Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride review

  • The enormous journey from boy to man
  • The entertaining bonus content
  • Building a party all your own
  • The borderline-insulting stereotypical accents
  • Parting with characters you just learned to love
  • DQV's Ned Flanders equivalent, Dr. Agon

And while the basic gameplay is the same very straightforward, turn-based RPG setup the series has always used, there are some welcome and surprising changes in the party system too. Unlike in previous and future DQs, you never have a "set" party, thanks to the grand timeline of the story and its many twists. You can never count on a human character to be there for you, so you must put your trust in monsters. By which we mean you need to let them join the party.

As most DQ monsters are cuter than they are imposing, especially the marquee Slime, having monsters fill out empty spaces in your party works fine aesthetically as well as in practice. Your monster squad is totally random, it levels up, learns spells, equips things, all the basics. Only occasionally do beaten monsters end up on your team, which makes the group you cultivate feel earned, personal and unique.

In addition to that ocean of story and gameplay depth, this wouldn't be an AAA-level remake without a ton of extras. Aside from minor new additions to the story (only those who played it before would notice them), several minigames and collectible items in every town will keep you playing even longer. Whether it's Slime races, poker, Whac-A-Mole starring Slimes, or the unbelievably addictive board game T'n'T, there are many exciting ways to fall off the game’s central path.

DQ V is a missing link for western gamers, a step forward in RPG design that, when played now, puts many design choices in later works into perspective. And though current titles have built on its innovations in the years since its release, this advancement in storytelling is still captivating now. The adventure in Dragon Quest V is a history lesson in two ways: not only do you explore the exciting and full life of its hero, but it’s also a look into an important stage in the evolution of RPGs.

Feb 13, 2009

More Info

Release date: Feb 17 2009 - DS (US)
Feb 20 2009 - DS (UK)
Available Platforms: DS
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Square Enix
Developed by: Chunsoft
Franchise: Dragon Quest
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Alcohol Reference, Simulated Gambling, Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:


  • misfit119 - February 14, 2009 5:25 p.m.

    Ya know, I've never been able to get into this game. Perhaps it's the whole "controlling a child hero" part that I've never been able to wrap my mind around. But I've never been able to play this one for very long without getting annoyed and shutting it off.
  • JimmySmurf - February 13, 2009 9:44 p.m.

    Awesome review for an awesome game! Good job Henry!
  • garnsr - February 13, 2009 10:19 p.m.

    So many great old games to play (Sonic's Genesis Collection, Retro Game Challenge also coming my way) and I've wanted to play this for almost half my life. I just finished up the 4 remake, and I played through the first three on GB and the original NES versions, so I'm stoked for this.
  • garnsr - February 26, 2009 4:33 a.m.

    Hooray, they got rid of having to press a button for every single thing that happens in battle!

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