Better Late than Never: Etrian Odyssey IV

When I was growing up, I tended to play the games that my older brother purchased for the NES and later the SNES (and later the Playstation). My brother picked up Final Fantasy for NES, and so I would later play Final Fantasy II (IV) after he finished it on SNES. When I later learned of other JRPG franchises, I noticed the Dragon Quest franchise. I don’t think we’d ever played it. And if we did, I don’t remember it. My brother, in some conversation a long time ago by now, mentioned that Final Fantasy had appealed to him over Dragon Quest because in the former you could see your characters while you’re fighting.

And so we became two of millions of Final Fantasy fans.

This post isn’t about the Final Fantasy series, for once. Nor is it even about Dragon Quest. I just wanted to bring attention to the way Dragon Quest presents its battles for most of the series (up until IX, I believe?). You only see the enemy. You don’t see your own characters. Later on you’d get to see graphical displays of the spells you cast and so on. Such a way of presenting battles never really appealed to me.

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Radiant Historia? Huh?

As someone who started seriously gaming during the SNES era, I’ve always been fond of the 16-bit Japanese RPG. The expanded capabilities the SNES offered allowed for more complex games, which also turned out to be somewhat less tedious than their NES ancestors. Final Fantasy IV-VI are an excellent example of this. And while RPGs on the Playstation benefited from enhanced graphics capabilities and a larger storage capacity, they were really just 16-bit RPGs on better hardware when you get down to it. Many of them, anyway. Games gradually evolved through the Playstation era and changed until you got the PS2 era when RPGs were noticeably different.

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