7th Dragon III: code VFD – Interesting Fights, Messy Menus [TGS Hands-On]

The first 7th Dragon game was a fantasy RPG in which the player would try to stop the spread of flowers which signaled a dragon's territory, so at first the sci-fi aesthetic of 7th Dragon III: code VFD (lowercase 'c' intentional) seemed like a strange choice, especially for players who missed 7th Dragon 2020. After taking your protagonist into a VR simulation, though, you're met with a scene in Tokyo's "Sky Tower," which is infested with monsters and totally overgrown in those ominous flowers. It was a nice touch, and even players who aren't familiar with what "those flowers" mean can probably appreciate the very eerie aesthetic they lend to the environment.

The demo let me create and take up to two other characters into the simulation, and four classes were available, so I was able to sample most of them: the card magic-wielding Duelist, a brawling God Hand, and a Samurai who could wield two types of blades. Samurai was fairly standard. God Hand had some interesting abilities where it could "mark" an enemy and do increasingly powerful attacks on enemies with a specific level of marky marking.

I made the protagonist a Duelist, and he would draw two random cards each turn, which could be used singularly or in combination to do types of magic, summon creatures to fight, or to lay down traps for the enemy which activate when the character is targeted. It was obvious from the get-go that a lot of thought was put into making the battle system and dungeon crawling a fun, challenging experience with fights that felt useful and interesting to play, instead of stupid garbage battles. The difficulty ramped up at a reasonable pace throughout the dungeon, though my time ran out before I could reach the end.

My biggest problem with the demo was the lack of visual coherence. The menus were chunky, jaggy, and very busy, with text crammed right up to the small margins. The interface had a sort of digital aesthetic but there was too much information to be displayed on the screen for it to look clean. I guess in the future, our eyes can take in higher amounts of tiny info at a quicker rate?

I wish that more time and planning had been put into how to display information on the battle screen, because even on the New 3DS XL, I felt like the screen was too small. The shoulder buttons were used for almost nothing; I would gladly trade a few extra button presses to hide some stuff behind a popup menu and make the battle screen much easier to look at.

As long as I live, this is how I'll remember 7th Dragon.