After sinking about 37 hours into it, I finally beat Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen! So the big question is, was it worth it?
The version of DQIV I played is for the DS, but it's actually a remake of an old Nintendo game, Dragon Warrior IV: Chapters of the Chosen, which it seems most of my brothers played at some point growing up. Glad to know I'm finally catching up on all the great stuff they did before I was old enough to remember... Anyway, I suspect this version got a bit of a face lift, and from what I can tell they modified some of the names and so forth, but the basic story seems to be largely the same. There are 5 main chapters (and a bonus 6th chapter for overachievers). The first four chapters each focus on a different character and their very own mini plot arc. The fifth chapter introduces the Hero(ine) - bec, in this case, naturally - who then goes about collecting all the other characters to create the ultimate party capable of saving the world. Multiple times, in fact. I think there are about three "final" bosses. Yep, I beat them all. And saw the ending cutscene and credits twice, once after the end of chapter 5 and again after the final, final boss in chapter 6. Seems a bit redundant to me, but oh well.
Overall, it was a fun game. It has a lot of the same mechanics and quirks as Dragon Quest IX, the only other one in the series I've played to date besides Rocket Slime (which doesn't really count; it's more of a spinoff). I missed the alchemy pot, but in retrospect I didn't miss actually doing any of the alchemy, just collecting all the ingredients for it... There was a good mix of characters, and I even found myself changing up my party for some of the bosses to better tailor the abilities available to me to what I was fighting. That seems to be pretty rare in an RPG like this. Most bosses I could get away with straight melee attacks and occasional healing, but there were a few where it was much more effective to use one or two mages instead. I didn't even feel like the enemies cheated (mostly). And best of all, there were metal slimes, the rare and valuable enemy that gives boatloads of XP if you can find and beat one... those made level grinding WAY more tolerable.
So yes, I think it was worth it. You could easily pound through it in under 30 hours if you didn't do all the extra stuff, but it wouldn't be Dragon Quest if it didn't have all that optional content. If you enjoy old school RPGs in the style of Final Fantasy, you should definitely give this series a whirl.