Americans Hate Tingle: Maribel is quite popular in the Japanese fandom and has appeared the most in spinoff games compared to the rest of the cast. However, she's incredibly divisive among the American fandom for a while, no thanks in small part to her personality and the fact that she leaves the party for a decent portion of the game. However, see Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
Arc Fatigue: This game is long. 100+ hours is not unheard of for the main story in the Playstation version. (The 3DS version will still take around 45-60) A large part of that is spent walking back and forth through the same thirteen screens over, and over, and over again, which gets tiring even if you have no problems with an RPG being that long.
It takes around two hours to get to your first battle.
With no detours, it takes around fifteen hours to unlock the job system.
The remake is better about this, though the game is still technically quite long (especially if you take an interest in the side quests, whether it's for fun or whether you want to get gear or level up to prepare you if you're finding enemies or bosses tough), it also does things such as making the temple in the prologue shorter so that you don't have to spend as much time trying to unlock the first island in the present as well as making it possible to potentially avoid enemy encounters, though since the combat is enjoyable the player may still choose to engage many enemies in battle anyway.
Dialac/Regenstein. The scenario does not have any dungeon-crawling or boss fights, it's over pretty quickly. It's a sad scenario, though it can be a bit confusing to figure out what to do.
Verdham/Greenthumb Gardens is another breather — the boss of it is fought very early, and pretty much the entirety of the scenario takes place in town and ends somewhat abruptly.
It actually is an unusual example wherein it plays the role twice — after you finally repair the Broken Bridge, the party decides to investigate what's on the other side to find that it's Verdham/Greenthumb Gardens a couple of decades after they had been saved. The whole objective is to connect the dots as to what happened to some of the villagers and how Mentare/Wilted Heart came to be.
The first time you reach the Deja/Roamers. Unfortunately, this is when Kiefer leaves...
Dharma Temple/Alltrades Abbey. Some people consider it the Best Level Ever (particularly in the remake where it's more balanced than the original) finding it to be reasonably challenging but not too much so. To these people, the storyline is a truly epic tale involving a missing high priest, an occupied temple, an ordinary man trying to protect his sister from a city of vice, a slightly creepy guard cast out of his position (who turns out to be okay in the end), and three heroes brought down to nothing who have to fight their way out of that city and make things right. It would almost make an excellent game in itself. As for everyone else's opinion...see That One Level below.
The fact that the Updated Re-release on the Nintendo 3DS is getting a completely new localization for its international release. Some people welcome this, as they're satisfied enough with the game finally averting No Export for You after close to 3 years, while others are against it due to the copious puns and accents in the dialogue of newer Dragon Quest localizations like IV and IX being annoying to them.
When it was found that the international 3DS version replaced the remastered orchestral score with synthesized (albeit still remastered) versions of the music, the base split even further: Some felt ripped-off, some think the decision was Enforced by licensing issues, and others preferred the original soundtrack to begin with.
The Demon King Orgodemir is the franchise's version of Satan. Upon gaining power, Orgodemir entered a war with the Almighty and sent monsters to wipe out all life on the various islands of the world, succeeding in sealing away all but one of them. One of these islands, Buccanham, entered into an alliance with the Sea Dragon pirates in order to fight Orgodemir; in retaliation, he personally froze the pirates and their ship alive and cursed Buccanham so that any newborn baby would turn into a mindless monster on their first full moon, usually attacking their own parents before leaving. Upon losing to the Almighty's Thanatos Gambit, Orgodemir tricks the heroes into reviving his spirit, disguised as the Almighty. He then starts his conquest anew by sealing away the islands that pose a threat and flooding the entire world with monsters before being defeated for good.
Cardinal Sin is the leader of Orgodemir's forces at Alltrades Abbey and proves to be the most depraved of his many commanders. Having slain or imprisoned everyone working at the Abbey, Sin and his forces steal the skills of those who come wanting to change classes and drops them into a prison aptly described as a living hell. In Pilgrim's Perdition, Sin's victims are tempted by his minions to win their freedom by wielding the Soulstealer, a blade constructed from part of the wielder's soul, and stealing five souls. The victims' bodies are taken to Precipice Pass, where the survivors of the Abbey's fall are kept, and turned into the wardens; anyone who breaks the rules there are slaughtered. Those who successfully steal five souls, as well as those who escape the Pass, go to Allblades Arena and are forced to fight each other to the death for their freedom. The winners are escorted to Sin, who reveals there was never any chance at freedom and kills them on the spot.
Demonic Spiders: Birds Of Terrordise are capable of doing lots of damage to the party by using Inferno. Of course, they are located in the final dungeon.
Evil Is Sexy: Orgodemir's humanoid form. At least, he thinks it is. The final battle even lampshades it with one of his taunts, asking you if you can "bring yourself to strike such beauty". But then he ends up getting stuck between his two forms and ultimately having his flesh MELT RIGHT OFF HIS BONES.
Melvin apparently thinks so, at least in the PS1 version....
Lucky Panel in the 3DS version. Since all the pairs are actual items now, winning this game constantly will give you items and equipment which can be considered a Disc-One Nuke, especially if you win the Zombiesbane in the Present Casino near Dharma/Alltrades, which will last you until after Coastal/Buccanham.
When farming against Metal Slimes, Blade of Ultimate Power becomes this, though only in the 3DS version. The change to flat damage allows for bypassing their massive defense stat, making the move practically a One Hit Kill on them.
In the 3DS version, the traveler's tablets. If you managed to keep your characters under level 20 by the time you finish Dharma/Alltrades Abbey, you can grind in the Slime Forest, where you can get the battles needed to level up your classes just by fighting Slime so you hardly get any experience points. You can literally level all your characters up to the advance classes only hours after unlocking the class system, making most of the game a joke. By the time Aishe joins, you can create your own tablets and basically make your own Slime Forest with no level cap. Meaning you can grind for classes indefinitely without raising your level.
Good Bad Bugs: A programming error in the remake causes Kiefer's defense to increase to a staggering 579 upon reaching level 50.
Goddamned Bats: Vile Vials can dazzle your party with sand as well as make them fall asleep. Thankfully, it's not hard to cure it if you level up specific classes at Dharma/Alltrades Abbey.
Iron Woobie: It's a long game with a long list of these
Maeve. Because nothing says determined like letting the heroes kill you without protest in order to lift a curse on your home town.
Nava refuses to angst over her situation, instead quietly focusing on doing whatever she can to help others.
Magnificent Bastard: Arguably Orgodemir. He doesn't act much like this at first. But then you get to Disc 2 and find out that he's been impersonating the Almighty.
Memetic Mutation: Angrily demanding that Kiefer give back the seeds they had used on him after he leaves the party in addition to the equipment he had on is very common among Japanese players.
Moment of Awesome: Witnessing the humans finally rise up against the monsters after clearing the arena portion of Alltrades Abbey but before fighting Cardinal Sin.
Moral Event Horizon: The captain of the Ruckers army crosses the line when he tosses Lucia off a cliff, despite her being only eight years old. Though Hybris goes a step too far in getting revenge, it's understandable that he would hate the Ruckers after that.
Regenstein/Dialac. Frozen in stone by the Gray Rain, while most of the villagers were performing a ceremony meant to summon normal rain. In one case, one of the statues crumbles away the second you touch him. Oh, and one of the villagers was away when the rain fell, and spent all those years searching for a cure, only to find one long after it was too late to restore anyone. Yep, everyone in that town (except the one kid whose statue was protected from the elements) is dead, and there's nothing you can do about it.
Orgodemir's final final form is pretty unsettling. Basically, rather than going into more powerful-looking forms as the battle continues, he starts melting.
The Scrappy: Maribel is this to many players before her dad gets sick. Afterward, she's not too bad. Most of the time. Hondara/Pike on the other hand, is always this, even in-game! And no, he doesn't get better, either. The remake helps deal with this by making him more amusing.
"Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: It can be hard to get into this game after the recent ones or even some of the remakes, and some of the criticisms of this game was that it looked dated for the time it was released, with CGI breaking up the game's visual style. Keep in mind the game's development began for the 64DD in 1996, and development switched to the PlayStation in 1997 and remained in Development Hell for about three years. By the time it was released in America, it was 2001 and the PlayStation 2 and Xbox had been around for a while, and the GameCube was just two weeks ahead. Of course, the 3DS remake gave the game a face lift.
Slow-Paced Beginning: We hope you like exposition...you're going to be seeing a lot of it in the beginning. The 3DS version fixes this by making the intro much shorter.
Spoiled by the Format: Hooray, you revealed the entire world and beat Orgodemir! ...but if you're playing the original version, there's a whole other disk left, and you know it's not empty...
Tear Jerker: Not everything's resolved so happily, unfortunately.
Dialac/Regenstein is mostly a failure for the heroes: all of the petrified townsfolk except for Felix cannot be revived, as their statues are too damaged. The kid has to come to terms with the fact that everyone he knew is dead.
Even though Verdham/Greenthumb Gardens is saved, things don't entirely end well. The villager who left went and formed his own community nearby, named Mentare/Wilted Heart — because he never married and never got to be with the woman who loved him.
That One Attack: Though he's rather manageable otherwise, Cumulus Vex can use Thin Air to wreak havoc on your party. He himself is also immune to Thin Air, which is annoying since he calls flunkies. In some ways, this is Laser-Guided Karma, since you might have been using Thin Air to clear groups of enemies.
Deathpal/Hacrobat is the first notable bump in the road. He seals your magic via the cave he resides in and is the first boss to potentially strike twice. Making this all the worse is that he has a dazzle ability that makes the fight all the more infuriating. In a way it's almost a sign of things to come, as Dharma Temple/Alltrades Abbey will soon be approaching, and he exemplifies what to expect from it. Thankfully the fight does have a saving grace in the Woodcutter who, while weak, can provide you with additional healing.
Inopp and Gonz (or as the remake puts them, Rashers and Stripes). Not the hopeless boss fight, but afterwards. Oh, and if you don't beat them first try then you have to go into the rematch without the free heal you get the first time around. Inopp in particular has the ability to snort sand out of his nose in order to blind party members.
Following Rashers and Stripes are the four bandits who can cast various status ailments on you. They're easier in the remake where they don't do much damage overall (though they still use many status ailments regardless), and you don't have to worry about losing gold if you lose, despite them being...you know, bandits.
The Time Sage/Time Being can be as difficult as it can be annoying. He and his minions have a substantial amount of health, and if you don't drain the minions' health fast the can restart the encounter. Even beyond that they can all hit pretty hard if you let your guard down, and the constant resetting can get tiresome, so expect to be here a while.
The ZoeMage/Envoy has the ability to cast Kasnooze and Fizzle as well as the ability to Kaswoosh the whole party, rendering them helpless and doing lots of damage. You can't use offensive magic either, since he can use Bounce. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from beating him at his own game if you have access to Armamentalist since they can use Bounce too, but not everyone will think of that or have access to the spell.
HellCloud/Cumulus vex is the first boss to use magic attacks that can ignore your defenses and one-hit-kill you, and can attack twice in a row, leading to party members dying every round. Most notable is that he use Thin Air against you - which hurts you as much as it does most enemies. On top of this, he is a Flunky Boss who himself is immune to Thin Air.
That One Level: Dharma Temple/Alltrades Abbey. Let's clarify, shall we? You enter a perfectly normal looking area, but get flushed down to a crappy prison area, with all of your few, but helpful, spells and abilities stolen until the 3/4 point of the chapter here. There is no way back to the present until you beat Cardinal Ship/Sin, the shops sell crappy gear and items, there's an extremely hard-to-find mapshard/fragment that's hidden in some obscure little hut that you may not even know you can enter unless you tilt the camera ''just'' right, the monsters and bosses are notably stronger than your last adventure, you only have three underwhelming characters (The NPCs are decent at best, but ditch you as the story demands, leaving without any help often), you're still probably feeling a bit sore that Kiefer abruptly left the party, you cannot use return or outside spells to easily get to inns in order to rest or priests in order to revive or save (both of which you will likely need often, even if you buy tons of herbs), the dungeons are colossal and confusing (easily the largest and hardest in the game) with no checkpoints save for one crappy little town which is worse than the prison town you started at, you have to fight in a tournament of rather strong bosses (Allblades Arena). And to top that all off, even after you've freed the Abbey and unlock the job system, you don't even get any freebies when class changing, and you will need to grind your classes to a decent level to even hope to stand a chance against the bandit goons back in the present. Yuji Horii has gone to admit in interviews that he likes to kick players when they're down. The entire chapter created a Broken Base between those who liked VII and those who Rage Quit.
At least the game is kind enough to give you an item that replicates the Heal spell when used in battle and can be used indefinitely soon after you get here. You will be getting a lot of use out of it.
Dharma Temple/Alltrades Abbey is made easier in the 3DS version, though even then it's the first part of the game to provide a challenge since the previous levels are a bit of a cakewalk, at least by comparison. It also helps that you have access to the casino that you can use to get gear such as Cloaks Of Evasion to make it easier to avoid enemy attacks.
Any area that's 3D and requires you to navigate different sides and elevations simultaneously. Thankfully, there are only a few, but they can get pretty dang confusing, even with a guide.
That One Puzzle: The statue puzzle that you need to complete in order to get two tablet fragments, You need to make the statues face each other...but they move three at a time, instead of simply one or two. Good luck.
Speaking of abruptly introducing other lands, it's a shame given how much personality is put into each town that nothing of consequence happens to their abrupt re-introduction onto the world stage, and there's no interaction between the many nations. For example, Falrod/Faraday has technology far more advanced than anybody else on the planet but nothing comes of it.
Tier-Induced Scrappy: This applies to three out of five playable characters at the end of the main story, though the remake changes it around a bit. The hero and Gabo/Ruff are always keystones of the party, however:
Maribel: Plot circumstances places Maribel out of the party a good portion of the way through the game. This leaves her deficient in class development and experience that everyone else gets. However, she gets a chance to catch up later in the game, but depending on how much the player wanted to catch up Mervyn and Aishe, she may just be left behind. However, the 3DS version has her level up the quickest out of anyone, and her speed has been increased from the PSX version. Her high speed makes a very large difference, as it makes her an arguably even better healer than Mervyn.
Mervyn: Joins at level 19 (Way better than Gabo's level 1, when your characters are likely in the teens), but unfortunately has zero points in any class development, and will likely never catch up to Ruff or the hero even with the time he spends in the party. (Unless one is willing to stop and grind and intentionally make it so that he can catch up to the others). The 3DS version makes it even worse since he may be as many as ten levels behind the first trio. While his stats favour a Magic Knight with more emphasis on the magic, his low speed makes using him as the primary source of healing a bit tricky since he will almost always be beaten out in speed by the enemies.
Aishe: Despite that the game is nowhere near over by the time she joins, she suffers from Late Character Syndrome. Along with Maribel, she was the other one most players ditched. Just like Mervyn, she will be pretty far behind the rest of the group, but on the plus side, she has some points in dancer and warrior already. She was often ditched for Maribel merely because the hero and Gabo/Ruff are already great attackers themselves, whereas her stats favour a fighter. However, fighters are quite powerful in this game thanks to abilities like Oomph, Sap, and Focus Strength (the latter of which she will already have.) and taking some time to grind her up to prestige classes becomes quite worthwhile.
A lot of this is fixed in the 3DS version thanks to the traveler's tablets. If your characters remains below level 20, you can grind in the Slime Forest which gives you the needed battles for your classes, while giving you next to no experience points so you don't over level and completely break the game. Since Mervyn joins at 19, you can get him past all the basic classes and even the in intermediate classes within just a couple of hours without him leveling up. By the time you get Aishe, you can create your own travel's tablets with no level cap. Meaning you can create your own slime tablet and grind there indefinitely.
Toy Ship: Gabo is heavily implied to have a major crush on Fosse.
The Woobie: ELLIE. A Killer Robot who gets repurposed and reprogammed by Jerkass Zebbot, used to help destroy all her kind, and still gets All of the Other Reindeer treatment from the angry villagers. Zebbot also turns her into a Replacement Goldfish for his dead fiancée, giving her the same name and treating her as a Robot Maid. Back in the present, she's still slaving away in their little cottage, trying to feed soup to Zebbot's long-skeletonized remains. Oh, and the ambitious young king of the region hauls her off to study, and his clumsy scientists waste no time in removing random parts to see how it affects her. Even when you stop this, she's just taken back home to spend the rest of her days in isolation, tending to her master's skeleton. Sure, she says she's happy, but...Luckily for her, the rest of her days aren't that long; if you ever choose to visit the house again, you'll find that she's broken down, finally joining Zebbot in death.
You kind of have to feel sorry for Sieble/Buddy. The town he's living in is a complete Doom Magnet, both of his pets sacrifice themselves to save his life, and he may end up the only survivor of the invasion of the Hellworms/Worms of Woe if you killed Chibi/Wiggles rather than warned him about the villagers' plot.