7th Dragon III Code: VFD Review

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Sega’s 7th Dragon III Code: VFD might seem a bit confusing at first. No, you haven’t missed out on the first two games, actually, as Sega never published them outside of Japan. It’s something that fans of the particular JRPG series have dealt with many times in the past, and more than likely, won’t be changing anytime in the near future. The 7th Dragon series began on the Nintendo DS in 2009, and was developed by the now defunct Imageepoch. Best known for the Luminous Arc series, Imageepoch would go on to release the second game in the series, as well as two spin-offs on the PlayStation Portable, which featured guest character Hatsune Miku.

Luckily for the third installment of the 7th Dragon series, you don’t need to have any knowledge of the previous games. The game revolves around seven Dragons. Each time one awakens, disaster for humanity follows with the fall of civilizations, and if the 7th Dragon VFD were to awaken, it would mean the end of humanity. Your job is collect specimens of each Dragon by defeating them through means of time travel, and along the way, you may change history for the better.

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One of the games biggest focus is character creation. You don’t have many options at the start, having to select from a few pre-built body types for male and female characters, but with color options and, finally, their class type, you also have 40 different Japanese voice actors to select from. I really like the extra effort Sega put into the voice option selection, as the list of 40 names host many prominent names in anime and video games to help create the perfect voice to match your character. I spent a lot of time just trying to pick the perfect voice for each one of my characters. While I’m not a fan of generic characters in a game, Sega actually did a good a pretty good job of making the characters feel more like part of the game than just created characters to fill a role.

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At the start of the game, you create a team comprised of three characters, and you gradually add more characters to your roster, eventually ending up with a team of 9 interchangeable characters in your party. You can switch your active party or in later dungeons you find your teams split up to progress. As you progress through the game you also unlock new classes which give you the ability to find the perfect balance for your teams which took some time for me to find a team that does huge damage but can also defend and heal when needed. All the members of your parties, even those who don’t enter battle all get the same amount of experience so while the first team you created will be the strongest by later in the game, your other teams won’t be holding you back forcing you to grind.

The one thing I really enjoyed in the game was the battle system; it’s simple, yet very deep. Based on your team composition, you have different strategies in place. Having a God Hand gives you the option of weakening your opponents defense and physical attacks while being able to deal heavy damage. Agents can confuse enemies – and even bosses – to attack each other during their turns and also steal SP, replenishing your parties, as well as slow opponents down. Duelists (think Yu-Gi-Oh!) will draw cards that will determine what abilities they can use, but of course you can also use a skill to pull out the cards you want. There are many other useful classes you unlock in the game. For me, my main team throughout most of the game consisted of a God Hand, Agent, and any other class that can be cycled in after the first two already dealt with a lot of the issues, such as a Fortuner, who could cause different status effects on an enemy, boss, or even the Rune Knight, who does heavy damage to Dragons.

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Of course to really take advantage of all of your classes, you will want to unlock and strengthen your skills. Winning battles reward each character with skill points to use. How you use them comes down to your preferred gameplay style, as well as some testing, to see what works. Your reserve teams also play a nice role as support, where each turn they may gain a bar which allows them to activate certain support techniques that can really help you in battle. When all members of your support team are maxed out, you are able to unlock a powerful team attack where everyone gets involved, which is great against bosses.

The gameplay is pretty solid, and is easy to get into and enjoy, as the story ranges from fun and interesting at times. It’s easy to enjoy a lot of the side jobs and quests in the game, which usually center around returning to an area to find items or find people, but it’s the dragon hunting that is both fun and annoying in this game. Each stage offers a few dozen dragons to hunt, with a total of 240 to take down. Early on, the Dragons are a challenge to take down, but by the end of the game, they probably feel more like mid-bosses. One thing that the game does, however, that may turn the tide on you is that the closer you are to a dragon, the easier it might jump into your battle, which you need to take advantage of at times. There is simply a lot to do in the game and while hunting 240 dragons may seem a bit daunting, it makes you feel better when you finally take out every dragon and save the world.

image160113_1515_000There is a level of replayability to the game, with plenty of post game content in incomplete missions or undefeated dragons, so it’s very easy to invest plenty of time in this game. One thing I found by accident while playing the game was that it’s pretty easy to deal with areas when your team splits up. Rather than needing to balance your teams to survive against bosses or enemies, the order of your teams will dictate who is going where, and by returning to the home base and switching the team order around you are able to cycle out your main team at all times. It isn’t necessary to play, but can be pretty useful at times.

7th Dragon III Code: VFD – 4 out of 5 Atoms            

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