We are only a few short days away from unwrapping the final retail copy of Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies. After getting a small taste of the Nintendo-published game at E3 2010, the wait is becoming more and more difficult.
The newest entry in the Dragon Quest franchise begins with your character as an angel-like guardian, overlooking a sort of community. And by your character, I mean you. Players have full control over customizing their characters, changing hair colors, eyes and skin tone. The process is quick and simple, and in less than a couple of minutes, I had a warrior with a purple-colored mohawk ready to save the world.
The customization extends even further, and apparently becomes a main hook of the game as you progress. Dragon Quest IX features more than 900 pieces of clothing, armor, and weapons, according to Nintendo. These new items appear on your character, dramatically changing your appearance. I only got to play dress up with a few different items, but color me excited to accent my hero with some sweet duds.
Taking my warrior out into the world, the one thing that really caught my eye during the entire demo was the cinematic flair present in battles. Camera angles switch to better showcase each move in a battle, as well as highlight your character as he deals blow after blow to an enemy. For example, the view may shift to behind a foe before your attack, allowing you to see your hero in his entire glory slice a slime to pieces. This is welcomed departure from previous entries on DS, which present battles in a more stagnant, first-person view.
But you will not be alone on this quest, if you chose. Dragon Quest IX includes plenty of multiplayer options, even letting up to four people to battle together. Treasure maps also may be traded between friends, which helps unlock rare items. These aspects were not playable at E3, but Nintendo is definitely pushing the multiplayer nature of the game. The company even categorizes the title as a Social Adventure instead of a RPG in an official press release for media.
With a hefty main quest and plenty of multiplayer options, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies appears to have all the makings of a killer game for DS owners. The game– developed by Level-5 and in association with Square Enix— hits retailers July 11.