Perfection: isn’t it the very thing that all artists strive for? I understand if your answer is no, but I don’t believe that any creator doesn’t at least think once about making something perfect. It takes a truly unique person to want flaws in something they put their heart and souls into. So what the heck am I getting at?
As a creator myself, I’ve been struggling with the concept of perfection; does it even really exist? To some people, Citizen Kane is the perfect piece of cinema because of the way it’s shot, but to me part of a good movie is an interesting story and Kane just didn’t have that. Everybody wants something different from specific mediums and that’s why we can’t have an objective example of perfection.
Within all my days of gaming I really have only seen one example of a perfect game. By that I mean a title has a mix of exciting, fun and fulfilling gameplay and narrative. Not every song on the soundtrack has to be groundbreaking and memorable, not every second has to be blissful; to ask for that is to ask for the impossible. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was the only perfect video game I’d played. And then I played Dragon Quest V.
In the past I’ve described myself as “addicted to the sense of progression”. I stand by that remark and it’s the cause of my recent JRPG addiction. Seeing numeric evidence of my progression is immensely satisfying.
After finishing Dragon Quest I on my phone and then falling in love with Dragon Quest IV on my DS, I decided it was time to jump into a fan favorite, the fifth entry.
For 1992 DQV was an ambitious title. Yes you’ll still get those same sound effects, themes and monsters since Dragon Quest is all about traditionalism. But there are some ideas truly unique to this entry.
For one, the story takes you through the life of one man, from infancy to parenthood. You explore a vast world and by talking to everybody you see connections everywhere, it feels organic. You can choose a wife, name your kids and talk to your party members anytime for witty dialogue or tips. This isn’t a series usually praised for its narrative, and yet Dragon Quest V sports one of the greatest stories I’ve seen in video games. Yes it’s the classic “evil being wants to destroy mankind” but it’s the sprinkles and toppings that make the sundae complete.
From a gameplay side, we have the very mechanic that inspired Pokemon, yes Pokemon. You don’t always have humans to fight by your side in DQ V, so you can actually recruit monsters to fight alongside you. Side note: I find it a bit cooler than Pokemon to actually fight with your monsters instead of having them do all your bidding for you.
If you remember my Dragon Quest IV article, you may recall that my only complaint was a lack of guidance; too many times did I have to look up what to do or where to go. The fifth entry solves that with not only the aforementioned party member dialogue but a fortuneteller as well. So what do we have here?
- Monster catching alongside traditional parties- exciting, fun and fulfilling.
- A narrative that takes you throughout one persons whole life- exciting fun and fulfilling.
For the second time in my life I’ve played a video game that was perfect. I won’t spoil a thing, but the option of three wives leaves me with a severe desire to revisit the game. There are still stones left unturned, dungeons left unexplored and I’m sure secret bosses alive. I will revisit Dragon Quest V annually like I do with Majora’s Mask. I like to challenge my idea of perfection: at one point I thought The Wind Waker was a perfect game, but now I do not.
Dragon Quest V is not only the greatest JRPG I’ve ever played, it’s quite possibly the best game I’ve played.
So guys how many games have you played that deserve the title perfect? Do you think perfection can even exist in our medium? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply. As always, thanks for reading.