Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker (ドラゴンクエストモンスターズ ジョーカー) is a Nintendo DS role playing game published by Square Enix, and is the latest installment of the Dragon Quest Monsters series. Square Enix released the game on December 28, 2006 in Japan, selling 593,994 units in the first four days after release, and in the first 4 weeks it reached 1 million copies. It was released in North America on November 6th.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker is the first game in the Dragon Quest Monsters series to be in 3D, and the first game developed by TOSE in 3D. It uses the Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King game engine out of battle. It has cel-shaded animation, similar to those of Dragon Quest VIII on the PS2. The graphics in the battles are the same style as Dragon Quest VIII: issue commands in a turn based style, then watch them be executed in full 3D.
The battle system itself is very similar to previous Dragon Quest Monsters games. You have up to three monsters in your party, you can issue them direct orders or set them to one of 4 AI settings. Your main character does not directly participate in battles except for using items when told to do so.
Joker does not have random battles. The only way to encounter enemies is to run into one on the overworld. The monsters can be seen, avoided, and attacked from their back to get a free attack round. Later on, you get the Whistle ability. This can be used at any time, other than in the city and where monsters don't appear, and in a way does count as a random battle as the enemies are randomly chosen.
This is the first game in the series to have online play, via Nintendo Wi-Fi.
Green Bay IslandsEdit
The game takes place in the region known as Green Bays, consisting of seven islands.
- Domus Isle - island holding the Jokers' GP Tournament.
- Infant Isle - island with a great tree at the center; it is inhabited by weak monsters.
- Xeroph Isle - desert island.
- Palaish Isle - private garden island.
- Infern Isle - barren island, inhabited by zombies.
- Celeste Isle - an island with two towers and some ruins.
- Fert Isle - jungle island; this is where the jail is located at.
A jet-ski is used to travel from one island to another, with specific paths defined for every couple of piers. However, the main character may notice uncharted islands beyond some of the main islands. The chances for this are completely random and aren't located on the main map.
The game also has a Nintendo Wi-Fi element. The player connects to the server, and their monster team is ranked. The DS then downloads a set of opponents to battle. The battles are against the monster teams of higher and higher ranked other players. For each battle you win, you get a reward, either an item or a monster. These rewards change daily and can range from unexciting items to rare monsters such as Metal Babbles. This feature is designed to be used once per day. The player can only fight one set of opponents, and get a reward once each day.
wifi is no longer active and cant be used to get rewards.
The player gets more monsters by scouting them. Unlike previous games in the series, this is a battle command, and not the result of using items in battle. In most cases, a scouting attempt can only be made once per battle and success depends on the relative strengths of the monsters making the attempt versus the monster that is being scouted.
The monster families have been rearranged into a different categorization, so some monsters are in different families than they were on previous Dragon Quest Monsters games.
- Slime (スライム, suraimu).
- Dragon (ドラゴン, doragon).
- Nature (しぜん, shizen).
- Beast (まじゅう, majuu).
- Material (ぶっしつ, busshitsu).
- Devil (あくま, akuma).
- Zombie (ゾンビ, zonbi).
- Lord Monsters (しんじゅう, Shinjuu).
Unlike previous games in the series, there is not a Boss family. The Boss monsters (end game, or powerful bosses from Dragon Quest games) have been merged with the other families. For example, Zoma is now in the Demon family.
Monsters now all have a rank associated with them: F, E, D, C, B, A, S, and X. The ranks give an idea of how quickly the monster's stats will grow, what their maximum level is, and how hard they are to get/breed. There are 210 different monsters, though some are just color swaps of others.
There are three monsters, Trode (トロデ, Torode), Leopard (レオパルド, Reoparudo), and Letice (レティス, Retisu) that can not be scouted or bred in the normal game. The only way to get these monsters is to visit a DS Station in Japan . There one can use the games Wireless mode to fight against these monsters and attempt to scout these special monsters. Leopard was available from February 1, to February 14 2007. Leopard and Letice are required in order to breed the main monster into its final forms.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker features a skill system based on the one from Dragon Quest VIII. Skill points are gained on certain character levels, and these can be assigned to one of the monster's (up to) three skill sets, learning techniques or gaining stats boosts.
Some skill sets can be upgraded by maxing them. Others can be unlocked when parents have specific skill sets mastered. When breeding, an offspring can choose its skill sets from those its parents had, the ones that monster naturally knows, and any new ones unlocked.
There are also skill seeds, which can be found during the night, which give 3 skill points to the selected monster.
Famitsu gave the game a positive review with a total score of 36 out of 40.
Nintendo Power gave the game a positive 8/10.
Gamezone gave the game a positive review with a score of 8/10.
IGN gave a 7.9 to DQM:J saying that it brings nothing new to the Monster Genre
Game Informer gave the game a positive score of 8/10, with the game receiving the "Handheld Game of the Month" for the December Issue.