7th Dragon III Code: VFD is a traditional JRPG where you take control of a custom avatar and build a party and save the world. The game’s plot takes place in Tokyo, but takes you all over time and space from ancient Atlantis to the sewers of Tokyo, and to the future! You and your team take on dragons and enemies alike, and the worst of it: The True Dragons. Under the guise of a game developer, Nodens and you fight to protect the world from the coming of the 7th True Dragon.
At the time of writing this review, I’m at chapter 3.6 with 15 hours of gameplay under my belt. My party consists of a GodHand, Fortuner, and Samurai. The game features multiple class types to suit your gameplay style. Whether you favor magic, or physical attacks, or if you’re like me, and favor a defensive strategy; you’re going to have a ton of fun designing a good strategy to fight the various enemies in the game. I warn you now, you will need a bit of strategy for a lot of the fights as it can get tricky. On top of that, this game throws in a few curve-balls. When you are fighting dragons, sometimes they will power themselves up a bit and make it harder for you to do any significant amount of damage. While some attacks take down this additional defensive barrier, there is the buddy system in which you can set up to provide additional buffs and do additional damage in combat. The buddy system is an extension of your party system and it’s set up as part of the story. You will need to register more party members, and doing so is as easy as creating more characters. All of your party members receive experience post-fight so you don’t have to worry about having to level up everyone separately. I really enjoyed the combat and it keeps you on edge when you play and pull off successful combo sets.
You have two ways that you’ll engage enemies in-game. One way is with the danger meter that is in the top-left hand side of your screen. When it turns red you will encounter a ‘grunt’ unit as I would call them. These are fairly easy to beat, but beware if you are in proximity to a dragon they will enter or replace a grunt after a few turns of seeing the “Danger” notification flash on the screen. There are two types of dragons that you will fight, the normal type and True Dragons. True Dragons are typical boss fights, but normal dragons are fights you can encounter while exploring the game’s dungeons. They are marked on the map and they are very visible when you see them as they are marked in-game by giant purple dragon heads. Some of these can be difficult and most have various weaknesses associated with them. For the most part I haven’t had an issue with losing encounters so far. I wish there were a bit more enemies to see instead multiple pallet swaps, but given how much this game crams in this is something I can forgive.
For what I have played of the story so far, without spoiling it, it’s very well written. The game doesn’t hold back with language, so be careful around kids. There is a lot of funny moments in the game and a few that will leave you grinning from ear-to-ear, as well as a few moments where you feel for the characters. The game clearly explains itself when needed and I definitely applaud the team behind it for making a novice RPG player feel welcome in to the genre. There hasn’t been any plot holes that I have seen so far. Additionally, the game is structured using a quest system so you get multiple side quest and stories to complete alongside the main game.
The aesthetics and the music in the game are very interesting. Conversation is played out in an anime styled text chat complete with anime styled heads. Gameplay is played out in a chibi-style (small body and big head). The environments are beautiful and vast and very stylized. The game does chug a bit on the New 3DS when there are a lot of effects and items on screen, but it’s not very noticeable and it doesn’t happen during combat. The soundtrack is absolutely my favorite part of the game so far. I couldn’t help but bob my head when some of the songs came on. The customization of your avatar is limited to several pre-designed styles and color palettes, which I feel that the game could have added a bit more here.
Overall, the game offers a lot of variety in how you approach situations. While you can customize your character to an extent, it’s not 100% customization. The combat is beautifully designed and deep, while being simple enough for someone with next to no experience in this genre to understand. The environments are absolutely breathtaking for a 3DS game and the music keeps you wanting to play. The amount of individual enemies is pretty lackluster, but it doesn’t detract from the experience. In the end, I recommend purchasing this game whether you a seasoned veteran of this genre or a beginner. It has something for everyone to enjoy.