Customization is King – 7th Dragon III Code: VFD gives handheld dragon slayers a world of freedom
If you’ve been looking for a solid handheld epic to consume those slow summer months, you won’t have to wait long. SEGA hopes to bring 3DS owners a fresh dose of dragon-slaying adventure when 7th Dragon III Code: VFD lands on Nintendo’s handheld this July. While the 3DS has been home to a wealth of dungeon-crawlers in recent years, this journey through time and cyberspace is more of a traditional affair. The game puts players in control of an elite team that’s been tasked to hunt down and destroy invading dragons in traditional turn-based battles as they explore imaginative locales from the past, present and future in order save the world from destruction at the hands of the game’s titular 7th Dragon.
7th Dragon III Code: VFD may not be making its way to retail until July 7th, but we’ve spent the past month saving Tokyo from the dragon menace so that we can give you the skinny on what to expect from this exciting RPG.
Contrary to the misleading title, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is actually the fourth game in the series. While the first three games were developed by Imageepoch (of Luminous Arc and Stella Glow fame), SEGA took over development of Code: VFD following the studio’s disbandment in May of 2015. Despite the studio’s closure, a few notable members of the game’s development staff have remained on board, including character designer Shirou Miwa (the artist and writer of the Dogs manga series) and legendary composer Yuzo Koshiro, who is best known for his work on SEGA’s classic Streets of Rage trilogy of beat ’em ups, among countless other releases.
7th Dragon III Code: VFD’s story takes place in the year 2100, 80 years after dragons devastated mankind. Since the cataclysm, humanity has begun to prosper once again, with many relegating the war against the dragons to the annals of history. The cities have been rebuilt, businesses are flourishing, and people seem oblivious to the tragedy of nearly a century ago. However, history is poised to repeat itself as it becomes readily apparent that the dragons are once again planning to conquer the earth. The International Self-Defense Force (ISDF) have begun making preparations for another bloody war. However, a shadowy company known as ‘Nodens’ is also working to combat dragon threat. While publicly a video game development studio, Nodens is actually a front for a mega corporation whose real purpose is to scout for potential candidates with special powers by using the popular virtual reality title, 7th Encounter. The game simulates events from the previous dragon invasion of of 2021, with Nodens monitoring the game for players who can achieve an S-Rank, who are then deemed qualified to be recruited into Squad 13, an elite team tasked with defending the world from VFD, the ‘7th Dragon’.
Using their considerable wealth, Nodens has created a time machine that allows Squad 13 to travel to different periods in time to battle invading dragons and collect samples from them. These samples are then used to complete the ‘Dragon Chronicle’, a relic with the power to defeat the 7th Dragon. That means you’ll be venturing to various locales including Tokyo (2100 A.D.), Atlantis (10000 B.C.), and ‘Eden’ (7200 A.D.) over the course of your journey as you seek out these mighty creatures, meet new allies, and unravel a story that spans millennia.
Saving the world but be easy, but SEGA makes things a bit easier for fledgling heroes by allowing them to create a diverse team of Dragon Slayers. If you’ve ever played any of the Etrian Odyssey games, you’ll feel right at home as you customize your party. 7th Dragon III allows you to register 9 party members spread across 3 squads as the game’s story progresses. There are 8 possible classes to choose from, and each of these classes feature a wealth of skills and traits abilities to compliment the rest of the party. One of my favorite classes is the gun-toting Agent class. Agents make great support units. They can render themselves invisible and hack enemies, causing them to attack one another. Another interesting addition to the party are God Hands. These warriors are essentially monks, who control the battlefield with a range of martial arts and healing techniques. They prefer to fight up close, and can inflict a ‘God Depth’ on their targets. Successive hits with God Depth-imbued attacks will allow them to unleash even more powerful abilities or perform super effective buffs on their allies. If you’re a fan of Card Capture Games, you might want to keep a Duelist in your party as well. These tricksters’ abilities are decided by a deck they draw from each turn. Like a super-powered Digimon-addict, Duelists can summon monsters, inflict status ailments, and even spring traps on the opposition with the use of their cards.
Sure, these classes may sound a bit more advanced than those found your typical RPG, but you’ll still find a number of genre staples to choose from. Samurai are well-rounded fighters who can attack with a longsword or a pair of shortswords, and you’ll have access to different techniques depending on if you’re going in with a single sword or dual-wielding. Rune-Knight’s are also blade users, but they actually use a small sword as a medium to conjure even bigger, more devastating blades. They can also use their magical prowess to heal allies and boost their magic defenses.
While each character you create has a considerable number of abilities right out the gate, you can spend cash you earn on your quests to develop new abilities from one of the friendly receptionists at Nodens HQ. You can also use Skill Points to upgrade your existing skills to make your characters an even greater force to be reckoned with.
What’s just as impressive as the number of available classes is the wealth of customization that goes into them as well. The game features 32 different character models to choose from, and each model can be customized between three different color schemes: Atlantis, Tokyo and Eden styles. And, last but not least, you can select from a wide variety of voices as well. Simply put, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is no slouch when it comes to giving players the freedom to create their ideal party.
If you’ve grown tired to games that force players to choose from the same tired character classes, you’ll definitely find a lot to like about 7th Dragon III Code VFD. SEGA has done a great job of implementing new and exciting roles to round out your party while adding interesting new twists to even the most familiar classes. We’ve had a blast assembling our squads in our time with the game so far, and we’re sure you will too when the game releases this summer.
7th Dragon III Code: VFD will be available on July 12 at retail locations and digitally via the Nintendo 3DS eShop. The game is priced at $39.99/CA$54.99, and pre-order along with a limited run of launch copies will include a 28-page art book and collector’s box.
Stay tuned for more hands-on impressions from the game week when we go over some of the varied locations you’ll explore in 7th Dragon III Code: VFD.
So, do you plan on picking this up when it lands on the 3DS in a little over a month? We’d love to know if you’re looking forward to this release, so be sure to sound off in the comments section below!