The Nintendo DS had a solid year for RPGs. Gamers got to catch them all, catch the best, and touch their DS screen more than ever before. The DS took RPGs into the online world this year with varying degrees of success. Overall, the DS saw many unique RPGs and a few classics reborn on the dual screen system in 2007.
Taking the artist style of Wind Waker and recreating it as a sequel on the DS might have been enough on its own for Nintendo to have a hit. They took it further than that. They recreated the experience with complete touch screen controls in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
Everything is controlled by the touch screen. Menus, movement, combat, and sailing are all handled in the most basic, yet most interactive way possible. New weapons were introduced and old weapons were given new life thanks to the simple control scheme. Phantom Hourglass offered up impressive visuals for the DS along with a classic Zelda soundtrack bringing this game to the forefront of RPG on the DS.
It was no great surprise when the announcement came that yet another game in the best-selling Pokémon franchise would be making its way to the Nintendo DS in the form of Pokémon Diamond/Pearl. What was more surprising, however, was how meaty the final product was by the time it was released. It boasted an expansive, challenging main quest featuring dozens of brand new creatures to hunt down, but it was packed with extra details and features to make the package even better. From a realtime day/night system, to exciting post-game bonus material, to an underground archaeological playground, to surprising new evolutions on old favorite creatures, Diamond and Pearl never failed to disappoint.
If this weren't enough, the game was the first of the series to adopt an easy-to-use worldwide network of trading and the ability to battle over Wi-Fi while chatting with friends via the DS's microphone. The collection of these things makes it clear that Diamond and Pearl was one of the strongest RPGs of 2007, and that Pokémon as a series is better than ever.
Dragon Quest Monsters is the kid brother of the Dragon Quest series. While monster battles were a part of Dragon Quest VIII and other games, it's never caught on as well. Still, filling the span between Dragon Quest VIII and Dragon Quest IX, we received Dragon Quest Monsters - Joker.
Joker is a fine game, as long as you keep to yourself. The online play was horribly skewed, but the single player experience was one of the best that could be expected. The monsters looked exquisite on the small DS screen, with hardly a flaw to be found. The story was slow getting started, but worked out decently in the end. While a tad short, Dragon Quest Monsters - Joker was an entertaining title that shouldn't be missed by any fan of the Dragon Quest series.
by Mikel Tidwell, Matt Demers, Michael Cunningham