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Dragon Questing V Part II [GO]
July 2nd, 2009 by Dan

When we last left off, young Dan had arrived on land in Littlehaven after dreaming that his father was a king. Exciting! Except Pankraz seems to just be a wanderer, but a well-respected guy. Almost everyone Dan can talk to seems to think that Pankraz is the finest specimen of a man they’ve ever met and that he’s bound to grow up to be as great as his old man. As Dan continued to wander around, he eventually found his way outside of the city and onto the world map. Here he got into his first random encounter with monsters! Before Dan even has a chance to get worried, Pankraz shows up to save the day and WRECK SOME MONSTERS. Holy cow, Pankraz is a tough guy. Nothing seems to faze him and he mows through monsters with ease. If Dan starts to dip in HP, Pankraz will heal him up. He takes control and walks Dan back over to his hometown, Whealbrook.

Anyone who has played an RPG before knows that he will eventually be as much of a bad ass as Pankraz currently is. They understand that all it takes is some serious grinding and eventually they will be plenty strong. It might not be so clear to them that Yuji Horii is taking this obvious gameplay mechanic and using it to convey a specific artistic point. You see, the difficulty with art in video gaming is that developers seem to forget what tools they have available in their repertoire. There’s not just storytelling or music or art; there’s also mehanics. Kojima is a developer who gets this. All you need to do is see how he toys with the gamer with his post-modern conventions to convey his point. Just think about the ending to Metal Gear Solid 3. The player, as Snake, had to physically choose to kill The Boss. It wasn’t a cutscene. You had to pull the trigger on your mentor so that, assuming you were fully invested in the game, you too would feel the anguish and weight of the decision to kill her to progress the plot. It’s stuff like this that truly brings games to artistic levels. What Yuji Horii is doing with these Pankraz-assisted battles is showing the player what his potential is based on the experience system. You fight alongside your father, whom everyone says you resemble and comments that you might grow up to be like, and see that, heck, with a little bit of experience I might grow up to be just like my dad. It’s really clever when you stop to think about it.

Also clever: Since you are a young lad, your world is colored by this fact. Walk Dan up to a sign and press the action button and he gets a message that reads something like “Dan tries to read the sign, but he can’t read.” Brilliant.

I’m not going to go over every event in DQV, just things that stand out to me or major plot points. In Whealbrook Dan meets a girl named Bianca and does some questing with her in two different cities and gets a Golden orb. Importance can be derived from this meeting, so I mention it. Bianca will probably reappear later as will the sabrecat I affectionately named Leo, just based on how the game treated those two things.

In our next part, Dan and Pankraz arrive in Coburg for some bodyguard duty.


One Response  
  • Eric Mesa writes:
    July 2nd, 200912:38at

    Awesome puns and creativity. It all “started” with in-game tutorials in Final Fantasy where they make it a little more part of the game and a little less 4th Wall breaking. Now neat puns like this.


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