7th Dragon III Code: VFD Brings the Heat

In the year 2020, mysterious dragons came in and devastated the Earth in a massive attack that wiped out civilization. Fast-forward 80 years to 2100, and Earth’s civilization has rebuilt itself with the worry of dragons returning subsiding. The popular, yet enigmatic company Nodens has created a virtual reality experience that recreates the disaster of 2020. That game is known as “7th Encount.” However, unknown to the general public, Nodens is hiding a devastating secret. The dragons have returned and are an active threat to the world, and you and your group of gamers have been recruited as the new ‘Unit 13’ to eradicate the threat. You’ll need to travel through time and defeat the dragons, with the main overall goal of finding a way to slay the 7th True Dragon.

Game Name: 7th Dragon III Code: VFD
Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): SEGA
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Price: USD$39.99/CAD$54.99

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7th Dragon III Code: VFD features a fairly simplistic, if not formulaic story from top to bottom. You take the role of a gamer who is tasked to save the world once more from the impending threat of dragon destruction after beating the game “7th Encount.” However, that’s where the typical nature of this JRPG stops…or at least slows down.

The game is a dungeon crawler type JRPG. You’re going to be exploring lots of areas on foot, while encountering enemies along the way. However, the way you encounter enemies is a bit different. 

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Encountering enemies in 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is as simple as checking the encounter bar at the top left of the main screen.

Encountering enemies in 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is at a set rate, as indicated by a bar that changes color from blue to red while dungeon crawling. After a certain amount of steps, you’re bound to fight an enemy or two, or even encounter Dragonsbane seeds, which give you a set amount of SP (used to level up your character skills) for defeating them. While this may result in a grindfest from the onset, it can prove vital to preparing for big time boss battles, as well as against the dragons that you’ll have to clear in each chapter. Speaking of said dragons, they’re very viable threats. Taking too long in a battle with a minion will result in a dragon adding to your woes. It’s not hard to get overwhelmed in a dungeon if you’re not careful.

That being said, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD can be punishing on normal difficulty. Save points aren’t too far in between, and the ability to replay a battle you’ve lost certainly makes things a little bit easier. Believe me, the major emphasis is on A LITTLE BIT. Casual difficulty definitely ramps that down, but not enough to take you out of the game. That’s definitely a win for SEGA. 

It’s Not Simply About Who You Beat. It’s About How You Beat Them

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7th Dragon III Code: VFD comes with a seemingly standard turn-based party battle system. Your party is made up of 3 fighters from 8 separate classes (Samurai, Agent, Duelist, God Hand, Rune Knight, Fortuner, Mage and Banisher.) Out of those 8, you begin with the first four classes, unlocking the final four later in the game. Every class can compliment each other, it’s up to you to figure out the combination that fits you. I began with God Hand/Samurai/Agent, as the God Hand can deal out crazy damage, Samurai can buff itself and leave status effects, and the Agent has an awesome counter game which can assist the rest of my party.

You also slowly gain the ability to add extra parties to Unit 13 as you unlock party slots, adding additional buffs to your team such as health and mana recovery. Debuffs to your enemies are also a thing. Your additional parties can provide defensive and attack debuffs. Trust me, it makes the difference between getting “ROFLSTOMPED” or getting that second wind to steamroll your opponent. 

It can be increasingly difficult, as each new member you register to your team begins at Level 1 no matter what. Getting them primed and ready to go for combat can become a pain at first. However, your back up parties do gain experience points from your battle, so changing up your team dynamic to adjust to your situation shouldn’t be much of a hassle in a mid-or-endgame situation. Later on, you’ll get unison attacks, which come with the building of relationships among your team.

You Can Be Anything, But You’re A Hero First

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The level of customization that is present in terms of character creation is astounding. From gender to your overall look, design and voice (in Japanese), the customization possibilities are endless. My first character (not pictured above) is a dark skinned punk-ish dude with a ballin’ deep voice. He sounds tough, and for being a God Hand, he epitomizes tough as well (at least to me). Customizing your character completely lies about how you’re feeling, but 7th Dragon III Code: VFD leaves several options on the table. 

Alas, It’s Not Just About You

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The game features some unique NPCs with amazing, and sometimes enigmatic personalities. You have Nagamimi, a shit-talking, foul-mouthed rabbit who is tasked with helping Unit 13 get through its missions. There’s also the effeminate Julietta, a genius level scientist who is quite flirty in his own right, and his boss, Allie, the CEO of Nodens Enterprises, an enigmatic, yet helpful individual. A personal favorite is the impassioned Yuma, who is destined to beat the 7th True Dragon at all costs and becomes your rival over the course of the game.

While it isn’t just about you as the character, that doesn’t mean you have to live like crap. Beating dragons give you Dz, which allows you to upgrade your amenities at Nodens HQ. Things like a reference room and a rooftop lounge are just the tips of what can be built up in that penthouse for the right price. Also, spending Dz also allows your and your team to unlock new purchasable weapons and items to use in the world, which you use the other in-game currency, Az, to buy, thus providing an incentive to chase down the dragons in each dungeon. SEGA gets a huge nod for this idea.

The game isn’t without its foibles, though. Cutscenes can be incessantly long, and you’re unable to skip most of them. Also, watching the same battle animations repeatedly can get cumbersome. A few of the dungeons aren’t all that well designed, and can become frustrating, especially if you’re trying to get to a specific spot on the map. Heck, later dungeons can get start to look a little familiar, battle and enemy wise. Despite this, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is a pretty solid game. Don’t be surprised if you end up playing the game a few times over to experiment with different class combinations.

*7th Dragon III Code: VFD was provided by SEGA of America for review purposes. Please check out Review Guidelines for more details on how the Outerhaven handles product reviews.*

Taking the term 'Rock the Dragon' to a whole new level.
  • Standard JRPG fare, with a challenging, yet interesting twist.

Summary

7th Dragon III Code: VFD might appear to be a standard fare JRPG, and you would be right. However, the deep levels of customization, both in battle and outside of it strive to keep players engaged well throughout the game. It's a 30+ hour game just at its core, so you're going to spending quite some time playing. While it can get a little repetitive, the rewards and little set pieces that can be gained far outweigh the potential negatives that it can present.

Pros:

  • Deep customization
  • Engaging Characters

Cons:

  • Level design isn't perfect
  • Little variation in terms of battle animations
4.5

About The Author

Clinton Bowman-Christie
Managing Editor, Games & Technology

Teacher's Assistant by day, passionate gamer and wrestling fan by night. This describes Clinton to a T. A Brooklyn, New York resident for all of his life, gaming, Power Rangers, football, basketball and wrestling pretty much comprise a lot of his free time.