Now, all this is fun. As in any regular light-gun game it's the different attacks and patterns of the enemies that keep things interesting, and some of the environments you'll find yourself fighting through are surprisingly evocative or atmospheric. The sword controls don't really convey much of the feel of a real blade and the thrust move is a nightmare to pull off quickly, but, generally speaking, slashing and swiping at your TV is more entertaining than it probably sounds. The monsters are in the slightly zany Dragon Quest mould, but you get some amusing oddball critters, and the characters and the tale have enough charm and intrigue to keep you ploughing through until the end.
But by now you're expecting a however - and here it is. On the one hand, Dragon Quest Swords isn't a particularly long game. There are only eight mission areas and most of them take fifteen to twenty-five minutes to work your way through. All the same, it will take you longer than five hours to complete just because the later missions get reasonably tricky - particularly the boss battles - and, should you die, you have to start them again from square one. If you're really stuck, you can grind your way through earlier missions again to improve your high score and earn more experience and gold, enabling you in turn to upgrade your weapons and armour. All the same, I'm not sure that I'd really call this added value.
On the other hand, you wouldn't really want much more of Dragon Quest Swords than you're getting. There's no getting past the fact that the action is very repetitive and that there isn't really that much depth to the gameplay. Sure, there are some cute mini-games in town to add variety. True, the game includes a primitive weapon crafting system. All that notwithstanding, I can't imagine anyone wanting to plough through the same levels again and again in search of score perfection, and once you've cracked the game once, I doubt you'll feel inclined to go back for more.
In other words, it's fun for the shortish time that it lasts, and you wouldn't want it to last any longer. Given the price tag that's not exactly much of a recommendation. Basically, it's not a keeper - it's a game that anyone who enjoyed Dragon Quest VIII or who just fancies swinging away with a virtual sword should definitely think about renting, but you'd be a bit silly to buy it. This is a shame, because every now and then you get a glimpse of what a proper action RPG with the first-person view, the swordplay, the playful atmosphere and these graphics might have been - and that would have been a Wii Dragon Quest to treasure. This is an entertaining little distraction, and that's all.
An interesting attempt to make Dragon Quest action-packed and accessible, but it's too limited, too short and too repetitive to give you anything more than the odd hour of casual fun.