Dragon Warrior VII
Game Info
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Mild Violence, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes
The Good

• Old school RPG
• Job system is fun
• Puzzle-based dungeons are nice
• Game will last a long time

The Bad

• Dated graphics
• Way too much "leveling up" needed


Dragon Warrior VII is the story of a young fisherman's son, who lives on the remote island of Estard Island, apparently alone on the great ocean. One day, he discovers a magical shrine beneath the ruins near his fishing village. With the aid of his friends, the local Prince and the mayor's daughter, the hero travels via a magic gate in one of the chambers to another island, set some time in the past. They find the island plagued and besieged by demon minions. After setting things right, they return to the present to find the island has appeared in the present, which leads them to believe that the other portals will lead them to other islands to unlock from their demonic imprisonments.

Graphically, Dragon Warrior VII is old-school at it's heart. For those who've grown used to next gen graphics, this game is a shock at how primitive it looks. The character sprites are adequate, even if the NPC sprites seem to only be taken from a small pool. The monsters look fairly good, but after a while, you'll find the palatte-swapping for newer monsters a little tiresome. The environments are built in 3D and look much like a first or second generation Playstation game at best. For the most part, they look so old school that you might forget that you can rotate the camera.

The gameplay behind Dragon Warrior VII is where it's strength lies. It's turn-based combat at it's simplest, yet finest. The best part of the game won't show up until 15-20 hours in, when you gain access to the Jobs System, where the player can train up their characters in a variety of classes, including monster classes, to learn skills and spells. Also, many dungeons have a puzzle aspect to them, which requires a degree of intellect to pass through. Most are never that hard, but add an extra quick to keep the dungeons fairly fresh. Once you get further along in the game, you'll be able to create your own "sim" village and even a zoo with captured monsters. Along with casinos, the number of diversions available is pretty nice.

The audio portion of the game is much like the graphics - adequate but extremely old-school. The sound effects, which seem to be fairly limited in variety, will grow old after some game time. The music, for the most part, is all right, and some of the tracks are fairly interesting. I personally liked the boss theme, but there just doesn't seem to be enough variety to keep the music from getting old after a while.

One of my major gripes with DW7 is that the game forces you to spend a lot of time "leveling up", or fighting lots of random battles to gain experience and money. You never seem to have enough cash to buy even decent equipment for your characters on a regular basis and about halfway through the game, the difficulty level jumps, which means if you haven't been training A LOT, you may be screwed, struggling just to get out the next dungeon. Also, most of the story is built on RPG clichÚs. While there is a good twist in the plot here and there, if you've played many RPGs, you know where the story is going.

Dragon Warrior VII is the consummate RPG for those who are looking for something nostalgic. If you don't like the older graphics or are turned off by heavily turn-based games that require lots of "leveling up" to complete, you'll want to pass. On the other hand, if you like both, you'll be spending months of your life playing this game.

- - Kinderfeld

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