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TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Dragon Quest IV’

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The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

 

Dragon Quest IV

One of the biggest releases this week was also something of a surprise. We learned last fall that Square Enix was porting the first eight Dragon Quest games to iOS in Japan, and with the western release of Dragon Quest VIII back in May it seemed like the rest of those ports might have a chance to come stateside as well. Then late last month, Square Enix confirmed that a port of Dragon Quest IV would indeed be coming to the US, and we sure didn’t have to wait long for it. Dragon Quest IV ($14.99) popped up with the rest of this week’s releases, and despite an unfortunate naming mistake of the title (which was quickly rectified with an update), it’s every bit as good as the original game was back in 1992, and in fact even better thanks to it being based on the 2008 Nintendo DS remake.

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I won’t spend all day talking about all the things that make Dragon Quest IV so good, I think we’ve pretty well covered that in our full review. But I will say that beyond it being a great game to begin with, the iOS port in particular is just fantastic. The fact that it’s in portrait orientation will be a bit divisive, as it works wonderfully for one-handed play on the iPhone or iPod touch but is a bit awkward (but still very playable) on the iPad. However, that one small change in orientation, as was the case for me with Dragon Quest VIII on iOS, really does mean I can play this at a moment’s notice, whether I have hours to devote to it or simply just a few minutes.

I’ve always wanted to enjoy RPGs more than I actually have, mostly due to the time comitment they take to sit down, fire up a console, and progress through a massive adventure. If I get busy and can’t play an RPG I’ve started for a few days or so, it’s easy to forget just what the heck I was doing, and that already limited time that I dedicate to sitting down and playing through an RPG is partly wasted as I figure out just where it was I left off. Maybe that’s just me, but I’ve started far more RPGs than I’ve ever finished, even ones that I started out really enjoying.

With Square Enix’s Dragon Quest ports, I love that I can play every single day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It’s much easier for me to remember everything that’s happening and keep up with the story progression. Plus, a lot of these older JRPGs require a lot of battling and grinding, something that’s a pleasure to do on a mobile device while doing something else like watching TV. In turn, I’ve made substantial progress in Dragon Quest VIII since I began really playing it a few weeks ago, and I’m excited to do the same with Dragon Quest IV now that it’s finally arrive on iOS. I can almost guarantee I’d never end up finishing either of these games on consoles.

I know my experience with RPGs isn’t the same for everyone, and someone like our own Shaun Musgrave has no problem blasting through a massive RPG without blinking an eye. But I’m very happy Square Enix has put some thought into making their classic games so mobile-friendly, especially since they’ve released some pretty clunky ports in the past. It gives people like me a chance to experience them in a way that caters to my lifestyle. Releasing them as single-pay products with no IAP and no online connection requirements doesn’t hurt either, though I do wish there was at least an option for playing in landscape for those who want it. I’d even say that Dragon Quest IV is more well-suited to mobile play than DQVIII, due to it being based on an older 2D game and not one that’s fully 3D, which made it sometimes tricky to navigate.

So if you’re like me, and either don’t have the time and focus to really sink your teeth into a beefy RPG, or were intimidated to do so for whatever reason, give Dragon Quest IV on iOS a shot, especially if you’re down to play it on an iPhone. It just might be the key to unlocking a hidden love inside yourself for the RPG genre.

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