Friday, June 29, 2012

Full Review: Dragon Quest V - Hand of the Heavenly Bride (DS)

I just finished Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (hereto referred to as DQV) on Sunday afternoon and thought it apt that I have a post to do today, which was originally intended for Monday's post but I wasn't able to get around to writing/posting it because my sister was in town.  Yes, I'm blaming my sister for my inadequacies as a blog posting human being.

I started this game on the DS maybe six months ago, so around the middle of January 2012.  I had recently completed Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (DQIV) and wasn't tired of 1990's style Japanese role-playing games. And DQV, is very much that, a typical RPG where you have a main character, up to three companions who all raise levels while completing story elements and end up saving the world from an evil king/tyrant/overlord/dictator who is somewhat one sided.

~*SPOILERS*~(With intentional bits left out)

Monsters & Villains

In these types of RPG's, I don't seem to immediately question why the world is full of monsters. I don't care that there are random encounters or how world economics would work with all these effing monsters everywhere. But you know what, I don't care. I just figure that the world work well enough until Grandmaster Nimzo decided that the Underworld wasn't where it was all at and decided to take over the rest of the planet, there-by releasing a shit-ton of monsters upon the earth.

As previously mentioned, I felt that Nimzo was a bit of a flat, one sided main villain. He was talked about quite a bit by his lackeys, but really only as this all powerful being who will take over the world. So he's not an overly original villain, but again that was fine with me as I was able to keep in mind that this game was developed in the early 90's and came out in 1992; so it's a 20 year old game with updated graphics.

The monster design was very similar to DQIV and had some familiar characters from the previous Dragon Quest games, which I feel is very much a part of the series.


This will be the shortest of the sections. As with previous Dragon Quest remakes, the music has been revamped from Koichi Sugiyama's original score and it all sounds great. That's it.


Like all previous games in this series, it's a top down view in both world map and towns.  You walk around and talk to people.  When you're not talking to people you're fighting in battles.  Battles are fought in first person and are turn based.  There's not really any use for the bottom touch screen, which is kind of sad considering the system it's on, but the lack of a touch function didn't detract from the game.


The story here is somewhat non-original but it's done in a very original way. Wait, what!?

Here's what I mean. The story goes that a "Hero," someday, will arise and save the world from the destructive plans of the evil warlord Grandmaster Nimzo. You start the game with that bit of knowledge. The world is already going down the toilet, but a Hero is coming. Oh, and when the game begins, you're only six years old and traveling with your father who's some kick-ass travelling warrior with an honorable reputation. You find out soon enough that your father is on a quest to find the "Hero," already knowing that he isn't it because he can't equip the Hero's gear (A sword, shield, helmet and armor).

The child aspect was really interesting. You couldn't read many books(shelves) and only understood some words or basic themes. You were often told by NPC's that you couldn't leave the town or enter certain areas, again, because the character is only five.

One thing leads to another and your character and friend are kidnapped and sold into slavery, helping to build some grand temple for Nimzo. Jump ahead 10 years. Your character and friend and another random slave manage to escape to find the world very similar to how it was left. This was a bit of contention for me. Both you and your friend have been in slavery building an evil temple for the last 10 years and after escape, come away nearly unscathed emotionally. A kingdom even makes your friend their king because he was their prince before said kidnapping. Okay, maybe it didn't/doesn't bother me all that much, but maybe I just wish that it did. I'm suspending my sense of disbelief anyway.

So your friend becomes king and you're going back to adventuring, like any good son-of-an-adventurer would. In your travels (by boat), you come across the scenario where you are "forced" to be married. In the original 1992 game, you had a choice of two women, but in the DS remake (as opposed to the 2004 PS2 remake) you're given a third choice, who is the vindictive sister of one of your choices. Just before choosing, I decided to make multiple save files to find out how parts of the game progressed with a different wife. The first time though, I chose Bianca (who was a childhood acquaintance) as it seemed like that's what the game was setting up for you to do anyway. So you're married and like any solo adventurer, you have sex with your new wife and she becomes pregnant, eventually giving birth to twins, a boy and a girl.

One thing leads to another and you and your wife are turned into stone statues by one of Nimzo's lackeys. Your bodies/statues are found and sold to a rich family living on an island. You then watch the game as eight years pass by, seeing your wife eventually sold off again as the rich family seem to lose money because the world is becoming worse because of Nimzo's eventual coming into the world to take it over. Eventually your children and friends find your statue and are able to restore you to your normal self.

While out adventuring with your children and searching for your wife (their mother), you find pieces of the Hero's armor (thought I'd forgotten that bit didn't you?) and discover that one of your kids is able to equip them. Oh, and you also get your "airship" and are able to traverse the entire world now, or at least the places where it can land.

The End Game

After you find your wife and restore her to normal, it's about time to enter the Underworld and kick Grandmaster Nimzo's ass. Which is pretty much all that you do. There's a quest to obtain a key from some giant-ass giant in a bottle (as in you have to fight him from the top of a tower because that's how tall he is), which I admittedly had to look up on gamefaqs because I didn't even know that this existed and didn't know where I had to go to progress the story.  But anyway. 

So you travel to the Underworld, defeat Nimzo. My issue with this battle is a little minor. One of your children ends up being the "Hero" that will save the world from Nimzo. We know they're the hero because of the Hero's gear. Aside from having really good stats, it doesn't seem to play in anyway into the final battle. The child that was wearing all of the said gear, I had casting support spells and then attack spells for the majority of the battle. The so-called awesome sword, I don't think touched Nimzo because it didn't do as much damage as casting a lightning spell. I found that to be a little disappointing.

Okay, so peace is restored to the world. You travel back topside and visit a couple of notable cities from your quest, eventually taking you back to your kingdom where a dance is held. Roll credits.

Final Thoughts

Was this the most compelling RPG I've ever played? No, it was not, but it was a lot of fun. I did really like the age progression, even if it was done in odd jumps. However, how often is it you are able to play the same character at 6, 16 and 24? I also liked how the game didn't start with you somehow screwing up the world or letting out some impossible evil and it's your quest to go and fix your mistake. The world was already messed up by the time your character became aware. And then there's the whole part of the game about letting specific monsters join your party and training them, which sounds oddly familiar, but can't think of what it reminds me of.

Throughout the game, I didn't feel as emotionally attached to the characters as I have in other RPG's such as Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger. I attribute this fact to that while the story was somewhat mature, the world created for the story was not. Keep in mind this isn't so much a criticism as it is an observation. 

So that's really it. I would recommend this game to anyone who has played any other Dragon Quest game or if you enjoy early RPG's akin to the Final Fantasy series. 

I put in 49 hours 13 minutes into playing the game, I think I can say that I enjoyed Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride very much.

Full Frontal Reviews Done Here


  1. I think it's interesting that you didn't feel as attached to the characters, since you literally grow up with them. This seems like a cool game though, and I enjoyed watching you play :)

  2. Hmmm, I enjoyed reading your story synopsis. I think it's really cool that it's actually the child of the lead character that is the Legendary Hero, who himself starts the game as a child. Thus the game spans three generations in a significant way. I'm sorry that it didn't execute this as well as it might have, but it's still a cool idea.