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Every 'Dragon Quest' Game, Ranked Best To Worst

Updated July 16, 2020 422 votes 101 voters 2.6k views10 items

List RulesMainline games only (no 'Builders', bruh).

As one of the greatest long-standing RPG franchises of all time, it's hard to pick the best Dragon Quest game ever made. Fortunately, we don't have to. We've listed all the main-series Dragon Quest games, from the early NES releases all the way up to the latest Echoes of an Elusive Age, which was critically acclaimed in its own right. It's up to you, the readers, to decide which release is the best.

Comparable to Final Fantasy in terms of the sheer number of amazing games that we've seen over the years, the Dragon Quest franchise is known for featuring engaging storylines, smart mechanics, and a memorable cast of characters gamers who come to know and love. While some games were only released on specific consoles (like Dragon Quest IX on the 3DS), most of these games —especially the earlier titles — have been remastered and rereleased over the years. And although Dragon Quest X is technically a mainline game (at least in our opinion) it was never released in the West, and, therefore, isn't included below.

Vote up all the best Dragon Quest releases over the years so readers can see which game can truly be crowned the greatest of them all.

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  • Photo: Square Enix

    Metacritic score: 91% (Switch)

    It's incredibly hard for modern RPGs to toe the line between the novel and the nostalgic, but Dragon Quest XI does it in spades. Featuring an extremely tight gameplay system, Echoes Of An Elusive Age combines all the elements gamers loved from the old(er) releases (notably the turn-based battles) while including a host of new abilities.

    The enhanced Switch edition is notable for introducing even more features, which is one of the reasons why it's so highly reviewed.

    • Release: 2017
    • Developer: Square Enix
    • Platform: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
    74
    17
    A worthy quest?
  • Photo: Level-5

    Metacritic score: 85%

    Developed by Level-5 and published by Square Enix, Dragon Quest VIII took full advantage of the PS2's graphics capabilities to create a beautiful 3D world that gave gamers more freedom than ever before. Players once again took control of Hero as they worked to level up their characters and engage in even more complicated turn-based battles.

     Dragon Quest VIII is notable for being the first game in the series to feature voice actors.

    • Release: 2004
    • Developer: Level-5, Armor Project
    • Platform: PlayStation 2, Android, iOS, Nintendo 3DS
    61
    17
    A worthy quest?

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  • Photo: Chunsoft
    3

    Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride

    Metacritic score: 84%

    The first Dragon Quest game to be released on the SNES, Dragon Quest V gave players more freedom to explore than ever before. The game itself spans thirty years and is at its heart a beautifully told coming-of-age story.

    The game also featured an intuitive new monster-taming aspect where players can tame and recruit various monsters. It's a familiar mechanic that has since been featured in subsequent games.

    • Release: 1992
    • Developer: Artepiazza, Matrix Software, Chunsoft
    • Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS
    40
    1
    A worthy quest?

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  • Photo: Chunsoft

    Metacritic score: 80%

    As the first installment in the Zenithian Trilogy, Dragon Quest IV was also the last Dragon Quest game to see an NES release. Known for its incredibly strong narrative, Dragon Quest IV is an RPG classic that's divided into specific chapters, with each chapter featuring a different group of protagonists.

    Shortly after its release it was remade for the PlayStation, where an extra chapter was included.

    • Release: 1990
    • Developer: Chunsoft
    • Platform: Nintendo DS, Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayStation, Android, iOS
    31
    5
    A worthy quest?