Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound: Rating:
Game Controls: Rating:
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Dragon Quest IV Chapters of the Chosen is a highly revered entry in the classic Dragon Quest series. Originally released in 1990 on the Nintendo Entertainment System (and then subsequently remade for the Playstation and Nintendo DS), this update for iOS features great localization, much of the previous remakes' bonus content, and a control scheme that is well-suited to the platform. All of these features help make Dragon Quest IV still look and play great, even for being a 24 year old game.
For those that are unfamiliar, Dragon Quest is one of the most popular RPG franchises in Japan. It is developed by Square Enix, who is also responsible for the Final Fantasy series, though there are quite a few differences between the two. The most distinct difference between them is that Dragon Quest tends to be more iterative on a single, specific vision from a dedicated team of designers whereas Final Fantasy is generally a completely new game and vision centering around a few loose concepts and systems.
For the most part, all this is to say that Dragon Quest IV feels like a very well-made but also very traditional RPG. Players roam around overworld maps and dungeons, face enemies through random encounters, and level-up their characters to progress through an epic story. As for iOS-specific updates, Dragon Quest IV is controlled with an on-screen wheel and touchscreen menus in a locked portrait perspective, and it plays perfectly fine using this setup. Although all of this may sound pretty par for the course regarding RPGs, Dragon Quest IV still manages to stand out as a special game worthy of being called one of the classics.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Dragon Quest IV that sets it apart from the pack is its narrative structure. The game tells its story through chapters of gameplay in which players take control of different characters to learn more about them. Over time, these characters then unite as a party for the latter parts of the game. I also should note that this structure would not be as interesting if the game's localization and sense of place wasn't so darn good. Each new chapter contains characters and locations that all seem to have their own ways of looking and communicating, which adds a ton of texture to the world. Considering this game is all about exploration and adventure it is a wonderful treat for players to actually feel like they are discovering new and unique things, as opposed to just progressing in level.
As far as drawbacks go, Dragon Quest IV may have a few things that are off-putting. First, the game still feels like a very classic JRPG. Characters need leveling. Grinding can and must happen, so players unwilling to interact with some of these old vestiges need not apply. Also for some reason the iOS version's background music resets after random encounters, although this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things.
Dragon Quest IV remains a classic JRPG. The iOS treatment is great, and delivers a largely non-compromised experience. Players that have been looking to experience this revered title should feel very satisfied spending $15 to play it on their mobile device.