It's not a bad game, but it's certainly not a friendly game -- something that you'd notice even if you weren't coming off of Dragon Quest IX, and something that is only exacerbated for those who are.Originally released for the Super Famicom in 1995, Dragon Quest VI is the last of the numbered Dragon Quest games to be localized. With IV and V, it forms a "Zenithia Trilogy," loosely connected by a common castle location; however, Dragon Quest VI doesn't really have anything to do with those other games. It takes place in a new world -- two worlds, actually, one of which is a dream version of the other. Your hero and his party discover the dual nature of the world(s), and attempt to find their true selves as they fight the monster attempting to dominate both worlds.
As ever, designer Yuji Horii is able to turn what would be a bog-standard save-the-world quest into a lighthearted, upbeat romp. I honestly don't know the secret behind it -- "We might not be real people, and we're in a town where everyone lives in fear of the monster that attacks every night" shouldn't manage to be so cute. "The king just blinked out of existence! Road trip!" I always love going to a new town (traveling in my floating island, or flying bed) and finding out what its particular quirk is, what ailment I can step in and save.
Combat is, in general, uncomplicated as ever, a turn-based fight/item/magic affair against slimes and other cute, but often deadly, monsters. Each person in your four-member party has unique skills, including healing or offensive magic, special attacks, or status-changing abilities. You know the flow of this already: one character focuses on healing, while your stronger characters pelt enemies with physical attacks and spells. You can even set your party to operate automatically in a few different styles.
One job in particular, the Monster Master, seemed completely incomprehensible until I learned that developer Artepiazza had removed the monster recruiting mechanic from the DS version. Instead of using the Monster Master's abilities to recruit monsters from the battlefield, now you'll just ... meet some monsters in towns. This serves to make the Monster Master class more of a "guy who has some status effect spells" and to confuse the hell out of anyone who doesn't look the game up on Wikipedia before playing. That could be said of the job system in general -- it's largely a mystery without external reading.
That kind of underexplained system, and the difficulty, and the frequent, random battles are all par for the course for a game of Dragon Quest VI's vintage. And, in fact, this is a very good Super NES-era RPG. It's got the same kind of magic that characterizes the Dragon Quest series overall, the kind of storytelling prowess and (mostly) easy to understand battle system that makes it the perfect series for casual role-playing gamers. This particular game, however, is best left to those with a bit of Dragon Questing already under their belts.
This review is based on the DS version of Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation provided by Nintendo. The reviewer played the game for approximately 20 hours, but not to completion.