Dragon Quest discussion continued

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Pokun
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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:09 am

Well the most obvious NES-like feature is the sound effects. But unless I'm misremembering, the game also lacks many features which were introduced in other games series with the SNES, such as mode-7, mosaic effects, characters being animated in battle, parallax scroling, transparent water/fog or other transparent effects. This doesn't prevent DQ5 from being a great game, but I can see where those critics comes from, and they're similar to what I have to critic against DQ3-4 for sticking too strictly to looking like DQ2.

At least DQ5 re-introduced the battle backgrounds which were lost in DQ2-4 for some reason.
I think most of the reoccuring sound effects was generally changed into more acoustic instrumental samples (and they have remained so through the series ever since DQ5). But there are a few things like the classic attack and spell sound effects that didn't change much from their synthetic originals and thus I guess could be considered NES-like. I guess not using more of those S-PPU2 effects could also be considered NES-like.

DQ1 had one single battle background that is used no matter what terrain the battle takes place in. In dungeons it's the same all-black background that every other NES RPG had. DQ1 battles are always one-on-one so enemies can therefore be made up by sprites without worrying about the 8 sprites/scanline limit. DQ2 to DQ4 all uses BG characters for enemies, so a background behind it would be more complicated. The FF games solves this by drawing a few tiles at top to at least show the player what terrain the battle takes place in (although I've no idea if terrain effects battles in any way).
Since the SNES has multiple backgrounds, battle backgrounds becomes standard (Mother 2 and 3 uses strange psychedelic backgrounds for some reason though).

Nope, menus for all the NES DQ games are terrible and were only made intuitive in DQ5.
That's what I said, the menus became more intuitive with time (DQ5). Besides getting rid of unnecessary commands like STAIRS in DQ1. And the only unintuitive part besides not being able to go backwards in many (but not all) menus is things like the item management I think. FF games have better menus for moving items around.

Unrelated, but FF1 had terrible restrictions on equipment since you could only carry about as much as you could equip. Especially a fighter/knight or ninja that could equip all slots. That means if you have a party with only these classes (which would be a terrible party though) you wouldn't have any room to pick up new equip items if you are fully equipped. The only good thing is that medicine and key items have separate space. Later FF games fixed this by letting equipment and other items share the same space, and give you more space.

The other things you mentions doesn't even compensate the horrendousness of the graphics seen from a 1990 perspective, combined by the slow/unresponsive character motion, very high encounter rate, etc... All little details which makes the game look really dated.
My point isn't about compensating anything, you said that DQ games haven't grown in any way besides maps, characters and such content unlike other game series, and I pointed out all the things where it did grow, which I think is pretty much on the same level as other game series.

Although it's besides the point, I agree that movement on the map is a bit unresponsive in all the NES DQ games. I guess that's due to some bad programming, as I've been able to do a more responsive system myself (we'll see if it's still fast when I throw in more characters and objects though).
I don't agree about the other things. DQ games don't have higher encounter rates than other RPGs. DQ1 use a system where the terrain type determines the encounter rate (mountains have highest rates) and whether or not an encounter happens is tested every step. FF1 instead randomizes a step counter between each encounter which determines after how many steps the next encounter will happen. Either way encounters are not terribly different from most other RPGs. Lufia is an RPG with very high encounter rate, but also has very quick battles.

Personally I think random encounters in dungeons affects exploration negatively, since you easily loose orientation after a battle. I much rather have random encounters be reserved for highly scaled maps (like the world map) and have visible monsters in dungeons. Lufia 1 is terrible at this by having tons of short battles randomly encountered while Lufia 2 is great and does it exactly like I suggested. Monsters are also part of the puzzles which makes the dungeons more interesting. Zelda games of course also gets their dungeons right with heavy focus on puzzles, but they are also not a traditional RPGs.

I'm fairly sure FF3 has this, too.
Ah right, both FF3 and FF4 had arrows.

I never noticed it, but indeed this is a lacking aspect of a traditional fantasy element in the series. I guess they just didn't like bows. It also contributes to less interesting battles I suppose.
Given that DQ games have text-based battles where position isn't really a thing besides the order of the party members (which do affect how much you are attacked I think) bows wouldn't be very interesting. And then we have the whole thing about arrows. Given how badly item management are done in earlier DQ games, a system with arrows might had been hard to manage, unless they just give it unlimited arrows like in FF2. FF2 on the other hand introduced the front/back row system which makes ranged weapons make sense, so it also introduced bows into the FF series. Sadly it seems to have died out after FF5, and with the Chrono Trigger-style "one character one weapon type" system (which I also disapproves of) in FF7 and on, it probably won't come back unless they make an archer character.

The FF4 that was originally develped for the NES isn't the FF4 we know for the SNES, but yet another game, the only thing we know is that it featured shops selling airships. Apparently that game was cancelled very early anyway, and some ideas probably made it to the actual FF4.

Both FF4 and DQ5 can look "NES-like" to a player of later-day SNES games, but this is just yet another proof that back then, it made a huge difference whether a game was released on the start or end of life of a system. DQ5 has incredibly bright colours, I don't think it looks very good. FF4 suffers more from its tiny sprites. We have to wait for DQ6 to have a DQ game with truly good graphics.
Ah I see, that might just been some game that hadn't left the drawing board yet.

Yeah as you say many early SNES RPGs may look NES-like if you compare them to later SNES RPGs, which is why I'm confused why DQ5 especially got criticized for this when it's clearly no different from anything else. Just sounds like biased critics to me.

Really? I think DQ5 and the DQ1&2 remake both looks fabulous. FF5 also looks good, but it also suffers a bit from the small sprites of FF4. Small sprites fits the series though, and is how the series always had looked anyway. FF6 (one of my favourite FF games BTW) has that late SNES RPG look with large detailed sprites and gorgeous backgrounds and animations, but it suffers from a bit too much use of Mode 7, and uses a very low resolution for its world map for this reason. It's also a bit dark, just like FF7.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Bregalad » Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:48 am

Pokun wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:09 am
That's what I said, the menus became more intuitive with time (DQ5)
OK but it still took them a ridiculously long time to be fixed, they fixed the stairs and equip in DQ2, they should've fixed further issues in DQ3 and 4, instead of waiting for the SNES to come out... Same for the input response. These details show how DQ3-4 did advance little over their predecessors.
Pokun wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:09 am
whether or not an encounter happens is tested every step.
The result is that you will be disturbed by a battle sometimes after only 1 or 2 steps. Final Fantasy avoids this, (except in a very specific place of the earth temple of FF1). As a result, random battles are less annoying in FF... and later DQ games, as I'm fairly sure this issue is fixed in DQ5 and following games.
Pokun wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:09 am
Sadly it seems to have died out after FF5, and with the Chrono Trigger-style "one character one weapon type" system (which I also disapproves of) in FF7 and on, it probably won't come back unless they make an archer character.
Most oher RPGs, such as Tales of series, Breath of Fire, etc... does this for their entire series. FF does this only for it's recent games (since 7). DQ8 is "one-character-one-weapon type", too.
Pokun wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:09 am
which is why I'm confused why DQ5 especially got criticized for this when it's clearly no different from anything else. Just sounds like biased critics to me.
I have to agree if you can prove the absence of similar critics to other early SNES games. I'm fairly sure FF4 and Mystic Quest have been criticized for looking "NES-like", too, and considering the developers just came from several years of experience developing games on the NES, that's fairly normal.
Pokun wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:09 am
Really? I think DQ5 and the DQ1&2 remake both looks fabulous.
They definitely look OK, but far from "fabulous". DQ6 and 3 remake were the first ones to have graphics above average of contemporary games, I believe.
Pokun wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:09 am
FF5 also looks good, but it also suffers a bit from the small sprites of FF4.
I strongly and vigorously disagree, FF5 makes all the difference because for the first time they put emotions on character's faces, having them surprised, laughing, etc... For a story-based RPG this really makes all the difference and this is not a detail. (this was midly introduced in FF4 but the emotions were limited to characters jumping or turning their head away from their interlocutor). This makes you not just playing with fictional characters, but also attached to them. On the very contrary to what you said, FF5 manages to display such a wide emotion range through tiny 16x16px sprites it's absolutely amazing, as far as I know only Live a Live did something similar.

DQ would have to wait for DQ8 to have this somewhat discretely introduced... and used more sparsely than in FF5.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Sumez » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:39 am

Lots of stuff to go through in this thread, so it'll probably take me a few days to catch up....

But personally I finally dived seriously into the DQ series a few years ago, around a year before DQ11 came out. And by "seriously" I mean playing every single game in the series that I hadn't already, including replaying the ones I had never finished (so every game other than DQ4).

I gotta say, that in the microcosm of NES/Famicom RPGs, the Dragon Quest games are some of the few that truly hold up. Dragon Quest 2 and 3 are both amazing games with a world that was super exciting to explore due to how open ended they are. None of the Final Fantasy games on NES give me that same impression, mostly feeling like weaker versions of their later cousins on the SNES which truly upped their game by focusing a lot more on storytelling - an aspect that was never really central in the series that it obviously mimicked.

Dragon Quest 1 is the outlier, and it's almost its own category. It is also the only one of the games that really suffers from that amount of grinding that Bregalad is lambasting in the original post. It's simply a part of its design. And although there's a zen-like experience to it, I think it's hard to argue that it's in any way good. A huge portion of the game is centered entirely around walking back and forth to be able to either get enough money or EXP (those feel like very similar resources in the first game) to hit the next goal post along the way, until you're eventually level 20 with the best equipment, which is just what you need to beat the Dragonlord.

DQ1 however also does something very unique that none of its own sequels do, and certainly none of the Final Fantasy games.
Basically the thing that I think made it so succesful in the first place. It's a no-frills fast paced RPG that easily skims all the fat making even the excessive grinding feel like less of a chore than it could have been. You only have one character in your party and fight one enemy at a time, and you only have so many options usually centering around whether you should try to make the enemy fall asleep, beat them in damage output, or try to flee. Every battle is almost a quick round of rock-paper-scissors. The game has absolutely zero inventory management, immediately replacing any gear that you purchase, and even a minor graphical touch like having battles pop up in a small window on the overworld (rather than taking you to a separate battle scene) elegantly helps them feel less intrusive.
The sequel quickly went in a completely opposite direction, with battles often taking ages simply due to having to write out text for every participant. But the original game possesses a completely unique charm in the the sleek way it condences the concept of a grand RPG into a simplistic and almost "action packed" console game, truly kicking off the genre in Japan. Its relevance might be primarily historical at this point, but I'll admit I did enjoy playing through it even as late as 2017.

It might be easy to label Dragon Quest 1 as old and archaic, but in a lot of ways it actually feels a lot less archaic than many of the games that would show up in its wake.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:45 am

DQ1 has a background over the map, but only on the world map. Dungeons is where this orientation matters the most, but yeah it helps on the world map. The FF games have the bad habit of resetting your direction to south after a battle, which makes it worse. I compared DQ and FF games, and FF games do indeed have less encounters than DQ games. But it's really the opposite problem of Lufia 1. Encounters are less (which makes exploring a bit easier) but battles are slow, which makes the overall annoyingness higher. DQ games also uses Ruura (fly to a town), Riremito (teleport out of a dungeon) and Toherosu (don't encounter weak enemies) to speed up travelling, while in FF you only have Telepo (teleport out of dungeon) and Dezone (go up a floor in a dungeon, useful when falling into trapdoors). FF games you instead have more vehicles and of course Chocobos. They are quite limited in the NES FF games though, so travelling is still quite time consuming in the earlier FF games until you get an airship, not at all better than the DQ games.

But yeah, having the map in the background affects exploring positively. Lufia 1 does this, and so does recent RPG Maker versions (MV I think) if you choose to not have a background, and I noticed that it really helps a bit for orientation. Lufia destroys it with a bit too frequent encounters though.

I do think DQ1 is a fantastic game, and the high amount of grinding is the only real downside it has. Horii wanted first to have multiple party members and other things, but was convinced to focus on one hero and simplify a lot of things considering it was their first RPG. And I think that was probably a good idea because they had time to make a beautiful world and polish the things that where.
Battles are basically quick rock paper scissor bouts, yeah. I do understand Bregalad's complains that strategy is limited, but I think his view of it is a bit naive, and coming from a modern JRPG or FF background blinds you. I used to think a lot like that as well, as I liked the FF games more when I was younger (though mostly the SNES games), but like you I've come to appreciate the beauty of the DQ games more and more over the years.

I think the complains that DQ games didn't develop much comes from the fact that DQ games didn't need to develop much since they got a lot of things right from the start. The 8-bit FF games had slow battles, buggy things (like spells that didn't work), slow travelling and are generally very grindy. Basically every complaint Bregalad has of DQ games applies to early FF games much more. FF games didn't truly shine until the 16-bit era where the DQ games didn't change that much, because they already had a mostly working system as developed on the NES.
I guess that could be why some people think DQ5 is very NES-like. Not only because it's an early SNES game, but because it didn't change that much in it's core system from the DQ NES games unlike the FF series for example.


Bregalad wrote: OK but it still took them a ridiculously long time to be fixed, they fixed the stairs and equip in DQ2, they should've fixed further issues in DQ3 and 4, instead of waiting for the SNES to come out... Same for the input response. These details show how DQ3-4 did advance little over their predecessors.
I don't think so, menus and interfaces where generally not as intuitive as you'd wish in NES games in general, and this affects RPGs. Many things that are taken for granted today, like A to accept and B to cancel, was standardized in the 8-bit era. But the JRPG genre didn't really mature until the 16-bit era when most of the childhood diseases of RPGs was fixed around this time. The DQ series is no exception, although it sorted out most of the basics very early on the NES (mostly because it's a very early JRPG series).
The early FF games do have quite good menus though with the way you can move items around. It made inventory a bit messy until you got a sorting option though.

Bregalad wrote: The result is that you will be disturbed by a battle sometimes after only 1 or 2 steps. Final Fantasy avoids this, (except in a very specific place of the earth temple of FF1). As a result, random battles are less annoying in FF... and later DQ games, as I'm fairly sure this issue is fixed in DQ5 and following games.
I don't remember a lot of consequential encounters in any DQ games so I think there could be a cooldown after an encounter where a new random encounter can't happen within a given number of steps (forced encounters can of course always happen). Pokemon probably also uses a similar system. However in DQ there seems to be a higher chance to encounter something after changing screen in a dungeon. This happens both when entering a hidden (dark) part of the map which unhides the hidden tiles, and hides the other tiles, and when entering stairs. After these transitions, an encounter usually happens. This also seems to circumvent the cooldown (if it exists at all), and may cause many consequential encounters if entering and emerging a lot. Some dungeons have a lot of small hidden rooms with treasure chests or a dead end, so there will be a lot of encounters in such places when exploring all these rooms. I think it's to simulate the experience that there is a bunch of monsters in the room already and when entering it you suddenly end up fighting them, but it does indeed make these dungeons quite annoying.


Bregalad wrote: Most oher RPGs, such as Tales of series, Breath of Fire, etc... does this for their entire series. FF does this only for it's recent games (since 7). DQ8 is "one-character-one-weapon type", too.
Yes this is a JRPG thing that I'm not a big fan of. It usually works alright though, and in FF8 for example it feels OK. Partly because you can't even change the weapons, so it feels more like they are using their personal weapon they have chosen as part of thier military education (since most of the characters are pupils in a military academy). It's also part of the story where both Squal and Seifer uses a type of gunblade. Then again FF8 is very untraditional with its junction system.

But in these JRPGs you end up having a number of a certain type of swords that only the hero can use, another type of sword that the big guy uses, a number of rods that only the mage can use, a number of megaphones that only the mascot character can use and so on. And each item shop also of course carries these exact weapons, which are usually just a stronger version of previous weapons (although that's a common problem in many RPGs).
Then it's the fact that they can't unequip their weapon and fight unarmed (not even Tifa who is a grappler). It feels stupid when the characters gets captured and striped of their weapons and items and they suddenly can't fight, except for Ayla in Chrono Trigger and Zell in FF8 since they are both grapplers (though this is what makes these characters and their choice of weapon shine). They are all already powerful warriors at that point so I feel they should be able to improvise and maybe steal a weapon or something. They should know some basic combat moves that doesn't involve their weapon of choice.
It also has the problem of limiting weapons to each character's chosen type, which often means no shields, no bows, no knives or similar.

Ah yeah Breath of Fire did it before Chrono Trigger, this way they seldom had to change the battle animations. I especially didn't like it in BOF2 since every character always had the exact same battle animation no matter what weapon they equipped (in BOF1 I think at least there were boomerangs and stuff).

Usually in RPGs you have weapon proficiency skills for every weapon that the class can equip, like in FF2 or the Fire Emblem games, and this is what prevents a character from being good at any weapon he can equip, and allows you to choose what path the character should take by focusing on training with one or few weapons.

Thankfully DQ11 didn't follow this new trend and even have weapon proficiency skills, and at least two weapons for every character. The hero can use swords and greatswords (so sword and shield or a two-handed sword), the thief uses knives, swords and boomerangs (making him as varied and useful as expected for a thief), the mage uses staves and whips (whips is maybe not very mage-like but it fits her personality) and so on. Since the weapons overlap (e.g. the hero, the thief and the jester can all use the same one-handed swords), much like in Chrono Cross, you don't have this weirdness of very specific types of weapons that can only be used by one character each.
You can also unequip weapons and shields and fight barehanded if you want, and there is the possibility of dual-wielding if you want to be crazy (requires the dual-wield skill). Still no bows though (there is a crossbow but it's a special item and not really a weapon).
You don't have the large selection of weapons in earlier DQ games where the hero usually can use swords, spears, axes and even ninja weapons like chain sickles, but that's OK by me.

Bregalad wrote: I have to agree if you can prove the absence of similar critics to other early SNES games. I'm fairly sure FF4 and Mystic Quest have been criticized for looking "NES-like", too, and considering the developers just came from several years of experience developing games on the NES, that's fairly normal.
I can't, it's possible other early SNES games suffered the same critics. It's just my experience and it's fully possible I'm being unfair without realizing it.

Bregalad wrote: I strongly and vigorously disagree, FF5 makes all the difference because for the first time they put emotions on character's faces, having them surprised, laughing, etc... For a story-based RPG this really makes all the difference and this is not a detail. (this was midly introduced in FF4 but the emotions were limited to characters jumping or turning their head away from their interlocutor).
This makes you not just playing with fictional characters, but also attached to them. On the very contrary to what you said, FF5 manages to display such a wide emotion range through tiny 16x16px sprites it's absolutely amazing, as far as I know only Live a Live did something similar.
I agree, FF6 is also doing this a lot. Live A Live however takes this to another level with lots and lots of cutscenes using only the sprites. The stone age chapter for example has dialogue entirely based on graphical emotions of the tiny sprites, and it's just fantastic and hilarious.





There is one thing that JRPGs has got it right from the beginning while WRPGs seldom gets it right (though the more recently DnD 5th Edition may change this I think). That is that staying a night is enough to recover all HP and MP in JRPGs while in WRPGs you usually have to heal for months for even just a few HP.
This is because WRPGs kind of treats lost HP like the amount of meat and limbs chopped off of your body while JRPGs treats HP like it was really meant to be from the beginning: an abstraction on how long a character is able to survive before taking a fatal blow, and not necessarily the amount of physical wounds it can take, although it's more closely linked to life force and fortitude than evasion and blocking skill (the latter is usually based on agility and dexterity).
JRPGs maybe goes a bit too easy on players by letting you cure any type of wounds after a single night of rest (and I already said that I like when you need a priest to revive and lift curses etc), but WRPGs are usually quite horrible with this because it's easy to get wounded and very hard and time consuming to heal. Some games like FF2 tries to be more fair by charging more money the more you need to heal, which could be seen as the need to stay several nights and therefore pay more gil.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Sumez » Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:20 am

Personally I really like the idea of reaching a town as finding a safe heaven. The early Dragon Quest games more than anything really excel at making every venture out of a safety zone into an exciting journey of their own, and it's one of the really strong points of DQ2 especially.

Backing this is the fact that healing is always cheap, but regaining magic is extremely expensive, or even impossible (the series retained that up to around DQ8, and even in DQ11 regaining magic can be very tough until the late game). So at some point you're going to run out of resources, and the games are extremely centered around how far you can get on your resources.

Unlike most of the FF games (off the top of my head, FF6 is the only one I recall having a somewhat similar continue feature?), falling in combat never kills you, but the penalty of losing half your money can be extremely crippling (though less so after the bank was introduced in DQ3). So there's always this balance of whether you're trying to play it safe and build up your gold, or whether you spend all your spare coins before going out exploring the unknown and see how far you can get. Even if you die, you still retain items you have found and all the EXP you got on your way, so no failed journey feels wasted which I think is really cool.

As much hate as that dungeon gets, I don't think there's any feeling that really matches that of a completely battered and partially deceased party dragging itself out of the Cave to Rhone and seeing the healing shrine in the distance, attempting to flee every battle popping up, hoping you can make it there safely.
The heavy RNG in Dragon Quest can often feel unfair, but it's also what really adds tension and the need for on-the-fly tactics in its combat.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:00 am

Yes, that's exactly my complaints about games that offers unlimited resources. In early JRPGs it's common to starve for medicine and MP in the dungeons, and figuring out how to overcome that is the main challenge (even if Bregalad claims that it's no strategy and all luck and gambling). Without challenge you just pointlessly advance in the game just to see the story, so it's more a visual novel than an RPG (I have the same complaint about any game of any genre that I think is just too easy).

Dying in FF6 leads to Game Over like in every other FF game IIRCC.
I guess it's because I generally play DQ games like FF games and avoids dying at all cost and often even reload if I die (unless it was too long back), I seldom have any money problems in any DQ game. I usually allow dying a few times in DQ1 because it's almost unavoidable with only one party member, and it's not that bad to die a few times. Many guides suggest to skip weapons like the Flame Sword and the Magic Armor and go after Roto's Armor and Sword directly. But around the time you reach Rimuldar (and haven't died too many times) you can just grind on Gold Golems for a while and you should have enough gold for the Magic Armor long before you are strong enough to get Roto's. Also the Flame Sword is the last weapon you need to buy so there is really no reason to save money anymore at that point, so I just buy it until I get Roto's Sword. I like to use every weapon in the game if I can, so I don't skip any weapons, I just buy them all one after the other.

Unfair RNG or not, I feel running from battle seems a bit too hard in early DQ games. When you are almost about to die you escape from battles to increase your chances. But since a failed escape attempt means the enemies gets a free turn to kill you even more, and escaping is so low chance that I often just fight the enemies and pray that I win instead. Sometimes I gamble with an escape, but more often than not that leads to dying even more. Sometimes you are forced to gamble with an escape though and sometimes you do succeed.
In FF games it's usually almost too easy to escape, partly due to bugs in the earlier games. This makes character classes like thief in FF1 pretty useless, since they have no defining ability at all (until they become ninja anyway). Still I like to have a thief and pretend that he is an expert treasure hunter or something.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Sumez » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:11 am

I found escaping is a pretty central mechanic in at least the first three Dragon Quest games. There are situations in DQ2 especially where it's simply the only way you can realistically expect to survive.
Of course, it's all a part of the series' famous gambling aspects, and your best bet is often attempting to make the enemies fall asleep so you can run away safely. Especially in DQ1.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Bregalad » Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:56 am

Sumez wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:39 am
Lots of stuff to go through in this thread, so it'll probably take me a few days to catch up....
Initially I wanted to avoid answering too soon to give you time to catch up, but apparently you and Pokun decided otherwise...
I found escaping is a pretty central mechanic in at least the first three Dragon Quest games
This might explain my dislike for the early DQ games. I usually adopt a "no escape" strategy, and only attempt to escape when the other alternative is a certain death.
Pokun wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:45 am
I especially didn't like it in BOF2 since every character always had the exact same battle animation no matter what weapon they equipped (in BOF1 I think at least there were boomerangs and stuff).
The hero (Ryu) in BOF1 can equip swords and 3 boomerangs, all swords and all boomerangs have the same animations despite the textual description saying it's a tri-rang. The other characters only have 1 set of animations reagadless of the equiped weapon. I agree it's cheap, it would be simple to just palette swap the weapon, especially with the SNES hardware and its large palette. Even FF1 did that ! On the other hand BOF1 had great battle animations for it's time with the isometric perspective giving an (for 1993) impressive 3D look, and the characters actually samash the enemies with their weapon, something that will be removed in following Beath of Fire games; and that would have to wait for BOF4, FF7 and DQ8 to happen in their respective series. This is absolutely incomprehensible to me. It woudn't have been complicated to do this in FF5, FF6, BOF2 and BOF3 if they had wanted to.
Pokun wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:45 am
But yeah, having the map in the background affects exploring positively.
I think since the very beginings (aka DQ1) developers always battles to take place on the overworld map somehow, but each time it would imply too many concessions for graphics and animation quality. DQ1 manages to do it, but has very sub-par graphics and only a single enemy and hero at a time. DQ5 does it a similar way, but expands the whole width of the screen because multiple enemies are there, and so it still hinders a large part of the overworld. FF games takes the route to make battle graphics as good as possible (except for the minor mitick I have above), and so sacrifices the availability of the map to stay visible during battle - except in some obligatory FF10 battles where sometimes the transition is very smooth. Only in Chrono Trigger did they manage to have battle happaning on the overworld without abrupt transision, it works well and I wonder why FF7 didn't continute this way. After all BOF3 and 4 managed to do it that way, too, and it works wonders. But maybe the battles are not as pretty and epic as they are in FF. Except in FF6, 9 and 10, the playable characters are always more detailed in battle than they are on the overworld. This means more ressources are available in battle for sprites (or 3D models), and doing a smooth transition from an impressive environment but minimal sprites to a less impressive environment but big, detailed enemies and party character is difficult, hence they prefered to continue the tradition of a complete screen change.
Pokun wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:00 am
Dying in FF6 leads to Game Over like in every other FF game IIRCC.
FF6 is the only game where game over doesn't reset the game, but makes you start at some save point again. I'm unsure wether it just auto-reload the last save, or if it keeps earned EXP/Gil/trasure. Also FF6 is the only game where one KO character can, in some circumstances, mean a direct game over. I like this mechanism, it makes the game harder and FE-like.

I agree that a "no-game-over" technique such as seen in DQ is pretty good, especially when you have banks to secure your gold. It makes grinding less a hassle, and loosing less a punishment than in FF games, and ensure that wathever you do you're not completely loosing your time. But this is needed in the 1st place because DQ games tends to be so grindy.
Pokun wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:00 am
Yes, that's exactly my complaints about games that offers unlimited resources. In early JRPGs it's common to starve for medicine and MP in the dungeons, and figuring out how to overcome that is the main challenge (even if Bregalad claims that it's no strategy and all luck and gambling)
It depends what you mean by strategy, but here typically the strategy is to visit each dungeon at least twice, once to figure out the layout and gather treasure, and a second time to head straight-up to the boss using the shortest path and keeping mana and items as much as possible for the fight. But on your second visit, this means every battle has to be fought by physical force only as much as possible, which is not very interesting. Most FF games on the other hand encourages you to explore everything and visit each dungeon once by allowing you to not need to grind, carry more items (except FF1-FF2); limit the encounter rate to a bearable level, and allowing you enough ressources to explore the dungeon and fight the boss on the same visit.
I agree, FF6 is also doing this a lot. Live A Live however takes this to another level with lots and lots of cutscenes using only the sprites. The stone age chapter for example has dialogue entirely based on graphical emotions of the tiny sprites, and it's just fantastic and hilarious.
What is especially great with FF5 and LAL (and to a lesser extent, FF4) is that they manage to pull a large set of emotions on chracters made of 16x16px sprites. FF6 and other games of the time had larger sprites, which made that easier to pull-of.

Technically later DQ games for the NES could have went that way, but they didn't and prefered textual descriptions.

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Sumez
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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Sumez » Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:26 am

Bregalad wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:56 am
FF6 is the only game where game over doesn't reset the game, but makes you start at some save point again. I'm unsure wether it just auto-reload the last save, or if it keeps earned EXP/Gil/trasure. Also FF6 is the only game where one KO character can, in some circumstances, mean a direct game over. I like this mechanism, it makes the game harder and FE-like.
As far as I recall, continuing in FF6 keeps your EXP but resets your inventory. It's kinda unique (and I think most people probably weren't aware), but it's pretty cool.

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