The dragons are coming! The dragons are coming!!!
This is the core concept of 7th Dragon III Code: VFD, a new 3DS dungeon-crawler JRPG from SEGA. VFD is the fourth game in the series, but it’s the first to make its way out of Japan. This newest title is a direct sequel to 7th Dragon 2020, a game in which a horde of dragons attack Tokyo. Fast forward 80 years later, in the year 2100; the world has been living in peace since the dragon attacks in 2020, all except for the continued existence of dragonsbane, a flower spread by dragons that causes a deadly disease called Dragon Sickness in humans.
Starting the game, you’re introduced to the Nodens, a company that’s created a hot new game experience called 7th Encount. The venture allows users to be virtually transported to the dragon attacks of 2020. All of this is a front to search for people who are adept at fighting dragons. Opposing humans above all, the True Dragons are all-powerful beings that have the power to wipe out all life on earth, and exist on a cycle of death and rebirth. The 7th Dragon, VFD, is believed to be the strongest dragon of them all, and is considered to bring the end of the 20,000 year cycle– as in The End for all heroes. Nodens is well aware that the 7th True Dragon will return and threaten all of humanity, which becomes the ultimate threat within the story.
Like many games, you begin your adventure by creating a character. There are a total of eight character classes, with just four of them unlocked in the beginning. Every class has a male and a female character, with each gender having two different designs and three different colors. Afterwards, you can pick from 40 different voice actors to voice your character.
Your main character travels to Tokyo to try out 7th Encount and meets Mio, a girl who suffers from Dragon Sickness. Mio doesn’t want to go into the experience alone, so she shares her tickets to the attraction with you. From there, Mio, your character, and the party you create are drafted by Nodens to search for the True Dragons in order to gain information on how to defeat the 7th True Dragon. This is done by using a specially-made portal to travel to both the past and the far future.
While traveling through time, the team explores various dungeons and mazes. Just like in many games within the genre, the map on the lower screen fills in as the floor is explored, all while finding treasure chests and rescuing citizens stranded around the world. On top of these random encounters, dragons can be seen (and avoided) in the overworld outside of battles. These dragons, ranging from hammerhead dragons to dragonfly… dragons (yup, you got it: dragonfly dragons), have a set number for each dungeon. If you’re in a battle near a dragon on the map, the dragon will edge closer to your fight– and, unless you finish in time, the dragon will enter the fight, even if it’s a battle with another dragon.
As far as the battle system goes, you have three characters as your primary team and other teams set as your support. Characters can attack and defend, and each class has unique sets of skills. For instance, the God Hand class can heal and remove status ailments, but can also add stacks of “God Depth” using jabs until they can unleash punch combinations that do massive damage. There’s also the Duelist, who uses spells, summons, and sets traps that rely on the cards they draw each turn.
Characters set as supports fill up a support gauge, with speed and effects varying, depending on the class. They can then be summoned either one at a time to do extra damage, remove enemy buffs, and add their own debuffs. In between turns, an entire support row can be summoned to buff, heal or revive your characters. And once you have nine characters, a Unison skill that uses the entire team can be used. All of these abilities can be upgraded through skill points, and those skill points can be reassigned outside of dungeons at Nodens.
Other noteworthy features
Nodens offers more than just skill point allocation; players expand the resources and services at the company by using Dz, a form of in-game currency for you, the player– which is acquired by killing dragons. One Dz is earned for each dragon killed, and once obtained, the Dz can then be used to expand on various additions to buildings, from medical and training facilities to a snazzy rooftop bar.
Quests are also available to take on from the various employees at Nodens. Characters can even date one another, from your created characters to the established story characters. NPCs saved from dungeons can be found throughout Nodens, and may offer new skills or items as a thanks for being rescued.
And there you have it, the very basics of the newest title in the 7th Dragon series! There’s a lot more to talk about in VFD, which releases in the U.S. on July 12th, so come back then and check out our full review right here on Nintendo Inquirer!