Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (Nintendo DS)

86
Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.

User Reviews

The Eternal Quest Kit Simmons (242) 4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars
A nice DS adventure Bregalad (924) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
A grand sweeping tale of exploring one's own mortality and having a good laugh CrankyStorming (2755) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

Our Users Say

Category Description User Score
AI How smart (or dumb) you perceive the game's artificial intelligence to be 3.4
Gameplay How well the game mechanics work (player controls, game action, interface, etc.) 4.0
Graphics The quality of the art, or the quality/speed of the drawing routines 3.9
Personal Slant How much you personally like the game, regardless of other attributes 4.1
Sound / Music The quality of the sound effects and/or music composition 3.5
Story / Presentation The main creative ideas in the game and how well they're executed 3.6
Overall User Score (10 votes) 3.8


Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
100
Game Shark
Whatever you decide to do, and however deep you decide to make your journey into Dragon Quest IX you'll be treated to one of the most accessibly complicated and cheerily good hearted role playing experiences to come along in some time and one of the absolute best role playing games of the year. Doing good has never felt so awesome.
100
Gaming Age
Dragon Quest is all about taking your time, building your characters up, finding secrets, enjoying the story, and having a great time while doing so. I really like to take the time to find all of the secret areas, and Dragon Quest IX delivers in this aspect with treasure maps and new quests to download. With hundreds upon hundreds of items to find and create and a massive world to explore, Dragon Quest IX truly delivers an amazing RPG experience that begs to be played by gamers of all ages. Whether your new to the genre, or simply crave that classic turn-based RPG gaming experience (one that's becoming increasingly difficult to find these days), the game is a blast to play thanks to the many creative forces behind the title and the guy that started it all, Yuji Horii. Don't miss out on one of the best games I've played so far this year.
100
1UP
There's certainly room for improvement, no question about it. DQIX would be even better with real online play, a stronger story, or a world with the same sense of scope and grandeur as DQVIII's. But these are more nitpicks than genuine flaws. DQIX is a subtly sophisticated game, and while it doesn't quite revolutionize RPGs it definitely pushes them forward. Maybe Dragon Quest's popularity in the west will never match its success overseas, but at least those who give this chapter a chance can enjoy one of the deepest, most engrossing portable RPGs ever.
96
GameFocus
Seriously, the only off putting experience I have had is the need to repeat the same grotto with all your friends up to four times if you all wish to have it listed as completed in everyone’s games (as only the host can show it as completed). And even then, that is a slight love/hate situation as the rewards can be quite nice with subsequent play-throughs. If the Japanese launch from last year is any indication, there is a full year of downloadable content to look forward to and maybe even a few surprises along the way. With all that said, I am quite confident to say that Dragon Quest 9 is most likely my portable game of year. Hell, it might even be my RPG of the year with only BioWare’s Mass Effect 2 giving it a run for it’s money!
96
GamingTrend
Dragon Quest 9: Sentinels of the Starry Skies makes the best argument against the idea that “games need to evolve” as any game. It’s a very, very good JRPG and one of the best of the Dragon Quest series. I’m about 20 hours in so far, and I’m showing no signs of slowing down. It’s smart, touching, and deep. There’s so much to see and do, so many interesting scenarios that the game presents to you, and the same traditional gameplay that captivated gamers almost 25 years ago. While it may have a few flaws, they’re not gamebreakers.
95
NintendoWorldReport
Dragon Quest IX is a fantastic game, and it is easily the best new traditional RPG to grace the DS. The multiplayer offering is cool in concept, but the fact that it isn't online will likely limit its effectiveness. Regardless, the single-player mode is long, rife with depth, and truly excellent. If you have even the slightest interest in RPGs, this game is a must purchase.
90
RPG Site
What you get here is a game that mixes tradition and new ideas and borrowed ideas wonderfully, experimenting and showing the original titles reverence in equal – and correct – measure. It has its shortcomings – the lack of a true online mode, an entirely mute main cast and the actual battles being simplistic in presentation stick out at me – but Dragon Quest IX is still a herculean effort on the part of Square Enix. It’s a shame, then, that this game will likely never have the success in the West that Final Fantasy XIII has. What it may do is pave the way for the series to build into something more, though. It may be a bit too familiar in places if you’re a series fan, but this experience brings enough new to the table that it’ll still excite you, and this is as good an introduction as any for those new to the series.
90
That Gaming Site
A staggering accomplishment. All other DS JRPG titles should be judged according to the bar this game sets.
90
Pocket Gamer UK
Japan’s biggest RPG finally arrives in the west and the wait has most definitely been worth it. Dragon Quest IX is possibly the finest example of the genre available on Nintendo’s handheld.
90
Official Nintendo Magazine
Dragon Quest IX is every bit as epic as a Legend Of Zelda game, funnier than anything we've seen on the DS and if it's one of the finest crafted games anywhere, that's because DQ laid the foundations other RPGs now use as standard. Experience points, battle menus and turn-based encounters all gained prominence because of the Dragon Quest series.
90
Armchair Empire, The
Dragon Quest IX doesn't do much to break new ground in the genre, but adheres quite closely to elements that have helped define the series over the years. Thankfully it does this very well, providing an entertaining experience well worth spending some time with.
90
ZTGameDomain
Overall, if you own a DS and have ever played or are interested in a JRPG, you need to own this game. This is definitely one of the best role playing games I have played, and it still amazes me that it is on a handheld console. The amount of hours you can spend on this game is incredible, and you will still want to keep playing it well after you finish the main story. Square Enix and Level 5 have outdone themselves, and crafted an amazing RPG that will go down in the history books.
90
N-Europe
So if this is your first Dragon Quest game then fear not for it was the first foray into the series for us too and we here at n-europe can say with no guile that it is hands-down one of the best games we've ever played and not just on the system and of course if you're a long- time fan of the series then of course you'd want this. Level-5 have done the series proud once more and it is both a privilege and a joy to have the Dragon Quest series back where it started on a Nintendo console; so what are you waiting for? It's slime time!
90
Worth Playing
Dragon Quest IX is an old-school RPG with a lot of charm. It has moved toward modernized gameplay, but at heart, it's still the same Dragon Quest that people enjoy. It's been simplified and streamlined to be more accessible to new players. The story structure is great for pick-up-and-play gaming and really benefits the DS format. The story is simple but charming, and most of the characters are likeable. There's some complexity and customization for hardcore gamers, but casual players will also be at home with the title. The lack of real online play means that the neater features are going to be useless to most people; even the simple addition of real online play would have done wonders for Dragon Quest IX's value. The game may also be too old-school for some people. Those minor complaints aside, Dragon Quest IX is a solid and well put-together handheld RPG. It isn't perfect, but it does enough right that it's easy to overlook the shortcomings.
90
Cheat Code Central
Since it was first announced back in 2006, Dragon Quest IX has been one of my most-anticipated games for Nintendo DS. Square Enix and Level 5 did not disappoint. I was surprised by just how challenging the game was in light of the publisher’s known desire to popularize the franchise here in the States. In spite of the many wonderful elements added to the formula, Dragon Quest IX feels very much like the best of classic JRPGs; it’s well-balanced, looks great, and there’s tons to do. Best of all, long-time fans will still find everything they love about the series right here on DS.
90
Nintendo Life
You can't help but marvel at how the developers were somehow able to squeeze a console-sized RPG epic onto the diminutive DS, especially given how mammoth the quest itself is. On top of this impressive feat, they found a way to toss in a wealth of new gameplay features and multiplayer action as well. It's perfectly clear from the moment that you begin - absolutely no corners were cut. If ever there were a title to truly show off just how far portable gaming has come over the years, it's this one. It might have been a long wait, but Dragon Quest IX proves to be everything that followers of the series could have hoped for, not to mention a game that no RPG fan should miss.
90
Digital Chumps
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is the latest Dragon Quest adventure to capture my heart. From the incredibly deep character building and item alchemy to the sheer depth of the game (compared to previous DS remakes), DQIX is one of the best RPGs on the DS to date. Though it's still not my favorite of the Dragon Quest series (III will always remain at the top for me), it's tied for third on my list of best DQ titles (despite the fact that I haven't played VI or VII). If you're in for a lengthy adventure on your DS, this game is recommended.
90
Eurogamer.net (UK)
There's a childlike simplicity in its approach to story and systems that may put off older players who prefer complication and convolution. But Dragon Quest IX cleanses the palate with its straightforwardness, allowing the workmanship to shine, and its clutch of nested fairytales to inspire.
90
Fragland.net
Dragon Quest IX is a beautiful RPG that combines old and new game elements with each other to form a unique handheld adventure that's a must for everyone with a DS. Even if you're usually not into role-playing, then I still guarantee hours and hours of fun. Try it!
87
Game Vortex
Overall Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies has been a really fun game to play. It's not the world's most addictive, but I do believe that I will definitely spend more time in it! If you haven't yet, I recommend that you go pick it up today.
86
Game Over Online
Dragon Quest IX is a game that exceeded my expectations. Being a huge fan of Dragon Quest VIII, I had doubts whether or not Square Enix could deliver an epic experience for their next Dragon Quest game on the DS. Those fears were put to rest as I found myself immersed in the game’s intuitive gameplay and whimsical charm. If you’re able to put aside any possible reservations, you’ll find that Dragon Quest IX is a great RPG to sink your teeth into this summer.
85
GameTrailers
The core of Dragon Quest IX isn't a drastic departure from past games, but the focus on social play has led to a wealth of new features, expanding the game with countless side quests, customization, and character depth. It's a worthy successor for the franchise that's sure to keep you busy through the slow summer months.
85
GameSpot
Every town in Sentinels of the Starry Skies has its own little story and its own sense of place in a wide world teeming with crazy monsters, great loot, and plenty of dungeons to explore. This is a quintessential role-playing experience that balances hardcore monster smashing with a lighthearted spirit. The Dragon Quest series soars onward and upward.
83
Game Revolution
The game is chock full of Accolades—Achievements, basically—to reward the curious, completionist player... and a host of quests and challenges that aren't even available until after the 'last' boss is taken down. Factor in the additional possibilities of rotating in entirely new treasure-maps (acquired through either solo play, or as transferred presents from other DQIX owners/players) and regular content updates from Nintendo, and you've got a solid little package that offers a charming, totally-satisfying, side-quest-packed Slime-load of gaming value.
82
GamingExcellence
What it really comes down to is if you're in the mood for some classic Dragon Quest gameplay, because though the game struggles to add a lot of different aspects to the gameplay such as switching classes and sidequests, the most important parts of the game, such as combat, still have that distinctive classic flair. If that's your thing, this game is top aces for you then, since all the new additions add a lot to the formula. If you really don't like the whole turn-based combat scene, well then this game isn't going to change your mind anytime soon. But Dragon Quest IX, despite some fairly archaic design choices, still manages to present an experience that's fun to play, proving that it's still one of the classics of the genre.
80
Nukezilla
I miss the banter and character development that was such an integral part of my enjoyment of DQ VIII, but the combination of portability and co-operative dungeon crawling make for a stellar package of classic role playing loot.
80
RPGamer
Although Dragon Quest IX's main story can be completed in forty hours or so, doing so would be a disservice to the supplementary material. These additional layers are what transform the most recent iteration of one of RPG-dom's sacred cows from a repainted throwback into an old-timer who has traded speed for the silvered brows of style. Moreover, these sidetracks and post-game material allow players to tailor the game's difficulty. Will it be a light, breezy quest to simply save the world, or a white-knuckled trial to eradicate even the most challenging of evils?
80
Thunderbolt Games
If you were a fan of previous Dragon Quest titles or just sprawling, old-school JRPGs in general, buy this game (duh). If you gravitate more towards the story-centric style of recent Final Fantasy titles, however, you may want to give this one a pass, as the lack of personalities for the main characters and breezy, meandering story may breed indifference. One thing is for certain, though, Dragon Quest IX is a well-crafted game. It has plenty of polish, an absolute ton of things to see and do, and plenty of spot-on references to past games in the series (the combat text is still the best in the business). Dragon Quest games have always marched to the beat of their own drums and Sentinels of the Starry Skies is no different. It’s the only JRPG on the market in which wearing a Speedo, tortoise shell, wooden clogs and rubber gloves into battle might actually be considered a good idea, and that in itself is worth a few brownie points in my book.
80
GameZone
All told, DQIX is an excellent RPG that will keep you glued to your Nintendo DS. But unless you only come to this genre for the turn-based battles, you won’t be completely satisfied with what DQIX has to offer. It is a great RPG, to be certain. However, the story is only a quarter of what it could have been. This is an RPG that was on the cusp of rivaling the best of the best – an RPG that could have stood alongside the great RPGs of the ‘90s. But like so many games released in the last 10 years, DQIX missed the mark. It is an RPG that will be remembered. But it will not be revered.
80
RPGFan
If this review comes off as sparse in regard to the nuts and bolts of the gameplay, it's because you already know what you're getting here, and what you're getting is a bite-sized installment to one of the most classic and cherished franchises the RPG community has had the pleasure of playing. It's also got whackadoodle additions like surprisingly fun multiplayer and character customization that probably have no place in the formula, but it's tweaks like these that are sure to garner the most excitement from casual and established players alike. Penny pinchers will be astounded at the sheer amount of raw content that comes mashed into this tiny little cartridge, with sidequests and post-game content that can easily double the main, 40 hour storyline. Traditionally entertaining, progressive and forward-thinking, and always punny in the most excessive ways possible, Dragon Quest IX is a flappin' huge adventure with content and wit to spare.
80
videogamer.com
So, are the core Dragon Quest fans going to like what's on offer here? More than likely. While clichéd, the story is entertaining, the battle system is refined and the visuals are impressive. It's very Dragon Quest. Even so, I can't escape the feeling that the game feels more like a spin-off; a stop gap on the way to a 'proper' sequel. Bringing the next iteration of one of the industry's most prestigious role playing series to a handheld console was a bold move, and although I'm undecided whether it was the right move, there's no denying the quality of the role playing on offer. Sentinels of the Starry Skies is, quite possibly, the best original JRPG on the DS (and I say original because of ports such as Chrono Trigger), but it's not the evolution of the series some of us were expecting.
80
IGN
If you can look past the lack of character development and the overly simplistic battle system, Dragon Quest IX is really enjoyable and will keep players interested for many hours. Also, any game with slimes in it is worth a look, naturally.
77
gamrReview
Dragon Quest remains one of the most popular JRPGs and it is the best selling series of its genre. Many have been anticipating a western release for over a year now, and even though games in the series are known to maintain core elements of their predecessors, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies doesn’t really offer anything new, besides a limited character creator and a frustrating online multiplayer system.
75
NZGamer
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DQIX) represents another chance to dive headlong into a world of fantasy violence and plunder. Upfront, it’s probably worth saying that JRPG fans, and certainly fans of the series, need to be all over it. However, if you’re looking for the next big thing in RPGs, it’s not here. DQIX could be a traditional yawnfest, save for a charming world, engaging quest, likable (enough) characters and that strange propensity to foster addiction (in some).
70
4Players.de
Ich bin ernüchtert. Will Square Enix mit diesem Dragon Quest wirklich nur Kinder bis zehn Jahre und absolute Neulinge ansprechen? Will man nicht auch Veteranen unterhalten, die der Reihe seit mehr als 20 Jahren treu sind? Ich habe ja nichts gegen einen leichteren Schwierigkeitsgrad für Einsteiger, aber das ganze Spiel fühlt sich an wie ein Tutorial! Das ist ein wunderschön designtes, handwerklich einwandfreies Abenteuer, aber es hat eine schreckliche Lebensversicherung - ich bin erst nach vierzehn Stunden einmal gestorben, weil die Rundenkämpfe viel zu leicht, Taktik kaum gefragt und die Rückzugsmöglichkeiten viel zu gnädig sind. Man fließt quasi ohne Widerstand den Erfahrungsfluss hinauf, während man von einer ebenso kindischen wie übertrieben religiösen Story begleitet wird. Man wird lediglich vom Sammeltrieb und dem offenen Party-Management bei Laune gehalten, das einem viele individuelle Entwicklungen für seine Helden ermöglicht.
60
Legendra
Dragon Quest IX est la preuve qu'un jeu peut avoir des arguments purement techniques (graphismes, jouabilité/gameplay, son, durée de vie) aboutis mais qui s'essouffle très rapidement. Déception, c'est ce qu'on retient après avoir fini le jeu. Après les nombreux changements au niveau du soft lors de son développement, on s'est retrouvé avec un draque qui ne sait pas sur quel pied danser : déroulement classique de l'aventure mais une quête principale assez faiblarde et très banale pour privilégier le multi joueur et surtout le contenu annexe en général. De plus, le jeu souffre de changements apportés par Level-5 qui ne sont pas toujours dans le bon sens avec un challenge en baisse. On se retrouve du coup avec un titre qui déçoit à première vue mais les amateurs de dungeon crawlers et customisation seront comblés avec un contenu immense et un gameplay toujours aussi intéressant.