A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Numerous examples of moral behavior, from rescuing a cat from being teased by kids to defending a slave girl who's being whipped by her overseers and ridding a castle of malevolent spirits.
Violence & Scariness
Combat is integral to the gameplay. Characters fight with a variety of spells and weapons such as swords, axes, whips, and boomerangs. Felled enemies simply disappear.
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Occasional references to Hell, as an actual place rather than an epithet.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Each town has a pub, and characters refer to "booze" and are sometimes drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although Dragon Quest V isn't as heavy-handed as other RPGs, it explores some themes that very young children might find upsetting, such as the death of a parent, ghosts who desire to cook children and eat them, the destruction of a village, and people being forced into slavery. Religion figures prominently, with frequent references to a "Goddess" figure. Players can visit a church to receive various blessings in exchange for a donation, or to resurrect slain party members. Most towns have pubs in them with somewhat scantily-clad barmaids, and Casinos where players can play slot machines, wager on arena fights, and play a dice-rolling board game.
Is It Any Good?
Like most Japanese role-playing games of that era, Dragon Quest V is driven by a compelling character-centric story and a vast world map to explore filled with towns and dungeons. This is the first game in the series where monsters can be recruited into the party to fight alongside the human characters and that adds a whole new level of interest. Players can equip weapons and armor and engage in turn-based combat, gaining additional spells and abilities as they advance in level. Additionally, players can use the L and R buttons to rotate the screen 360-degrees to reveal hidden passageways and other secrets.
While Dragon Quest V is a great romp, its gameplay betrays one or two old-school RPG trappings that some players might find frustrating, such as the constant random enemy encounters and lack of frequent save points. Even so, the game has definitely aged better than some of its contemporaries. In fact, given how enjoyable Dragon Quest V is overall, it's mind-boggling to think that the series hasn't made its way to Western shores until now. Still, better late than never.
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Our Editors Recommend
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