superfluousmoniker's Dragon Quest V: Tenkuu no Hanayome (Nintendo DS) review

Great game, annoying localization

If you've played a Dragon Warrior / Quest game before, you should know what to expect from this old school RPG. That said it's probably my favorite of the series. What sets it apart from other DQ games is mainly the marriage option and the monster recruitment system, which adds some Pokemon-style flavor. The marriage choice doesn't have too much of an earth shattering effect on gameplay but it's unique and adds to replayability. It's not quite as hardcore difficult as earlier games in the series while still retaining the challenge which is part of what makes a Dragon Quest game, well, Dragon Quest.

Compared to the SNES original, this version obviously has better graphics which really show off what the DS is capable of in some areas. There are some extras like an expanded set of casino games and some stylus based minigames. There is also a third girl you can marry in this verison but she is a total bitch. Which brings me to the localization.

There's a fair bit of cringeworthy stuff here. There are accents, there are puns, some locations have stupid names. Abovitall Tower? Knot Welcome Inn? RIteof Passage? A certain very dramatic scene is almost ruined by a villan's corny accented speech. A character has been given a Ned Flanders personality, complete with church references. The father of two of the girls you can marry makes endless Itallian food 'jokes'. Leaping Linguini! Thank god there's no voice acting.

Happily, that's about all I have to complain about, and said annoyances are not nearly as egregious as in the DS remake of DQIV, in which nearly every town and every person in it had a different stupid accent. Here it's the exeception rather than the rule. Hopefully by the time VI rolls around they'll have it out of their system.

4 Comments
Posted by ElCapitan

I don't really agree with you on the localization. The Dragon Quest series has always been localized with puns and accents and the like most likely because the Japanese version contains its own puns and playfulness. This isn't Final Fantasy, it's meant to be cuter, friendlier, and funnier. That being said, the rest of this review is pretty good. I'm really enjoying this game so far (my kids just saved me for the first time). Nice work.

Posted by SuperfluousMoniker
@el33tcapitan: Mostly I was upset with the way they treated the villains. Ladja, the Behemoose, etc seemed out of place. I can't read Japanese so I don't know how they came across in the original but it bugged me.

I remember the old games in the series being translated in all 'Olde English' with everything sounding like 'Thou hast gained 13 experience points.' After DW 2 they switched to a more natural English, but the puns and accents didn't start until the DS remakes near as I can tell so I always assumed the translation team of the remakes decided to 'spice up' the script. If there's corny dialogue in the Japanese version intending to be humorous that pretty much changes everything.
Posted by ElCapitan
@SuperfluousMoniker: I was worried that I might have been wrong and that I was confusing games in what I told you, so I checked in on what I said with a person I know who lives in Japan and realized learned that the puns, which I know bother you a lot, are mostly added by the localization.

The accents, on the other hand, are sometimes related to the Japanese. Yangus (DQVIII), for example, speaks in a made-up dialect in Japanese created by adding endings onto his speech. They chose to interpret that as a Cockney accent in the voiceover. So some of the characters are "meant" to have accents, but I have no way of knowing how many.

Sorry about contradicting you there in the comments, but I hope this clears things up. I kind of like the puns, but that's cause I love most puns, even the terrible ones.
Posted by SuperfluousMoniker
@el33tcapitan: That's interesting, thanks for the follow up info. I remember hearing before that Cyan in Final Fantasy VI always uses the honorific in Japanese, which was translated into an olde english dialect in the US release; there's probably a similar kind of thing going on here.

*Early game spoiler*
Which is perfectly accectable to an extent, but like I mentioned it was the villans that really irked me the most. It reminded me of those bad anime dubs like Dragon Ball Z or Yugioh when they try to insert humor into dramatic scenes. How am I supposed to feel when Ladja speaks in broken Russian and says, 'Oh voy voy!' right after killing my father? Likely he had an unusual way of speaking in the Japanese as well but the translation team could have thought of a better way to implement it while keeping the scene dramatic. When I got to that point in an unofficial fan translation of the SNES version years ago I found that scene truly moving. In the remake all I could do was groan. I won't spoil it, but they muck up another scene with Ladja near the end of the game. And they have the final boss using leet speak for crying out loud.

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