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.
- Photo: Chunsoft157 VOTES
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.
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.
Metacritic score: 63% (for Switch)
Dragon Quest III was incredibly robust for its time. For starters, it featured a revolutionary day-and-night cycle in which specific quests and items were only available at specific times.
It also expanded on many of the traditional RPG elements from the first two games, bolstering the leveling system and introducing a new class system where each character is assigned a specific role.
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.
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.
Metacritic score: 78%
As the first PS1 release, Dragon Quest VII had high competition. While Squaresoft was dominating the RPG market with its trio of Final Fantasy epics, Dragon Quest VII featured an extremely rich narrative that included plenty of interesting time-traveling elements.
It's also notable for being one of the longest games in the series, with more side quests than virtually any other game at the time.