How advanced should I be to play Dragon Quest in Japanese?

About to go on several long trips and was thinking of giving some time to the older Dragon Quest games (Starting with IV)

I’ve just finished Genki 1, moving on to 2 this week, and I’m about to resub to Wanikani after like, a ten year absence. Think I was around level 7 or so.

I know DQ is gonna be a lot of not super useful vocab, but let’s be honest, I’m learning Japanese for nerd stuff anyways.

In English, DQ uses a lot of accent play (Right now in DQIII I’m at a town that uses a heavy Italian dialect) I wonder how crazy the dialogue might get in Japanese.

So, let’s say I’m at a beginner level with some extra vocab under my belt and a little grammar practice. Do you think I could start working my way through a full Dragon Quest in Japanese in 2 months? 6 months? Keep dreaming?


The accents are added into the localisation. They’re around the lower intermediate level, although I have only played a little of dqX offline. So you might be in for a rough start, coming fresh off genki1. You would be in better shape after genki2. That said you can try to play it and work your way through genki and you’ll see improvements in a matter of months.

It’s helpful to have a list of spells and items ready. And be prepared to look up a lot of vocab, especially at the beginning. Kanji wise they’re not gonna use a lot of complicated ones as most games are meant to be played by all ages. So you’ll see a lot of kana.

I think you’ll be fine as long as you keep up your other studies and are okay taking things slow if necessary.


Thank you. Not traveling till late December so I’ll make sure to focus on grammar till then. Now I just have to find a good offline kanji app for the plane ride…

If you want a sample of what the language level is like, here’s a random let’s-play video of the start of DQ3 (picked since you’re already playing it, so no spoiler issues and you already know what the dialogue means). The guy doing the playthrough does a fair amount of random chatter about the game and what he thinks of it (which you can just ignore for these purposes), but because he does voice all the dialog boxes etc they don’t go by too fast to read (and there’s always the pause button…)


First I would finish Genk 2 before jumping into native materials. There is just too much missing from your toolbelt at this level to take on DQ. Where you’re at, you can watch Hello Kitty, maaaaaaaaaybe Polar Bear Cafe. Finish Genki 2, test your abilities with the reading passages at the end, and you’ll probably be ready for DQ by then.

DQ is very beginner friendly once you have Genki 1 and 2 down. It’s the first game I ever beat in Japanese. It wasn’t easy per say BUT I learned a lot so by the end I was pretty comfortable skimming things. If the installment you play has voice acting its all going to be gobbly gook and make no sense and you won’t be able to parse any of it. So just focus on reading and looking up words as you go.

I saw John Wick 4 last night but this line really hit me:
“Don’t let your ambitions outgrow your worth.” (I think that’s the line)

Anyways, know where you’re at and try to focus on what you can do.


Woah, I would kind of call that racist :sweat_smile: .

Regarding DQ, I think it’s a fun experience, but be aware that the early games are kana-only mostly (last I remember) and the characters use stylized speech - something that’s understandable to native speakers, but might be whooshed by beginner / lower intermediate learners.

I think it might be better to pick up a game like Animal Crossing or Pokemon instead.

A question for the OP!

Have you gotten around to DQ yet?
Would be interested to see how you are going as I am at exactly the same point with GENKI and am planning on beginning in a few months time!

I am at about the same point: finished Genki 1, level 13 wanikani, able to muddle through easy manga… Dragon Quest is too advanced. I tried DQ7.

The only game I have found doable is Yokai Watch, and even then it is a pain to look up so many words.