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Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Forgotten Past beginner's guide

Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Forgotten Past presents players with an epic adventure. Even if you know what you're doing, you won't clear it in a handful of hours.

There is much to see on your journey, and there are numerous challenges to overcome. In this guide, you'll find some general tips to get you started and help you find your bearings, so that your quest is successful.

Saving your progress

You can create and save as many as three adventure logs at once.

When you are playing and need to quit in a hurry, access the menu and choose the "Misc." option to take advantage of the "Quick Save." Doing so creates a temporary file so that you can resume your adventure the next time you have a moment (at which point the file disappears).

When you want to make a permanent save that you can load until you specifically overwrite it, however, visit a church within the local town area. Since not every church is obviously located, look for the building with a symbol that looks like a silver cactus. There, you can take advantage of numerous options over the course of your quest.

A church's top option, Confession, saves your progress. The Divination option lets you know how many experience points you need to gain in battle to level up your characters. Resurrection lets you bring back someone who has perished, for a fee. Purification and Benediction remove poison and curses, respectively, but are unlikely to prove relevant until well into your adventure.

Create an adventure log to overwrite your existing save to one of the three available slots, or save to a new slot if you prefer. To reduce the likelihood that you will lose important data, make sure to visit churches and update your log regularly.

Take a look around

Unlike the Dragon Quest games that came before it, Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Forgotten Past lets you manipulate a camera as you explore three-dimensional areas. Press the Nintendo 3DS shoulder buttons to rotate the camera to the left or right, which sometimes let you see points of interest that you would otherwise miss.

Even early in the quest, it is sometimes easy to get lost in the areas you explore, or to miss something important. Make sure that you pay close attention to your surroundings. Check behind buildings for barrels you can break apart. They may contain valuable items or gold.

The map on the touchscreen is also extremely helpful. Early in the adventure, for instance, you need to descend a staircase to find an underground passage that leads to a hermit's hut. If you don't rotate the camera, you could easily miss noticing that the stairs exist, even if you pass through town several times. That vital staircase shows on the map, though.

Maps also do a good job of letting you know where you are in relation to area entrances and exits (marked by green bars). Sometimes, items you need to locate are also outlined and may even glow faintly. Don't overlook that valuable tool.

A little conversation

There is a time for action, and there is a time to talk.

As you advance through the game, you will quickly build a party of heroes. When there is at least one friend in your party, you can press the B button to initiate a conversation. Your available ally will often provide clues about what you should be doing next, in case you forgot. The non-playable characters that you meet in towns are similarly helpful. You can talk to them, and they will fill you in on the local gossip, which often relates directly to either a current quest or to one you'll undertake soon. If you ever find yourself lost and there are NPCs you haven't yet met, make their acquaintance.

Equip yourself

When you find new gear, immediately check to see if it will improve your situation.

Typically, you can find gear on sale at the local weapon shop, but you might also discover it in treasure chests and other more surprising places such as dresser bureaus. When you access the menu, select the "Equip" option and choose the relevant character.

On that screen, you will see your character. Press Left or Right on the directional pad to cycle between equipment types. You can change your Weapon, Armour, Shield, Helmet and Accessory. If there are multiple options available for a particular bit of gear, look at the left column on the touchscreen as you cycle between them.

Stats affected by the potential equipment change will appear with an arrow pointing to the potential new stats. For instance, you might see that your character's defense is eight with no armor equipped. If you are thinking about equipping the wayfarer's clothes, an arrow will point to the number 15, which is in green. This means it is an improvement, whereas a negative change would appear in red.

Some items might improve one stat while lowering another. It's up to you to decide which areas need the most work, a decision that may also be impacted by your current budget. If you have a bunch of old equipment gathering dust in your inventory, sell it at a shop to raise money so that you can purchase something better.

A night on the town

When you enter a new village, you will have a primary and a secondary reason to be excited. The primary reason involves whatever quest brought you there, but new towns also mean new opportunities to grow stronger.

Look at the map, and you'll typically see icons pointing to a weapon shop, an armor shop, a church and an inn. These are tremendous resources. You can spend money resting up at the inn, if monster encounters have taken their toll on your health. You can purchase new equipment at the shops to better survive meetings with the hostile wildlife. Churches allow you to save your progress and revive fallen party members, along with related functions. If you don't have enough money for the best gear, or to resurrect a fallen ally, this is a good time to battle the monster hordes just outside of town until you do.

When you're done shopping and recovering, that's when you should get back to your adventure, now armed and ready to face the greater challenges that are almost certain to follow.

Growing stronger

Once you advance far enough in your quest, you'll find monsters to battle on the world and dungeon maps. When you defeat them, you earn experience points that allow your characters to gain levels. As they progress through those character levels, the heroes often gain additional HP and MP as a reward, so that they can withstand more damage and make use of additional abilities in combat.

Other than gaining more health and magic, the heroes may also gain points in a few other categories:

  • Strength: Added to the strength of the weapon equipped to determine total damage attacks inflict (as Attack).
  • Agility: Determines how quickly a character moves in battle, which can affect turn order and allow a character to move before enemies or dodge attacks.
  • Resilience: Improves defense against physical attacks from enemies, in conjunction with armor (as Defence).
  • Wisdom: Improves the efficacy of magic spells.
  • Style: Essentially, this indicates how good your characters look, which doesn't seem to be relevant early in the adventure.

You may also occasionally learn spells, which fall into offensive and defensive categories. However, the characters won't start with such abilities available, and will have to instead rely purely on physical combat during any initial skirmishes. If you're curious how much work your characters have ahead of them before they can advance to the next level, check with the local priest at a church. Divination is one free service offered, and it provides a report for each character in your party. If you're about to head to a dangerous dungeon, it's worth checking to see if you are about to go up a level. If you are, you might want to battle monsters just outside for a town until you gain that extra level, just so you'll stand a better chance in coming battles.

Combat basics

As you explore the map, you often will find enemies wandering about. If you come into contact with one, which is easy to do in cramped quarters (especially since some will rush you on sight), you're taken to a turn-based battle.

Initially, you can choose to Fight or Flee. If you like, you can also adjust Tactics, so that your party members don't require your direct input. Settings can be adjusted, as well, to impact the game's video and audio presentation, as well as message speed. Once you commit to fighting, you have a fuller variety of options:

  • Attack: Use a physical attack to strike the enemy or enemy group that you specify.
  • Spells: Expend MP (if available) to use an offensive or defensive spell.
  • Abilities: Make use of a special ability that typically does more damage. The first ability you learn, for instance, is an elemental fire attack.
  • Items: Use an item, such as a medicinal herb, to help a party member or to hurt a foe.
  • Defend: Take a defensive stance that limits the impact of any enemy attacks on that character during that round.
  • Flee: Attempt to run from the current adversaries (this may not always prove successful).

The battle continues, one round at a time, until enemies are defeated (or have fled), or until your party is wiped out and unable to keep battling.

Your heroes are actually fairly smart by default, and will work together even without specific direction beyond which enemy or enemy group they should attack. If you have several characters attacking a group of slimes, for instance, a strong character will target a separate slime within the group if he can take it out all by himself. That leaves the other characters to hopefully whittle away at a weaker slime, so that the strongest party member's attack isn't wasted on an adversary that was almost dead.

As you battle, make sure that you're eliminating enemies as quickly as possible. Weigh the value of quickly eliminating a few weak enemies (so that they can't spend several turns chipping away at your health) versus focusing strong attacks first on a foe who deals a lot of damage each round.

Monitor each party member's health closely. Enemies are capable of occasionally landing blows that will do more damage than normal, so don't forget to heal a character who only has a few HP points remaining, even if enemies in the area tend to deal only 2 or 3 damage per round. You don't want to have to pay for a resurrection procedure back at the local church.

It's also possible that party members will become incapacitated or rendered all but useless for several turns. As an example, the Lips enemy that you encounter early in Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Forgotten Past can give your characters goosebumps, which prevents them from attacking and accepting commands until the effect wears off. Another monster kicks up a dust storm that leaves the heroes blinded, so that many of their attacks will miss.

A world of shortcuts

As Dragon Quest 7 begins, the world you have available to explore consists of a single island. Gradually, thanks to your efforts, the map expands to include numerous additional islands. You will have to do a lot of backtracking, but there are shortcuts at your disposal. One early shortcut is the chimaera wing. You can use it on the world map to return to a town you recently visited, rather than walking back after clearing a dungeon. When your hero gains enough levels, he also learns the Zoom spell. You can use it to quickly warp to the entrance of a few key locations, such as the Shrine of Mysteries, Estard and other towns you discover on your journey. That's important, because backtracking can be a nuisance.

Fairly early in the campaign, you also gain access to a boat so that you can move around the overall world map. This seems like a safe way to travel, but it's really not: Enemies can attack you there in random battles. That's good if you need to level up for a bit, but in general you should only go sailing when you don't have better options. Unless you're charting new territory, the Zoom spell is still the most effective way to get around.

Kicking off your adventure

Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Forgotten Past eventually becomes an epic adventure, but it starts out with a lot of busy work — and you won't even face your first enemy battle for quite some time. This mini walkthrough takes you through the introductory challenges, so that you can sink your teeth into the parts of the game that should feel more immediately familiar with Dragon Quest games.

Prince Kiefer, Mayor Mayde, Maribel and the Pilchard Harvest

The game starts with the hero and Prince Kiefer standing in a small building. Prince Kiefer wants the hero to promise to remain silent about the location. Then there is a second scene, with Maribel, and finally you are in control. Enter the building to the upper left. Climb the ladder, and interact with the bed to sleep.

The next morning is the day of the pilchard harvest. Your father went to the jetty to meet with Mayor Mayde. Head down the stairs to meet with your mother again. Take the pilchard sandwich and go outside. The jetty is located to the right, past where you met with Maribel the previous evening. Step onto the boat for a conversation. Then you automatically hand over the sandwich.

Go down the stairs and continue exploring the boat. Talk to everyone you meet. In the lowest level, find Maribel hiding behind some barrels, which you can break to reach her. If you don't see her, you can rotate the camera perspective until you do. After the conversation with Maribel, head back to the deck for a cutscene.

Now, head back up the steps from the pier. A guard talks to you. You are wanted at Estard Castle, to the north. Maribel briefly joins your party, and then you can head north through town and out the gate along its northwest side.

Estard Castle, the king, Prince Kiefer and Estard

When you exit to the world map, head north on the trail. Once you reach the castle, Maribel abandons your party. Then you can explore. Head north through the gate to arrive at the castle itself. Once there, enter the gate and Kiefer will stop you. A long conversation follows, referencing a shrine to the east.

After Kiefer leaves, head upstairs to meet with the king. After a brief meeting, you can head back downstairs and leave the castle, then the town. On the map, make your way back toward the southeast, to your home town. There, return to your house and talk to your mother, who will tell you that Prince Kiefer stopped by recently.

Leave your house and head out of town, back to the world map. Return to Estard and talk to the young man in the red cap, who is standing near the fountain at the town entrance. He'll mention that he saw Kiefer, who was talking about going somewhere east of Pilchard Bay.

The Shrine of Mysteries, back to Estard

Leave Estard and head south, but veer east toward the area along that side of the map. Enter the new area and proceed along the map until you reach the building, which is the Shrine of Mysteries. The camera will pan to show you Kiefer standing by a statue. Head around the stone wall to meet with him at the base of the statue. A discussion follows, then a brief cutscene and then more talk. Now you need to find Dermot the Hermit.

Dermot the Hermit and the Sizzling Stone

Return to Estard, and check behind the first building on the south side of town, west of the fountain. There you will find a staircase. Descend it to reach an underground area. Head along the passage to access a staircase that leads to another lower level. Here, you emerge in a cave. Walk to its exit to arrive at another map area. Enter the house. Go downstairs to meet Dermot the Hermit. Show him the book and decline to sell it when he offers 500 gold. He'll agree to study it and tell you to return with Kiefer.

With that tended to, return to Estard once more and then exit to the world map. Enter the castle, then go upstairs. From there, head to the room to the left, where Kiefer is waiting. Talk to him. He gives you the Sizzling Stone and joins your party. Now return to see Dermot the Hermit again. After the conversation that follows, make your way back to Estard, and a cutscene follows as you arrive.

Back home in Pilchard Bay, Yellow Fragments and Four Saints

When that scene concludes, you are back at your home in Pilchard Bay. Leave the house and exit through the northwestern gate for another scene that takes you automatically to the ruins. Answer "Yes" to both of Kiefer's questions, and you'll keep things going. A new opening appears, and you're standing in front of it. Go ahead and enter to arrive at the location's interior area.

Start forward, toward a floating creature. Note the pulsating points on the map. Check them to obtain Yellow Fragment items. Then talk to the creature. He invites you to talk to the Four Saints, which are statues to his left and right. Start by talking to the leftmost statue, the first of the Great Saints. He represents Earth. Then talk to the second through fourth saints, who represent Wind, Fire and Water.

Talk to the winged creature again, and he'll tell you about an area east of Estard that has long been sealed. You must travel there, enter gravestones that lead underground, find sacred treasures, and bring them back to this location.

The Grave of Earth and Fire

Exit the ruin and return to the initial world map. You may recall a gated area, located east of Estard, which until now has been closed. It is finally open. Enter the area to arrive at the Grave of Earth and Fire.

The Grave of Wind and Water

Travel through the forested area to reach the Grave of Wind and Water. Here, there are two more underground corridors, which contain the Saint's Shield and the Saint's Sword. Now you have all four pieces of desired equipment, so return to the ruins with the waiting winged creature and the four statues.

Back to the ruins

Back in those ruins, check each of the statues, and you will receive prompts to offer up the appropriate pieces of equipment that you just obtained from the graveyard to the north.

When you have finished, the double doors behind the statues will open, and you can proceed. A brief cutscene follows, and then you should talk to the floating creature. He explains that there are pedestals with which you can interact.

Talk to the creature again for the chance to examine pillars. Look at the yellow one for now, and fit the two yellow fragment pieces you found previously in the upper left of the five pedestals. If you talk to the creature, he'll tell you that you can find a third fragment by visiting a ship that just returned home to port.

Pilchard Bay, the castle, back to the tablets

Exit the ruins to find that morning has arrived. Kiefer leaves for the castle, and you should head back home to Pilchard Bay. There, enter your house and talk to Pollock, who is standing at the table. He will hand over a yellow stone fragment.

Next, start out of the house for a cutscene, wherein you lose the Sizzling Stone. Then go to the castle to meet Kiefer again. He is in his room on the second floor. He joins your party yet again. Now the two of you should return to the shrine and head toward the room with the columns.

As you climb the steps toward the opening that the statue revealed when you visited during the previous evening, a new scene follows and Maribel joins your party. Then you can enter the interior area. Head to the room with the columns. Select the familiar yellow column from the menu. Then press R to rotate your yellow fragment once and finally place it. Light flashes, and a cutscene follows.

The first battle and Maeve

Follow in the direction Maribel departed and another cutscene plays out, after which you will engage in the game's first battle. The slimes can be defeated using just standard attacks. They don't hit hard enough to put your party members at risk.

When the battle ends, another cutscene follows, after which you can continue along the trail to eventually trigger yet another cutscene. When it concludes, you will have met Maeve, who joins your party for a time. Then you can head north to exit the forest and arrive at a new world map.

On the world map, simple monster sprites represent enemies. You can brush against them to battle, or head east to find the village Maeve mentioned. There, your arrival triggers a new cutscene.

Maeve is missing. You can head forward toward the cross symbol to find a man who will let you save your progress up to this point, and there is an inn where you can restore your health. Your adventure has properly begun at last.

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