Most of my internal debate about doing Project DQ centered around Dragon Quest II. It’s not that I dislike it, but I wasn’t sure if I was up to playing it.
DQII is hard. Duh. It’s a NES-era game; a lot of those older games are hard. But there is NES hard and then there’s DQII. Honestly, I’d even go so far as to say it is the hardest JRPG I’ve ever played that wasn’t outright broken. Actually, hard isn’t the right word. It’s brutal.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot about DQII I genuinely like. There are party members and they, sort of, have different classes. The world is far larger and the scope is much broader, which gives way to a lot more exploration. It just feels more like a DQ game to me than the first.
It’s just that DQII spends much of its time basically punishing you for existing. Early on enemies that should be within your level ability to battle can easily wipe the floor with your entire party. Alternately, there are the encounters with weak enemies who just happen to have debuffs that allow them to pummel you into the ground. Then there are the groups that you actually can kill, sometimes in one hit, but they put your entire party to sleep turn after turn and slowly beat you to death. And no amount of grinding will save you from an instant kill spell. Yet your spells only work about half the time and fleeing from battle is even less likely to work.
Of course, my previous experience with DQII comes solely from the NES version and I’m playing through the SFC remake. I know there have been adjustments made that should make things easier, but I don’t expect this playthrough to be anything less than difficult.