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Alternative Names

Dragon Quest IX: Hoshizora no Mamoribito

ドラゴンクエストIX 星空の守り人


Level 5



Release Dates

07/11/10 Nintendo
07/11/09 Square Enix
07/23/10 Nintendo

Community Stats

Owners: 257
Favorite: 28
Tracked: 8
Wishlist: 61
Now Playing: 19

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Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

By hatmoza 28th Jul 2010 | 7,891 views 

Please don't run metal slime. I want your experience points!

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.

The game starts with our hero being promoted and tasked to look over a small village called Angel Falls. You are a Celestrian, an Angel-like being who comes complete with a set of wings and a halo. Celestrians are guardians whose job it is to protect “Mortal-kind” and respond to their prayers. It is believed that when enough gratitude is shown by Mankind for everything the Celestrians do for them, a tree called “Yggdrasil”, located In the Celestrian's Observatory, will bear powerful fruits known as “Fyggs.” These rare fruits will release them from their duties and ascend them to the lands of the Heavena.  However, just as the tree begins to bear fruit, a mysterious light strikes the Observatory scattering the fruits among the mortals, and sending our hero back to Angel Falls; the same village he looked over as an invisible guardian, but this time as a mortal.

The mute hero is unlike any other in the Dragon Quest series, in that you create him/her at the beginning of the adventure. The selection really isn’t that large, in fact, coming up with an original look is pretty hard with only half a dozen different hair styles and eye shapes to choose from. Appearances do change when new pieces of armor are equipped, however. The ability to recruit and create new players to add to your team becomes available later in the game, so instead of coming across colorful characters who contribute to the story, you’re stuck with potentially 3 more mute characters. They'll mindlessly follow you as you roam and participate in battles, but magically disappear during dialog scenes. Sadly, the only character that brings some life to your team of robots is the hero’s pocket fairy, Stella. She points out the obvious, with a side dish of cheesy remarks, but I’ll take them. It’s better than nothing.

A job can be assigned to each created player. Different jobs affect player attributes and skills. These jobs range between Warrior, Priest, Mage, Martial Artist, Thief and Minstrel. At a certain point in the game, however, you can assign characters with different vocations. I wasn’t encouraged at all to switch my hero’s job. It took me all but 20 minutes to switch back to his original occupation, because any other starts off at level 1, which only introduces yet more grinding to the game. The player is stripped of all spells, while maintaining all previously earned skill traits. It doesn’t add any difficulty to an already easy game, but having one or two players starting at level 1 mid-way through the game should be a treat for grinders.

While you’ll find the regular goodies in treasure chests, cupboards and barrels, in both towns and dungeons, you can now find items scattered across the world map in the form of twinkles.  You know what that means: the Alchemy Pot is available in this title. There are a variety of items just waiting to be found and collected from fallen monsters. They are rated by rarity, using a five star rating system. Recipes for items, weapons and gear can also be found in bookshelves throughout the game.

The touchscreen acts as the main screen, while the top screen acts as the map, so you can control pretty much anything in the game with your stylus. Unless you have really tiny hands or have the unique ability of playing while looking over your own fist, you’ll stick to playing this game with the buttons, because as great and useful the touchscreen is, it just doesn’t seem to work well for Dragon Quest IX. And although one might think that it would come handy during grinding, it actually slows things down. There is a “highlight before select” feature that forces you to double tap your selection, whatever it may be. It may not seem much, but you’ll find that it’s extremely annoying when you manually control all of the characters in a battle.

The traditional turn-based battle system and battle set-up is still fun, but you’d think that after so many years of sequels and spin-offs Square Enix would add something fresh. The only difference during battles in Dragon Quest IX is that every now and then a player can perform a special technique that corresponds to the character's job. As for the actual enemy encounters, there are no more random battles (except while sailing), instead enemies appear randomly on the world map and in dungeons. A Metal Gear Solid-like exclamation mark will appear over a monster's head if you are noticed. They will then either chase the hero or run away, depending on the team’s strength. Having monsters avoiding you in the game is pretty useful while revisiting locations. However, they don’t always run in the opposite direction. It’s very common for enemies to run away by running right at you, if that makes sense. It becomes bothersome, especially since the world is so big that some elements of backtracking are only inevitable.

The town and world map visuals are okay, but you’ll be having a lot of Déjà vu moments while exploring, as the set-ups haven’t really changed overall from previous releases. Bumping into a character that looked exactly like another key role in the story is not unusual. You can admire the amount of detail and unique designs for every piece of equipment though, and even if all of your created characters look alike, you can always play dress-up. The hundreds of customizable items and weapons introduce a world of visuals in themselves, and truly makes up for graphical redundancies.

While the game contains a lot of original sound effects and chimes, the complete soundtrack doesn’t stray away from the overall theme of Dragon Quest. The over world and battle music sounds almost exactly like that of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Coursed King. Had I not played either game long enough I wouldn’t have even noticed the slight difference. Nevertheless, the music is still amazing and has undoubtedly passed the test of time. There is no voice acting involved, which is understandable, but add that to the fact that your whole team remains forever silent, really makes it hard to get involved In the game’s story. 

Unfortunately, the multiplayer really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, at least outside of Japan anyway. Searching and tagging random players is almost impossible from the comfort of your own home. I’ve tried taking my DS to school, to work and even a few coffee shops in search of potential players who I can play multiplayer with, but nothing. Don’t lose all hope if you don’t know anyone who owns the game though, because local game stores will be holding canvassing events in both America and Europe, and although that's not really a realistic option for most people, some items, outfits and treasure maps can only be obtained by canvassing.

Stella, our friendly fairy, is in charge of providing game information and statistics. She keeps a tab on completion percentage, wardrobe percentage, etc. She also keeps a list of all side missions you signed up to, with a brief quest description and location. You’re sometimes rewarded with rare items after mission completions that can be used in the Alchemy Pot, which is already a side quest in its own right. Another way to take a break from the main game is to re-visit areas for previously locked treasures. Throughout the game, you’ll come across “mini medals” that can be exchanged for keys that unlock certain treasures and doors to new areas. Completing the main game takes about 60 hours, as advertised, but if you’re a collector it can easily run for over 100 hours.  

If you are a Dragon Quest fan, you’ll get this game regardless of what anyone has to say. If you are into classic JRPGs that involve sub-quests and exploring, I will suggest this game to you. However, don’t expect it to be spectacular. The game suffers from a lack of identity. While the story seemed interesting at first, it does run out of steam. I expected the multiplayer to be a lot more promising, but it really isn’t worth the effort. So, after removing a potentially good story and half thought-through multiplayer system, I’ll conclude by saying Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies isn’t at all different from previous Dragon Quest titles within the main series, but for a game that holds so much value at a retail price of $35 dollars, it's hard to pass up.

VGChartz Verdict


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Shipping Total

5,500,000 Units
As of: December 31st, 2017

Opinion (196)

Keybladewielder posted 18/08/2016, 06:00
I like this game a lot, a charming adventure with very fun turn-based combat. I'm glad it sold well in the west.
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Azhraell posted 28/07/2015, 02:21
@StreaK: yes I was wrong, my comment is pretty old and I didn't really know how much FF sold in japan, but still Dragon Quest sells a little better
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atma998 posted 10/07/2015, 03:16

DQIX sold near 1.5M outside Japan.
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Skullwaker posted 04/07/2015, 07:39
@StreaK FFVIII isn't the fastest selling JRPG of all time, that would be Pokemon Black/White for the DS.
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StreaK posted 21/06/2015, 01:45
@leyen: Huh??? FFVIII sold 3.63 million in Japan and this did 4.35 million. Not even close to double. It didn't even sell a million more. Plus, FFVIII is still the fastest-selling JRPG of all time. Did over 2.5 million in one week.
Also, FF sells a million throughout the entire world and DQ is only relevant in Japan, really.
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atma998 posted 01/09/2014, 03:38
Best selling DQ game ever at 5.74M, more than 500k more than DQVIII.
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