Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria (Wii U, 3DS)

DRAGON_BOXBack in the 8-bit and 16-bit days, I was really into RPGs about the time I was in high school. Some of my favorites included Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, Lufia 2, and many others. But once I hit college and the 32-bit era rolled in, I started to lose interest. Part of it was my fault, as college and other commitments took more of my time away. But 32-bit RPGs and beyond were often times bigger, longer, and more meandering. I felt they focused on story and characters more than actual gameplay. But every now and then I do miss those days where I could just veg out for a few hours and play a classic RPG. Luckily now there is Dragon Fantasy, a new downloadable title for Wii U and 3DS, which plays and looks like the RPGs I grew up with.

Dragon Fantasy was originally on consoles like the PS3 and PC, and there was even a sequel that I reviewed a couple of years ago. This is the original Dragon Fantasy game, but since I never played it before now, I don’t know if they added anything to it. Story and gameplay are pretty typical of an 8-bit or early 16-bit RPG. You start out playing as Ogden, a knight who had his hair burned off by a dragon during a fierce battle, and now he spends his days in the castle protecting the royal family. But when a dark knight captures the new crown prince, Ogden goes off on an adventure to save him and the whole world in the process. Gameplay is more akin to something like Dragon Warrior on the NES. You’ll gather clues and items in towns, and then venture into dungeon mazes to battle monsters and gain experience. Battles also resemble Dragon Warrior in that you face your opponents head on in turn based fare.

One unique aspect is that you can use capture nets on monsters once you whittle down their hit points enough. When the text says a particular enemy is ‘beat up,’ you can use a Capture Net on it and the monster will usually join your party and fight for you, so there’s a bit of a Pokémon aspect to it, too. But the monsters in your party won’t gain experience, and you can’t equip them with armor or weapons either. But some know special attacks and spells, so catching the right ones is key. Also, you can change the graphics and music at any time to look and sound either 8-bit or 16-bit, depending on your preference. You can also choose to be able to see the monsters walking around in dungeons, or allow them to remain hidden until you run into them! When you start a new game, you can choose between three different chapters featuring the main characters. There is even a extra side chapter that fans of Minecraft will enjoy. Speaking of which, the dialogue in the game is full of pop-culture humor and game references, too.

The game does have a few minor problems, though. While the text in the 3DS version is very readable, the numbers and letters on the bottom of the screen during battle are a bit smaller and harder to see. They had plenty of room to use the whole screen, too! Luckily it’s a bit better on the Wii U. And while the game is pretty fun, it lacks the spark that other RPGs like Final Fantasy have that draw you in to keep playing. Granted, that’s a lot to expect out of a title, but you might lose interest if you tire of these kinds of games. And finally, the music is incredibly repetitive and unmemorable. But otherwise, Dragon Fantasy is a pretty decent nod to classic RPGs. Best of all, if you buy the Wii U or 3DS version, you’ll get the other one for free via cross-buy! So it’s a really good deal at only ten bucks!


Kid Factor:

Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Alcohol Reference, and Mild Language. Defeated enemies just disappear and violence is only implied via text. I guess some of the enemies might have some blood on them, but the only thing I noticed was the red colored skeleton baddies were just called “Bloody Skeletons.” There are pubs and references to drinking too much “soda” so that’s where the alcohol reference comes in, and bad language is used very sparingly, as I hardly even noticed it. I played these kinds of games when I was a kid and I think I turned out OK, so I’d be all right with any kid playing these, but good reading skill is a must.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!