7th Dragon III Code: VFD – Review

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Kyle Orland

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What does a young man in Japan do around the year 3000, in a world of cutting edge and full of technology, to distract himself from the daily routine? From an unusual day, the adventure begins.

An organization, which takes the name of Nodens Enterprises, gives the possibility to access through a special ticket, its new attraction: a virtual reality game, which through a special cabin equipped with a viewer, will allow you to communicate with the environment. of game. Fortunately, to meet the protagonist will be Mio Nogumo, a fourteen-year-old girl who will help us enter the room. This protagonist, whose name will be given by the player, will obviously be able to win in organized play, helped by Mio and two other characters, becoming aware of an unexpected truth: the camouflage of Nodens, which is nothing more than a company specialized in find the various dragon samples that lived in the past as Nyala. In fact, through the organization of the game aimed at the public of ordinary men, one gets to know humans, the perfect species in possession
of rare skill, able to take dragons. The organizing company in question is a small part of the large government project that has recently moved from America to Japan. The president of the “small” nucleus is Allie Nodens helped by Jurota Tomari who will prefer to be called Julietta. They will be the main source from which we will learn about the progress of the missions and news in the headquarters.

Despite the possible doubts of the protagonist (in fact we will always have at least two choices available in the dialogues on what to answer), we will become aware of our goal and we will remain within the company, which as well as a true novel with sci-fi and fantastic tones it will take us from the secondary entrance to a real world of its own, with dormitories, meeting rooms, terraces, laboratories, halls and further rooms, fully accessible and explorable, which can be built by the player himself by acquiring DZ. DZs increase by hunting dragons and inevitably decrease with their use. This will make the protagonist the real leader and driving force of all the action. In addition to the fate of humanity, in fact, who says they cannot find room for creativity? On the other hand, in a location of the base there will be two nice twins who will give us the possibility to create spaces, increase the number of weapons, accessories and objects available. The higher the level, the greater the effects and cost. If you are short of money, different from the DZ, secondary quests will be available, on average lighter in terms of themes or difficulties, in the primary ones. At the head of the management, we will find Allie, a euphoric boss but equally capable of handling the situation in the right moments. She will explain the contradiction linked to the dragons: the VFD (first element of the game title), is the real dragon responsible for creation and destruction, an incredible contrast that led eighty years earlier to calamity, contamination of the planet, and finally direct action of real dragons (seven in total, this will explain the number next to the game title).

As in the past the dragons were killed by the Murakuma Team, and subsequently in the disaster that occurred in 2020 by Unit 13, now it will be up to Unit 13, formed this time by our characters, to free the planet from the miasma: recently there have been cases of anomalous flu and the first warnings are due precisely to sudden coughs and the future for these subjects and a possible spread is not the brightest. One of the NPCs who are not directly part of the team will feel such symptoms, but his power will be somewhat main in the gameplay: a navigator who will give us warnings during the dungeons. Many are the interests at stake and the aims of the protagonists: the special team of the ISDF (Special Tactical Force) formed in the members of Yuma Kisaragi and Moritomo Tougo. The first seems to be a novice young man, with great strength and irreducible in the face of great dangers; but as his superior Moritomo will guess, what he manages to silence with his mouth escapes his eyes. The young Yuma, in fact, will have to maintain a certain constancy without weakening, otherwise he will be eliminated for the good of humanity, with very deep and almost ethical reasons that will make their way throughout history. However, despite the intertwined and increasingly interesting stories in the course of the game, we will be warned by a strange creature, "a rag doll", a rabbit that will be anything but docile, capricious and humorous, which will lighten in somehow the game sections, albeit with a certain aura of suspicion.

Over the course of the large, very wide, dungeons, we will meet each time a different civilization of the past and its most prominent characters with their own stories. Each dungeon is made up of winding roads and impervious dangers at the gates: in addition to the bar that degrades from blue, to get to red in the upcoming random encounter, there will be the most powerful dragons that will be visible on the way by a purple "shadow". They can be avoided almost in a strange stealth game, however if we want to have the DZ or more EXP we will have to face them, aware of our abilities as it could lead to a perverse repetition of events in the gameplay for which a lost battle once resumed from the initial moment , implementing the same techniques will lead to the usual game over. Sometimes the problem will be a low level, or not having enough skills. Skills are one of the most interesting aspects of the expandable parameters of the protagonists: each class has different, interesting ones, thanks to which you will not fail to create the most disparate strategies. They are not all available from the beginning even at a lower level, in fact we will be able to acquire or implement features through accumulated experience. The variability of the skills is given by the classes, of a good quantity such as the samurai, the agent (the hacker techniques, the guns, and the support are very peculiar), the hand of god (who will not only be a white magician ), the duelist (a magician, definable as "black" who will mainly evoke creatures, each with its own element and effect) ... in short, the number will expand with the progress of the story, and they are never repetitive and have characteristics of attack, synergists, and various spells. Noting the amount of classes, you will be spoiled for choice in assigning one class rather than another.

What could be a dilemma can be dissolved by the possibility of creating more characters who at any time can become the protagonist or the main team. If on the one hand the protagonist's anonymity will be deviated from the fact that he will be the only one to interact with the NPCs (and never with our other characters, with the exception of battle strategies); that of the secondaries to form our teams will remain inflexible. In fact, even though they are all three present, without counting the reserve teams, they will not be considered in the dialogues at all and will keep this feature of intricacy that will always make them appear to the player as extraneous presences and only useful for completing the mission or quests. . They will in fact be required to be created in addition to the protagonist in number of at least two, from the first moment. The apparent lack of customization seems to want to be hidden with the limitation given by pre-built characters, which will increase in number over the course of the game. Furthermore, to make us forget the absence of personalization of details, each character will be given the opportunity to have a variant style, and a range of colors for each style to choose from. There will also be a decision on the items to be selected based on the type or actor who lends itself to interpretation. If doubts persist in this regard, although the characters are very different stylistically from each other and seem prototypes that each would like their own character but nipped in the bud by the limits of the dialogues and their being "ghost" subjects, the game phases and the emphasis of the other non-playable characters and fundamental for the plot, will be able to balance everything, especially if you are looking for an old-fashioned JRPG.

In fact, this niche JRPG arrives in Europe only in digital form, in addition to being the first title in the series to arrive, it establishes itself as a solid Japanese role-playing game characterized by turn-based strategy, exploration and interaction with the environment. and people during the trip. In particular, in the fight phases it will have an almost dungeon crawler setting because on our screen the synthesis of the LP, MP, states, and the figure of the character with the monster in front of it will appear (in the upper screen); the support team that in the backup turn will act as support with synergistic and healing actions, or only one at the player's discretion will be able to enter the game with his move at the turn of a main character creating the buddy skill (these characters of the secondary teams and the availability of the skills given by a bar, will be visible, instead, in the lower screen). If the battle gets really tough, depending on the complexity of the monster, an option will appear: the exhaust mode increases the attack strength and the healing effects but once used it ends completely and its loading will take a long time.

Final Comment

One thing is certain: all the time on the screen we will find characters, from humans to monsters, even the most fearsome ones, with a "chibi" style that fits perfectly for a particularly Japanese style, which may not be properly appreciated across the border. Graphically, however, the style connects with the whole story with comic but also fantastic and more serious tones, typical of a Japanese audience. In fact, the style adopted does its duty in a portable console with obvious structural limitations but no less well cared for. Indeed, on average it has nothing to envy, in terms of graphics, to other JRPGs. However, other limitations could be given by the lack of a physical copy or only English for the subtitles. The sound is qualitatively accurate even if we could not say the same for the variety per se or in the circumstances. Among other things, the references to other Sega titles, such as Jet Set Radio, are interesting, not surprisingly in other previous chapters a particular gem was the presence of the same virtual singer, Miku Hatsune.
This chapter developed by Sega, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD, looks like a small pearl capable of emerging, in a small portable console, if it had more thickness on the market.

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