A core aspect of the Dragon Quest franchise revolves around a staunch adherence to its own tradition. Unlike, for example, the history of Final Fantasy, which proves a series can be endlessly self-referential while still pushing to evolve, much of Dragon Quest has stayed the same. The music, art, sound effects, and monster design are removed and tweaked slightly, if at all, only to be packed away again for later use. It’s part of what makes the series what it is, and to mess with that formula now would no doubt alienate fans.
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This traditional simplicity is responsible for both Dragon Quest Treasures’ charm and shortcomings alike. While the game’s failures are glaring ones, and in a strict one-to-one comparison its achievements would only grant the game an overall middling value, Dragon Quest Treasures is ultimately greater than the sum of its parts. When all is said and done, the game is fun, cute, and charming, more so than it is frustrating at least.
In this open-world action RPG, players follow the journey of Erik and Mia, adventurous young siblings who begin the story as members of a Viking crew. They run into a flying pig, Porcus, and cat, Purrsula, and are swept away to a magical land: a collection of islands in the shape of dragons, suspended in the air. This new world, Draconia, is where the events of the game unfold.
It’s soon explained that treasure hunters are the most influential and admired people in Draconia. Once the protagonists make their way through some establishing events, the player’s primary goal, and the main thrust of gameplay, is revealed: to establish a treasure-hunting gang of their own and see it thrive. By venturing out to the game’s five expansive islands, they’ll dig up treasure, reconnect a long abandoned rail system, and help NPC’s with a collection of side quests, all while teaming up with classic Dragon Quest monsters, like the iconic slime enemy. At the center of the five islands lies a…