Dragon Quest IX: The more things change, the more they stay the same

Back when it was first announced for the DS, Dragon Quest IX looked like it would be completely different from its predecessors. Not only would the game be on a portable system, it looked like it would be multiplayer and in a real-time, if not an action-RPG, system. After Dragon Quest VIII’s revelations (huge graphical upgrades and a rename in the US to follow the Japanese series name), it looked like the ninth entry would bring even more changes to a series that is notorious for having old school gameplay and feel. Was Square Enix finally going to change the main system of the grandfather of RPGs?

The cover for the original Dragon Quest.

More recently, the news has trickled in that, yes, the game would be multiplayer, but it would have the same turn-based battle system. →  Read the rest

Bad Design 1

This column looks at design flaws in popular games. Nearly all of the examples of poor design are from games that are either good or great, so don’t assume we are picking on these games solely because they suck and it’s fun to make fun of crap. Perhaps it is the games’ quality that makes identifying one specific design flaw so easy. The flaws are also not unique the only these games; hopefully each specific game we examine will hold a flaw that is common in many other games, some sort of universal design flaw. This will ultimately make the column much more valuable than if it were just a place to piss on a game for a specific and unique quirk.

Tell me, how is it I know English?

That being said, welcome to the first installment of this potentially never ending series. →  Read the rest