Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past - 3DS Review

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past is the hail mary that we never thought that Square Enix would localize. Originally having released for the PS1 it was re-designed, re-written and re-worked in Japan for the 3DS and for the longest time there wasn’t even the slightest mention of the possibility of a localization. Finally having happened and released late last year, we’ve got a review. After all this time was it worth the wait and the ride to get to it? I’m still not sure.

Starting with DQ8 on the PS2 and then experiencing DQ9 on the DS, I’m still going through my journey of the series. Having started at the beginning and reviewing the the ports of DQ1, DQ2 and DQ3 on the Android, DQ4 (written), DQ5 (where I currently am) and DQ6 are works in progress as the reviews will release back to back. At the time I was still going through the fourth though after all the time and the energy fans of the series went through I had both eagerly ordered and then opened the package of DQ7 for the 3DS the night it made it to my mailbox.

Figuring it would be an excellent entry into the series I dove right in and instantly I hit a wall. Where’s the action? Don’t tell me these goofballs and that bitch are the main characters. Yes. Bitch. I can’t remember the last time I despised a main character that much but Mirabelle takes the cake. After only the first few hours, in which almost two have nothing but story building and no combat. I had put it away for weeks before getting back to it. Maybe I was too excited? Continuing on since then? I found that I’ve got a severe love hate relationship with this one.

A big part of the issues that I have are with the cast. I found it so hard to even like them much less love them. Not only is your main character a silent protagonist, he’s SILENT. He does nothing. At all. He’s just there to lead the others around mechanically. Where the Love started was HOURS in when you finally get a fourth party member just to lose another one because he finally became someone that I could almost like and then he was gone. Alright… fine. Back to three for a long while with the occasional NPC drop in. By this point however the main flow of DQ7 was in motion and it felt less like a cohesive experience and more like a weekly adventure that you would log / sit down to the TV in order to see what your band of adventures would encounter next while also feeling like something was lacking.

DQ7 is very episodic. The idea behind everything is brilliant and even very well executed from a lore standpoint but it’s how the characters go about things that feel disjointed. The world was split up in the past and where our adventures start, everyone believes that they are alone in the world, and they are. They are the only island in the world’s ocean until the day that the fishermen brought back a piece of a stone tablet. With our main character the Hero and his friend the goofball Prince Keifer just couldn’t leave well enough alone and poked and prodded every square inch of the island until they found the Shrine of Mysteries. Speaking with its keeper and placing the stone fragments into their pedestal their lives, and the lives of everyone in the world, was forever changed.

By combining the stone fragments into their pedestals portals are opened to the past in which the adventurers have the ability to change the course of history. By defeating the evil forces that lie in these previous eras of time the future is changed and the islands to continents slowly come back to the modern era in which other than that original island, no one knows any differently. This was cool and it was well done as just because something was saved in the past doesn’t always mean that it exists in the future. Some towns sprouted up while others withered to dust. It makes sense as nothing lasts forever. It’s just everything else that goes with it that brings it down.

The events leading to all of this are ill paced however. Some are really long and drawn out while others are just there. No real context other than “Slay Evil Thing in that Poisonous Cave Over There.” So you do it, grab the fragment, head back to the “future” or your modern day, slap it into its pedestal and then go explore the area now present to find another fragment as you’ll most likely need it. You can talk to people and explore but generally there’s nothing to do other than grabbing the fragments and hauling ass back to the past to kick the crap out of some other form of evil.

Rinse. Repeat.

Some of these chapters are fun however but on an overall they don’t fit together and there’s no real emotions from the characters other than Mirabelle being less and less of a bitch as the characters say less and less as the story moves on. And it’s not just her. A lot of people in this world are assholes. I’m using these words specifically as that’s what they come across as. I don’t like swearing in my reviewing and I’ll generally try to find something fluffy but in this case? There’s no fluff.

A lot of the NPCs involved with the story are mean in the worst kinds of way and often misogynistic. This really took me aback as I’ve now played 1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 7- 8- 9- Heroes- HeroesII (In progress for review)- and Builders (by far my favorite followed by 8/9). This is the only one where all of this is an issue. What the hell happened when DQ7 was being done? One or two people maybe in a specific situation but with the actual number being much higher? Wow. It didn’t add anything and if anything made me want to just put it away in favor of getting back full time to DQ5 or loading up my shiny new copy of DQ8 on the 3DS.

This just added to the lack of proper pacing. I mean what kind of RPG introduces a class system that allows for a variety of abilities to be learnt and cross used between classes fifteen or sixteen hours into the game!? Coming to Alltrades Abby I figured that it would have been a tribute to the well known class switching institution. Not only is it one of the worst arcs. Not only do they strip you of everything skill based making Mirabelle useless as she’s a magic user that can’t take a hit. They give you access to a class system afterwards. Don’t you think it was a bit late for this? Do you know how much grinding that I’ve already done just to beat certain bosses because they were unnecessarily hard because of certain abilities? Ugh...

As excited as I was to play Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past I think I spent more time hating it than enjoying it. Everytime that I found something to enjoy with it, despite the terrible pacing, I swear it was taken away or marred because someone opened their mouth to say something unnecessarily mean that added no value to the experience. It sucks because I had looked forward to this especially with the hail mary to get it as it as the chances had been slim to none. While I can appreciate the gesture, and am thankful for it, I seriously doubt that I will ever pick this one back up unlike a lot of the others in the series.

Game Information

Nintendo 3DS
Square Enix
Square Enix
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Sony PlayStation (Original Version)


Article by Pierre-Yves


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