View Full Version : Latecomer Reviews: Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation

02-04-2016, 09:52 AM
As the skin on my hands gets drier and drier, I just have to ask: “why do I keep doing this to myself?” The winter is a terrible season for mobile gaming, even if you’re only using one hand. And yet, I just can’t stop. I did not expect to get this invested after that one little iPhone game. It was just a way of coping with the daily commute. But here I am now, with sandpaper skin, blown away by Dragon Quest III.


Dragon Quest III begins with a scene where a voice addresses you. It doesn't address the character you just chose the gender of and named, no – it addresses you, the player. You then answer a couple of questions that will determine your character’s personality (which is what determines your stat growth), but honestly, just this one scene felt like so much more. The music is beautiful and melancholy, and the voice ended up describing me as just the person I always wanted to be. So hearing that in a time when I was really down made me feel very touched and may or may not have colored my perception of the game on the whole.

But enough about the game shamelessly stroking my ego – what’s new in Dragon Quest? Well, at first it may seem that not much has changed. You are the child of the hero Ortega who has left a long time ago to kill the wicked Archfiend who has cursed the land and filled it with monsters. Presuming your father dead, your village expects you to pick up where he left off and rid the world of this malady. You fight monsters as they pop up in random encounters that are played out in a traditional turn-based format. So, basically the same as DQ II, right? Wrong.


The party now consists of four people instead of three, which doesn’t seem like much, but this time you get to fully customize them. So you still don’t get actual characters with personalities in your party, but you can name them, pick their gender, and their class. That’s right, this game has a job system. While your main character’s locked to a pretty well-rounded “Hero” class, you can not only choose the classes for your other party members, but you may also change them later. It works like this: at level 20 your character can change a class at a specific location. While changing a class reduces you to level 1, it only halves your stats, which means changing classes is the best way to really improve your characters stat-wise. It’s a simple yet deep system that really gets you invested.


The world map is the next thing you'll notice that is different. You won’t get a traveler’s map right away, but once you do, something interesting becomes immediately noticeable. For one thing, all places you haven’t visited are grayed out. Secondly, the world map is shaped very similarly to our world. Both of those things really drive you to go out and explore, since the real-world similarities are not only skin-deep. You get a place based on Rome, Ancient Egypt, and it’s pretty amusing that there’s a big-ass mystic temple right in the middle of ‘Straya. Oh yeah, speaking of that – the God-awful faux Early Modern English script is gone, and instead we get regional variations! So be prepared to be reading a lot of fake accents, but it’s still all very well done, I think, and a great step-up from whatever we had before. Monsters are still pun-filled monstrosities, however, with Rottenweilers sticking with me forever. They’re zombie dogs. Rotten-weilers, Rottweilers – geddit?


I don’t really know where to begin with the story. I can’t really say much without spoiling it, but there’s something you should know before going into this. Dragon Quest III’s story won’t blow you away. Not now, at least. But there is something important that needs to be addressed – Dragon Quest III is probably responsible for every single JRPG trope in existence. Be it the late-game twist, or the fantasy counterpart culture, all JRPGs in existence owe everything to Dragon Quest III. Playing it right after I and II (and really, I think you’d miss out on a lot of this game’s value if you don’t play those first) I can really see how much it improved over its predecessors, and how big an influence it made on the entire genre – yes, even (or especially) on Final Fantasy.


Presentation-wise, it’s pretty much the same as I and II. Again, I am super thankful for the vertical interface. However, this time around, the sprites are a bit smaller and you can make more detailed movements. This is actually not that good because sometimes you have to navigate really narrow passages, and this makes it easier to fall off or bump into a wall. And the music has cemented me as Koichi Sugiyama’s number one fan. I mean, listen to the battle theme!


Just like Dragon Quest I was a big piece of gaming history simply for being the first JRPG, Dragon Quest III is just as important for establishing everything we know and love about the genre. I wholeheartedly recommend it to those who wish to discover that bit of gaming history, or are just up for a gripping fantasy adventure. Of course, I highly recommend playing I and II first, as the three form the so-called “Erdrick trilogy” of the series and you really won’t get as much out of this game without the previous two, but you really should be okay either way. Dragon Quest III is available for $9.99 on the iOS App Store. Go get it!

02-04-2016, 04:33 PM
Should I start at this one? I have a hard time with the less coherent plots of early RPGs. This one sounds like it's a bit more structured.

02-04-2016, 04:37 PM
Honestly, the stories of the first three Dragon Quests have very simple stories. It's quite possible to start with this one, but you would kind of miss out on the importance of that big plot twist.

02-04-2016, 04:54 PM
One of the great loves of my childhood. I was never allowed by the fates to own this game in my youth (of course I got it much later) so I rented the game many times, having to start over repeatedly (but with new parties).

02-04-2016, 07:39 PM
I love this game. It's my favorite Dragon Quest. Being able to pick your party and class was a lot of fun. Their stats are also randomized when created, so if you know you're making a cleric you can make the character again and again until it has stats suited for a cleric. I never explored too much into the class-change system, but I've started with a goof-off that I turned into a sage a few times. It's also one of the few RPGs where I'll frequently use black magic, especially for the early game. Oftentimes, I'll start with a wizard and turn them into the sage.

Wolf Kanno
02-05-2016, 03:38 AM
Easily my favorite of the series, also one of the best remakes I've ever played. This game was just ahead of its time, day/night cycle that affected towns and monster encounters, a robust job class system that incorporated stat min/max and the ability to transfer abilities across classes, clever puzzles and some great story scenario. This game was the debut of the DQ formula and it's no wonder it gets referenced more than other entries. I had a blast going through it and it's still the DQ I have the fondest memories of.