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on June 25, 2014
This is a must have RPG for the DS (or your 3DS) but your mileage will depend on your tastes.

If you were bred on old school NES RPGs like Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior I/II/III, then you will definitely love this game. The battle system combines the tension mechanic from Dragon Quest 8, with the job system from previous games (III, VI, VII). You get to customize your own characters like in III, but get modern options in terms of appearance and gender like many MMORPGs. For the main story, you really don't have to grind much, but post game you definitely will need to in order to defeat the bosses whom are much more powerful than those in the main line. The biggest plus is that the post game is definitely 4 to 5 times the length of the main game, I think I spent around 50 to 60 hours in the main game but have clocked in close to 200+ hours and still have much to do. However, do note that if you purchase this game now you will be unable to download ~60 plus DLC quests because the Nintendo WIFI service disconnected in May 2014. Still, there is enough post game quests that will last you at least 150 hours total.

One valid complaint that many reviewers have is that there is no character development between your characters or the other characters you create, which is emphasized in games like Persona 4 Golden or even Dragon Quest 8. My opinion is this design is intentional since the game is suppose to mimic an MMO, your characters are more like avatars and thus there is greater development in the world storyline. Again, this harkens back to plot design from the old school RPGs and didn't really bother me that much, but Im sure alot of new school RPGers might knock off a star because of it.

Despite that one fault, this is still definitely one of the best RPGs on the DS and should definitely be in your collection if you are a fan of the RPG genre.
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on June 21, 2016
This is a great game. Like the other DragonQuest games, this one has a great story and is full of adventure, quests, area's to explore and secrets to discover. The class base in this game is a bit different than other DragonQuest games. You get to pick and choose any class you want to play and level up in that area as you see fit. There's also an area in the Inn that you can trade party members with other players or hire mercenaries. One thing that is also unique are the random dungeons that just appear on the map throughout the game. There's some secrets and hidden things as well based on your performance in certain maps. The graphics are pretty cute and standard for the time this game was released. It's a definite must-have if you like RPG's.
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on January 14, 2018
Though DQIX is a fantastic game in it's own right, you can't play a good amount of it anymore, as a majority of the game is locked into DS Nintendo Wi-Fi connectivity, which was cancelled years ago.

Still a very good RPG, and will eat well over a hundred hours if you're willing to feed them in, but some of the quests and items are lost forever.
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on September 14, 2012
I'm playing this game right now and it is very enjoyable. The world map is huge. There is a lot of exploring to be done. The story is pretty typical of the genre and the main quest is what you'd expect, but there is a lot of interesting content off the beaten path which makes this a great game. Here are some examples:

1) Quests - By talking to certain NPCs (or otherwise interacting with the environment) you can find quests that are separate from the central story line. Some of these are silly, most result in money or rare items. Some unlock additional vocations, which are useful for progress in the main storyline.

2) Alchemy - Certain items that you acquire can be alchemized together to create new, special items. Some items are dropped by specific enemies. Some are found in particular regions or natural phenomena. Old equipment can be alchemized into better equipment and super strength items can also be made. There is a nice 'Battle Records' system that tracks all of the monsters and items you encounter - where the monsters are found and which monsters drop which items. This is useful for gathering items for alchemy recipes.

3) Grottoes - You can acquire treasure maps throughout the game that show you the location of secret dungeons called grottoes. You have to use the treasure map to find the 'X' and then click on the location to reveal the dungeon. I've only unlocked one such dungeon and the boss is tough as hell.

4) Mini medals - These can be found in pots, barrels and treasure chests. As you collect them, you can redeem them for special items.

5) Restocked vessels - Blue treasure chests and pots can be 'restocked'. So you can return to an area you already visited, and those vessels will be replenished. A small feature but it gives you some incentive to revisit areas.

6) Secret skeleton keys - You can find skeleton keys in the game that allow you to unlock certain locked chests/doors.

The amount of customization you can do to your party, including creating your characters from scratch and assigning, changing and finding the best combination of vocations, is a cool feature. The only drawback is that since you create the characters, there isn't much story surrounding them. The story is really only relevant to the main character. Regardless, this is a top-notch game.
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on January 31, 2013
I purchased this game several months ago, since I enjoyed the original Dragon Warrior game (which was called "Dragon Quest" in Japan) for the NES many years ago.

When you start the game, you have a great deal of customization for the main character, and can choose from hundreds of possibilities, both male and female.

Plot-wise, after creating and naming your character, you start the game as a Celestrian (basically an angel) whose job is to farm goodwill from the townspeople. Once you succeed, the main plot begins with your character literally falling from the heavens, losing some of his Celestrian abilities (wings, halo) in the process but not others.

Overall, the plot is very well done. There is a lot of humor in the game, as well as touching moments and a great deal of tragedy. And, as the plot nears its closure, you find you have a difficult choice to make to save the world.

Gameplay is turn-based. You can choose a Tactic and have each party member fight automatically, or you can give orders to each party member like traditional turn-based RPGs. Tactics tell each member to focus on something like "Healing" "No Holds Barred" (use magic and techniques) "No Magic" (refrain from using MP) and so forth.

In addition, each party member does not have a fixed occupation. Once you solve the Alltrades Abbey quest, you can change any party member's job. They retain the abilities and bonuses of each job (for example, a Paladin's resilience or a Mage's higher magic points). Switching jobs is crucial to strengthen each party member. For example, your Mage will be less fragile with some levels as a Paladin under her belt.

With this in mind, Dragon Quest is a game which loves level grinding. Expect a lot of "go beat up monsters for an hour" to strengthen your party members in their 16 jobs. In other words, if you try to rush through the game, you will fail. One person who reached 100% completion (which I did not do) took 600 hours to do so.

A small part of this is you can perform Alchemy to create medicines and items. Powerful items often require rare item drops from high level monsters. This is the only way to create the best items in the game.

There is also an entire treasure Grotto system, where the game generates random dungeons to explore, with a boss at the end. These give some of the best items. This offers further playability once the main quest is beaten. And the main quest takes at least 40 hours to complete, not including the required time to grind the party members.

Overall, the game is a great value in turn-based role playing games. It is also a lot of fun. There are also add-ons available for the game which add more side-quests.
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on October 20, 2012
The way that it feels to play this game and the style of the story fit very comfortably within what the Dragon Quest series has historically been. Whether you've enjoyed this series in the past will be a very good indicator of whether you will like this one as well.

There is some grinding involved, though I don't find this as annoying in a DS game as I might elsewhere because the portable device makes it very easy to pick it up for 10 minutes, knock out a few battles, then get back to doing something else. It generally becomes a lot easier to get through that kind of stuff in small spurts, rather than sitting down and putting in hours.

The story did a pretty good job of holding my interest, though there were some plot twists that were surprising and others that weren't. There is clearly a lot of bonus content that comes after you finish the main quest, and some of it does sound a little interesting. It just seemed like it was going to involve a lot more grinding than I would be happy to do. If you have a limited game budget or are looking for something to give to a kid, that bonus content looks like it would stretch the potential play time out a very long way. For me, I was happy with the value I got just focusing on the main plot, so I preferred to move on to the next game.
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on September 11, 2010
I'm an online MMORPG gamer, and am always in search of a great game in this realm. Who'd have thought that you could get a near-MMORPG game on a DS! These folks have achieved this in Dragon Quest IX.

DQIX has a LOT of bang for the buck. This game not only does not disappoint but it goes above and beyond one's expectations.

GAMEPLAY:
The gameplay at first was disappointing to me - I felt like I was running through a field in a Pokeman game, having monsters pop up in the field to fight. But I soon realized how different this game was than that. It's very cool when you have several characters and you sit and watch them fight. The animations are fantastic. Today I saw my healer party heal for the first time - it's a really lovely animation and comes unexpectedly. Little things like that make the gameplay and fighting really fun.

GRAPHICS:
Graphics are GREAT! I'm playing on the DS Lite and they look awesome.

STORYLINE:
I'm all about the story in my games - the better the story the more I love the game. The story is easy to understand and your goals area clear.

CHARACTER CREATION AND PARTY MEMBERS:
It's best when games give you some control over the creation of your characters. DQIX allows you to create cute or cool playing character that fit you. But what I found cooler was the capability to make your own additional characters (with their own classes) to run with you. You get to set all their skills as each character levels.

WEAPONS AND ARMOR:
There are a LOT of items here! Who doesn't love collecting equipment and weapons, and when you get a new one checking it out to see if one of your characters can get an upgrade? Fighting in blue jeans that offer good defense for my newish character - yeah!

NEGATIVES:

1. I was attracted to this game from the Nintendo Channel (Wii) videos where they reviewed the tag mode. I really liked this feature and thought it'd be great. However, I've been out many days now and haven't tagged anyone. There actually has to be someone else out there with their game on in tag mode that runs across you, so you can get folks in your inn. What's the chance of that? Slim to none it's seeming. I've been told to go find meetups or make my own. Ack. In Japan they're not having problems with this because of the craze of the game there, but here in the US it's a problem. If you think you're going to just go out to the store and run across 30 people (so you can upgrade your inn) you'll be disappointed. I still have hope that over some months there'll be a few that I'll tag, but I really don't see how. I'm an adult and don't have any other friends near me that game. If you're still in high school or younger, there's probably a better chance of getting tagged more quickly.

2. I wish there was a true world-multiplayer mode. Other DS games I've had had the capability to play with others across the world. I'm not sure why they didn't include this type of gameplay in the game. This would have resolved the first negative issue I have with this game. If Animal Crossing can let your game have visitors from across the world, why not this game? Having this feature would make the game PERFECT.

Regardless of these negatives, I give this game five stars because I'm so pleased with it.
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on March 6, 2014
I adore this cutesy game. You have the power to fully customize your character up to the clothing, job/class, and skills and spells you could learn. I've contributed 200+ hours upon this monster and still have a ways to go. You can harvest, kill monsters, and play with the Krock Pot. I recommend this game for those who like turn-based games and animated cut scenes. The Amazon services were also pretty good, considering it had to go to Alaska. Thanks!
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on September 13, 2010
I have spent 50+ hours on DQ9 and have finished the main game. I plan to continue with it until either I have collected all the monsters, or my own name shows up in red (I am 65). I have played all or part of all Dragon Quest/Warrior games released in the US since the original, twenty or so years ago.

There are many things to praise in DQ9: the tough bosses, interesting dungeons, the treasure map/grotto system, the endless items and challenge quests, and the graphics (especially the outdoor battle backdrops). These are all 5-star caliber. Also noteworthy are the large number of puns in the monster and place names (e.g., a village called "Brigadoom").

There are, however, several flaws.

First and foremost, the routine battles tend to be predictable and one-sided. The way for a game designer to avoid this is simple: have enough, and tough enough, enemies on the screen that some of them are likely to get in their licks against the party for several rounds. Given a strong party, this often means there must be four, five, or more foes in an enemy party. This tended more to be the case in some of the older DragonQuest/Warrior games. However, it appears that the game designer for DQIX was more concerned that the monsters show up in sufficient detail on the screens to satisfy his art director, than that the non-boss battles offer much interest or challenge. Thus most such battles have one to three monsters, do little damage to the party, and follow a predictable pattern. Since the player is forced to engage in huge numbers of them to raise money and level up, this is a serious flaw.

Another bad thing is that 60 or so of the challenge quests have to be downloaded. There is no more chance of my ever downloading anything for a video game than of the Starlight Express pulling up in front of my house! We live in an area with no cable and poor Internet access. Oh, well, that does leave 120 side quests I can do.

Finally, the music is rather lackluster. The only tune in DQIX I look foward to hearing is the one played in the grottoes, which is taken from earlier DQ/DW games.

I hope the designers will bear these criticisms in mind, especially the first one, for DQ10.
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on November 7, 2013
This excellent game captures the spirit of older Dragon Quest games and merges it with modern graphics. Not only is this the best DS RPG I have played, but it is one of the best RPGs I have played on any system. The graphics are colorful, the battle animations are fun, the story is good, and the dialog is entertaining. The game is huge, and there are plenty of things to do. Being able to change classes once you get to a certain point adds an extra level of depth. The game play is so much fun, that even tedious experience grinding is enjoyable.

The only negative thing I have found is that the game was not designed for the "XL" screens, so people using the larger screens will see black bars on the side on the top screen. Not a big deal, but worth noting.
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