Dragon Quest IX is still awesome

After a long hiatus I am going back into Dragon Quest IX and the game is still as fun as it was last time I played it. 
 

Various Japanese DQ games and guides and some stuff in English 
Various Japanese DQ games and guides and some stuff in English 
I usually get to a point in Dragon Quest games (and this is true for old Final Fantasy games as well) when the world just seems a little bit too open and expansive and you are left not really knowing where you are supposed to go. This moment usually coincides with the acquisition of a ship, either regular or of the flying variety.  It was at this point that I last stopped playing because I wasn't in the mood to deal with that back then. 
 
 Two Legend of Roto sets, DQ IV characters and metal slime PS2 controller
 Two Legend of Roto sets, DQ IV characters and metal slime PS2 controller
Now after having gone back in I realize that they game does a fairly good job of funneling you where you need to go. Right now I am at some sort of school that sits on top of a dungeon and I am in the process of grinding XP to defeat the boss that thoroughly wiped me out the first time I ventured down there. 
 
Something that the game doesn't do very well however is explain to you how, when and where you are able to use alchemy or change the classes of your party members. I will have to look that up in a guide it seems. But that's usually the case with old school Japanese RPGs. 
  
 My monster collection
 My monster collection
 The grinding process is not nearly as tedious as it could be in the older games, it seems like they have realized that since these games always involve grinding to a certain extent they could just as well try to make it as low impact as possible. I believe this is also the case when it comes to Dragon Quest IV on the DS and like the other DS remakes. 
 
I have a real problem with finishing RPGs, but when it comes to Dragon Quest I most often get through them and that, together with my love of the art style and old school mechanics, is why the Dragon Quest games are the only Japanese RPGs I play anymore.
 
On a related note, I am very much looking forward to Dragon Quest X and I am very curious to see what type of game it is going be, if they are going to continue with the more open class system they have in Dragon Quest IX or if they are going back to set characters like in the older Dragon Quest games. Releasing it on the Wii is also an interesting choice, and it is going to be the biggest RPG on the Wii for sure and maybe the swan song of the system itself. With Nintendos next console coming out next year the question also arises whether Dragon Quest X will be remade for the new console or if it will atleast have some features that can only be accessed if it is played on that console. 
 
Also this post gave me an excuse to show off some of my Dragon Quest collection, so please enjoy the poorly shot images! 
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