<p>So what dragon quest game would you recommend to someone who has not played the series before and what dragon quest in the best representation of the series.</p>
I don't know that it necessarily matters. I know that I would really like to play from the beginning, but as is typical idiotic game industry fashion, that requires multiple handhelds, multiple consoles, a bunch of ebay hunting, etc... because putting out all the older ones on a cartridge for a 3ds for $60 would be too much work.
I recommend starting with either the DS remake of DQ V or DQ VIII on the PS2.
Just keep in mind before going into either that Dragon Quest, even in its most recent entries, is a hardcore old-school JRPG. Be prepared for a lot of random encounters and required level grinding.
Yeah, DQ 5. Remember to use the party chat button a lot: They have things to say about pretty much every location and every NPC you talk to.
DQ 8 is also good, but I don't think Level 5's games feel quite right. DQ 9 is pretty bad, so only play it if you've played the rest.
I like 7 the best and I'm considering buying a 3DS just to play the remake.
@totaboy: I like VII, but it seems to drag on in the later parts. Have they made any changes to the structure and pacing in the remake?
I second getting V on the DS or VIII on PS2. I really hope we get another one like those on real consoles again. I would probably buy a PS4 solely to get a single player DQ on it.
VIII is one of the best to start with. The battle and skill point system is straight forward and easy to get used to. One of the biggest strengths of VIII is the world and the atmosphere, the world map is huge, the characters all have a lot of charm (Partly due to the interesting voicework) and the soundtrack is great. The Western release of VIII was modernised a bit, so it's easier to get into the series with it.
@totaboy: What didn't you like about IX? I thought the main quest was a bit weak, but everything else (Post-game, quests, treasure maps, all of the customisation, DLC, etc) really made up for it.
@petiew: What I dislike most is that your entire party is custom made. They have no personality and no dialogue.
The polygonal fighting is very slow and ugly. They should have used sprites like the old games to speed things up.
Rendering four characters causes awful slowdowns, while running around solo is smooth... No good.
I also didn't like the story... Overall it just doesn't feel like Dragon Quest. As if it were a cheap clone or something. Those are my thoughts anyway...
I've only played a little bit of Dragon Quest VIII and so far I've really liked it. The graphics hold up very well and the localization is excellent. Jeremy Parish of 1Up has spoken very highly of the DQV remake for DS, so you could check that out. I plan on doing so once I get a DS myself.