An Old-School RPG with a Great Storyline
I would not recommend Dragon Quest V if it wasn't for the game's absolutely epic and emotionally driven storyline. Bottom-line, if you want an RPG with a strong, gripping narrative, check this game out.
Superficially, the story resembles a lot of other JRPGs, in that you play a male hero with the ultimate task of saving the world from destruction. But Dragon Quest V has a few twists on this narrative, in that it's not really about the hero's mission and what he needs to do, but how the world changes him.
You literally play the game beginning from the moment your character is born, to playing him as a child, and eventually as a husband and father. The progression feels natural and you really feel a tight bond with your character as the hours pass.
The subtitle, Hand of the Heavenly Bride, is related to one of the game's most important themes: marriage and love. Halfway through your adventure, your character will need to choose a wife, and who you choose affects the relationships you develop with her and your kids later on. You really grow to care about the family you eventually raise, which gives the game a heart that most games just don't have.
So the storyline I found immensely satisfying, but what about the gameplay? DQV is a traditional turn-based RPG that keeps things simple and fast. Monster battles are frequent, but they are usually very quick and won't every get too boring. As with most RPGs, you level up, get better equipment, face tougher baddies, and on and on. Nothing really about the gameplay is too surprising, but it remains fun and accessible nonetheless.
From a presentation standpoint this game delivers from both a visual and audio front. You're going to see colorful, beautifully rendered envrionments that are just a delight to watch, especially on the DS. The sprite work is a bit simple and could have benefitted from some more varied animations, but as it stands its perfectly fine. And finally, the musical score is one of the best I've heard in any game.
If you're hesistant on trying this game because it might feel outdated or too old-fashioned, throw those fears away. I played this game for the first time in 2009 and it is one of the best RPGs I've ever played.