A game by Yuji Horii called Dragon Quest turned 35 on May 27, 2021. Dragon Warrior was first released in the West under the name Dragon Warrior. The Chunsoft-made first game in this genre-defining series was released on the Famicom in Japan before moving to the North American NES three years later. Over the past three-and-a-half decades, we’ve had ten mainline games, as well as a lot of spin-offs and side adventures.
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All but one of the mainline games have been translated for Nintendo consoles in the West, and sometimes more than once. We thought it was time to rank all the mainline Dragon Quest games with the help of you lovely people. Below is a list of the Dragon Quest games that our readers think are the best and the worst. They are ranked from the worst to the best at the bottom.
You can see the first version of the game that was released in the West below. If the game was re-released or remade for more than one console, we’ve chosen to talk about the other versions in the text. You can play Dragon Quest X, which is only available in Japan. It was released on four Nintendo platforms there, and we didn’t want to leave it out of the list. If you want an English-only list, just imagine that it’s not there and you’re done!
Users who have used Nintendo Life’s User Ratings to rate the DQ games in our database have made this ranking, and it can change even after it’s been published. Even if you haven’t rated your favourite games yet, you can still have an impact on the rankings below. To do so, click on the game you want to rate and give it a score out of ten on its Game Page.
The people who have already voted for the Dragon Warriors and Quests they like best are very grateful to them. Roll up your sleeves, form a party and set off on an epic journey to find the best Dragon Quest game ever made… Now is the time!
Dragon Warrior II (NES)
Available on Switch as Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line, this got a Japan-only remake for Super Famicom where it was bundled with the original game, and this bundle was also ported to a Game Boy Color cart — which was released in North America — as the imaginative titled Dragon Quest I & II.
Dragon Warrior II was set 100 years after the first game. It built on what came before and smoothed over some of the game’s flaws. If you’re a fan of the series, you might want to avoid this game. It’s one of the most difficult games in the series, and there are ten other Quests competing for your time and attention. Even though it was important for DQ to move forward, it isn’t the most important game in the series.
Dragon Quest X (Wii)
This tenth mainline game took the series into the world of MMORPGs and has been played on four different Nintendo consoles, starting with the Wii in 2012. It has also been played on the Wii U, 3DS, and Switch. The only mainline Dragon Quest game that hasn’t been released in the West is Dragon Quest X, which is a pain in the ass.
Dragon Warrior (NES)
In Dragon Warrior, the first game in the Dragon Quest series, we set the standard for the rest of the games in the series. From the start, this JRPG series was a huge hit in Japan. It took a long time (and a lot of games) for this classic JRPG series to become a big hit in the West. Good thing Enix didn’t give up on this game. These days, it feels a little weird to see the word “Warrior” in this game’s title.
In the West, it’s also on Switch (and on Game Boy Color).
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (DS)
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation was a Japanese-only game until this Nintendo DS remake came out in the West. It might not be as flashy or complicated as something like Dragon Quest IX, but that doesn’t stop the game from being just as charming and fun. Making changes to make the version we did get in the West look and feel more modern, it keeps the 16-bit style of its 1995 Super Famicom original and doesn’t change a lot from the original game’s formula. Realms of Revelation is yet another great game to add to the impressive DS RPG library. It’s also a great way to revisit a classic.
Dragon Warrior III (NES)
When Dragon Warrior III (or Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation) came out, it was the last game in a trilogy of RPGs that were important at the time. They would go on to change the genre of games. Set before the original game, it made a lot of changes to the turn-based gameplay and open-world exploration, including adding a day and night cycle. Super Famicom made a version of it that never came to the West, but there was a great Game Boy Color version that came out in 2001. (and you can also play it on Switch).
Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line
Almost everything about Dragon Quest II was better than the original. These days, it’s more seen as a stepping stone for what the series would become rather than an important one. While the first game only allowed for one-on-one fights, Luminaries of the Legendary Line added three-person parties, fights with multiple enemies, and more options for combat.
But these new ideas came at a price, with nasty difficulty spikes and a lot of encounters. In addition, there’s a rather boring story about a prince saving the world. Even though the many re-releases have made things a little better.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
All of the things that make the Dragon Quest games great are in one beautiful HD package. When it comes to fighting, there are more options than ever before. The characters, from magic-wielding sisters Veronica and Serena, to the flamboyant performer Sylvando, are among the best-known in the whole series. When you think you’re done with the game, a surprise time travel move opens up the last third, which is the best part.
There was a lot more to Dragon Quest XI when it first came out, and now that there are even more things in the 2019 Definitive Edition, it’s going to be very hard for any future game in the series to match its level of greatness. Square Enix also added the ability to play the whole game in 2D, like the Japan-exclusive 3DS version of the game. This feature was also added. To make things even more interesting, there are hidden tasks in all 10 previous games that link back to them. Echoes of an Elusive Age is the best game in the series and one of the best RPGs of all time.