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Dragon Sinker - Review

This Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) by Exe Create Inc. and KEMCO features a party consisting of human, elf, and dwarf adventurers on a quest to slay an evil dragon Wyrmvarg. Wyrmvarg demands a sacrifice of human subjects from Prince Abram's human kingdom every year for Wyrmvarg to eat. In desperation, Prince Abram led a party to slay Wyrmvarg and was defeated. After being defeated, he was brought back to his kingdom and told of a legend by a priest in his kingdom where humans, elves, and dwarves formed an alliance and obtained three magical artifacts to slay Wyrmvarg.

Prince Abram heads out with his priest advisor Bernard and decides to follow the steps outlined in the legend. Along the way, he will be joined by the elf princess Mia, her mage advisor Cromwel, the dwarf king Bowen, and his warrior wife Leala. They meet up to 13 other adventurers of different professions and 6 secret pets as they set out on their quest to destroy Wyrmvarg. Prince Abram's party will also help some non-player characters as they complete some optional subquests.

This game has the usual grinding fare, a main quest, and plenty of subquests that are common in JRPGs, as well as dialogue choices. Most of the dialogue choices are only to add humour to the game and story, give the player a chance to decline an optional subquest, or to simply back out and prepare for a difficult boss battle ahead. Navigating through dungeons is also simple and easy as many of the passages lead to dead-ends or rejoins a passageway not too far off. Every dungeon also has a convenient magic pentagram to fast-travel from the entrance to the endpoint. Dragon Sinker has a handy set of in-game instructions to help new players become familiar with the game, and also has a handy item called Rainbow Feathers that can enable fast travel between discovered towns.

There are a few cons though. This game suffers by having outdated 8-bit pixel visuals throughout the game, monsters that are of the cookie-cutter variety, very repetitive background music, and have very bland and generic party members. To add to this last point, besides Bernard, Mia, Cromwel, Bowen, and Leala, every other party member seems to be the silent faceless type that doesn't say anything more than a few lines when they offer a quest and when the player completes their quest. Although the game has a bit of humour with the female pets wearing silly accessories and doing equally silly attacks, the pets are totally silent one-dimensional characters.

The game has a lottery system that allows you to obtain pets and powerful items and there are also optional bosses and dungeons that you can complete but both of these require a large amount of level grinding. These are entirely optional, but if you choose to collect the pets and items so that you can actually defeat the optional bosses, it drastically increases the amount of time it take to complete the game. According to forum posts at RPG Insanity, the game would normally take around 15 hours in total if not for these optional quests. It has taken me over 40 hours to complete the game with the optional bosses.

Dragon Sinker has been discounted to less than half price at Steam periodically, and the game has also appeared in a bundle offer at Fanatical once. Given that this game was released on mobile and console platforms before being released on Steam, the simple graphics, bland characters, and repetitive music and grinding means this game falls short to keep PC users interested. From my playthrough, I kept stopping and resuming many times before finally completing the story and writing this review. As such, this game is only recommended when it is discounted or at a bundle offer for players who like or don't mind JRPGs with retro-style 8-bit graphics, a predictable storyline, and grinding to unlock secrets in the game.

Initial gameplay video on YouTube by Cloud Air

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