In this post, we will review the 15 best dragon quest games you can start from beginner to pro. We have included their characters, models and gameplay styles.
Dragon Quest, for the benefit of our non-gaming audience, is an RPG (Role Player Game) that was first released in 1986 in Japan by Enix (now Square Enix) for MSX and Famicom. It first received international marketing when localized versions were released by Nintendo in the US as Dragon Warrior for the fondly remembered Nintendo DS and 3DS. It has precisely 11 main games in its series with a regular myriad of spin-offs to tag along.
We are going to look at the 15 best games to start within the Dragon Quest series from best to worst while highlighting mostly their pros rather than cons. As most regular gamers would agree, it’s usually best to start from the early installments of a game franchise when playing, to get a good grip of the story timeline, but this is apparently not the case with our dear Dragon Quest.
1. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (2004)
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This was the first game in the series to have fully developed 3D environments and character models. It follows the silent Hero (main character) and his party of allies as they try to defeat Dhoulmagus.
It is one of Sony’s Greatest Hits games and first in its series to be called Dragon Quest instead of Dragon Warrior in North America. It is also the biggest-selling game ever for the PS2 console in Japan.
It featured simplicity in gameplay which had been criticized in previous installments.
2. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (1990)
This installment featured an innovative five-act story, making it one of Nintendo Power’s favourite old-school role-playing games. It was the first game in the series to spawn its own spin-offs.
By making its only goal to collect money and allowing players to have Torneko simply working in an in-game store, it proudly stood out from other standard RPG’s.
3. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (2017)
Dragon Quest XI boasts of one of the most impressive visuals in the series, with traditional turn-based combat, plot and characters. It displayed excellent command of the “in’s and out’s” of its genre the way few other games did.
It also introduced brilliant English localization in its storyline, earning it a Famitsu Game of the Year and Excellence Prize Award.
4. Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (1992)
The story in this title is divided by different periods, something that has appeared in very few video games. It has one of the best “coming of age” themes and mature storytelling in the system.
That even gets better with age as it resonates with players with a more mature and experienced perspective going through similar phases in their own life.
5. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (2009)
Number 5 holds a Guinness World Record for its anonymous communication mode.
It is considered harder than the other Dragon Quest games before it. One of its key features is allowing players to have cooperative wireless multiplayer experience with up to 4 players.
Also, characters are created and chosen by the player and players have more control over their characters’ appearance, unlike previous games.
6. Dragon Quest III: Soshite Densetsu (1989)
The first three Dragon Quest games are part of the same story, but Dragon Quest III is the first game chronologically. It featured a class system and was notable for expanding greatly upon the gameplay of the original Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest II by introducing a night and day system as well as an in-game bank.
It is the most successful title in the series due to the sales of the original and the remakes.
7. Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (1995)
Boasting of a very unique storyline and innovative scenario, Dragon Quest VI featured a unique real-world and dream world setting. It was also one of the titles to adapt a class system in its gameplay.
8. Dragon Quest X: Mezameshi Itsutso no Shukozu Online (2011)
Dragon Quest X turned the tables by integrating the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) feature into its framework. It characterized an openness to accept novice players of MMORPG who are less than experienced in the genre.
It although received less than impressive reviews from gaming critics due to its disappointing graphics and texture and also issues with messaging other players when online.
9. Dragon Quest VII: Eden no Senshi-tachi (2000)
Our ninth selection is best known for its huge size. The ability to talk with the party characters in and out of battles was added to this installment. It also featured an extensive class system that allowed players to customize their characters and learn abilities, quite similar to Dragon Quest VI.
One of its key features was its high difficulty, which instead of making the game frustrating, made it more of an accomplishment when you completed a task.
10. Dragon Quest (1986)
The first role-playing video game in the Dragon Quest franchise, Dragon Quest was actually to become the second part in a trilogy.
Players controlled a hero character charged with saving the kingdom of Alefgard and rescuing its princess from the evil Dragon Lord. What better way to start a story than from the beginning?
11. Dragon Quest I & II (1999)
This was actually a remake of the first two Dragon Quest games, Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest II. It featured enhanced graphics and more streamlined gameplay taken from the fifth entry.
12. Dragon Quest II: Akuryō no Kamigani (1987)
The second installment of the franchise but the third chronologically in the trilogy, Dragon Quest II was the first game in the series to feature multiple heroes and enemies in a battle, not leaving out a sailing ship.
It was generally known for fixing problems found in the first game, adding upgrades such as parties of three characters, a larger world scene, much better graphics and the ability to carry on more items.
13. Dragon Quest Builders (2016)
One of the many spin-offs of the Dragon Quest trademark, Dragon Quest Builders, has often been called a Dragon Quest version of Minecraft and compared to games like Dark Cloud (2000) and ActRaiser (1990).
It features a blocky aesthetic style, with gathering and building elements, hence its resemblance to Minecraft.
14. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (2005)
Rocket Slime is a quality spin-off from the franchise and a sequel to Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest: Shōgeki no Shippo Dan, released for the Game Boy Advance gaming device. It stars the common enemy and mascot of the series, a Slime, with this one, in particular, being named Rocket.
15. Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and The Tower of Mirrors (2007)
Another spin-off from the series, it was published for the Wii game console. It utilized an on-rails first-person battle system. It didn’t possess a game over feature, for upon defeat, players are returned back to town where they would have lost half of their money and any newly acquired items, but retained all the experience points gained. It also included several mini-games which could be played alone or with up to three friends.