opening cut-scene never to be seen or heard from again. Dialogue changes: Love it or hate it modern Dragon Quest games use written phonetic accents to differentiate between cultures and the remake uses this technique specifically to signify people from the past (spoiler: DQ7 is all about time travel).

World map: the over-world is gone, and the islands are now big explorable environments. This is a great example of modernization and a very welcome improvement. Keep an eye out for new hidden treasure chests. Visible enemies: the Dragon Quest series no longer uses random encounters (thank god) and this new release is no exception. Monsters spawn in the dungeons giving the player the (slight) chance to run around them before triggering a combat encounter. Dead monsters re-spawn quickly, you’ll never have to wander far to grind. Party members are also visible in combat. You can see their backs in combat, and their weapons and shields change to match their equipment, and their costumes change to reflect their current class. By far my favorite change is the inclusion of the fragment locator: without a guide, finding all the mandatory fragments in the original game was like hunting down needles in a field of haystacks. The new game gives you a locator graphic on the bottom screen map that lights up when a fragment is close by. I should also mention that apparently the leveling curve is faster, and class progression has been completely redone: there’s a lot less grinding required from the remake but the biggest difference is in the customization.

Previously characters retained jobs skills learned after switching to a new class. Which was great! But ultimately all your characters were identical – in the remake characters retain their individuality because they can only perform the skills explicitly tied to their current class. Unfortunately this also eliminates the incentive for players to master all the classes. The job system was one of my favorite gameplay aspects from the PSOne version and I’m personally very sad to see it go. One of the best inclusions I’ve read about – but not reached – is the postgame. Another feature of modern Dragon Quest games is the ability for players to continue playing after the final boss has been defeated – So look forward to exploring a lengthy and challenging bonus dungeon after saving the world. And I while won’t spoil the surprise I will say that there’s a party member that shows up in the after game that I’m really excited about. Long story short the Dragon Quest 7 remake is a much needed modernization of one of the best games in the Dragon Quest series. Veterans may be put off by the changes, but ultimately SquareEnix has made a very dated game accessible to everyone who enjoys turn-based JRPGs.

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