Yeah, not a whole lot of DQ popularity here. That's ok.
Toriyama only bothers people because of DBZ. Hell, I used to watch DBZ but now think it's laughable. The association doesn't really influence my opinion of the artist. He's been doing Dragon Quest well for a long time and I can appreciate his style while laughing at DBZ similarities. Chrono Trigger was another game with good character design/art direction. Similar to not hating Amano for Kartia, etc.
I can definitely see how Toriyama will turn off some gamers while luring the crowd it's most likely trying to avoid.
All in all, Dragon Quest games offer some of the deepest traditional role playing experience around. Period. If you didn't like 4, 5 or 8 then there is something wrong with your appreciation for tradition. You'll probably not like any of them if that's the case. That's cool though. It's part of the reason why I like the series. Each entry keeps the right things to keep a series going while each game creates a unique experience. DQ9 would be most similar to DQ3. You create your own party. Everything is customizable. Job changing and so on.
Most of the games in the series take longer than your normal console rpg to complete. Most recent example is DQ8. Both times I played through the game I tallied over 100 hours each.
Versions (most japanese versions have been translated independently)
DQ1 - MSX, NES, GBC and SFamicom
DQ2 - MSX, NES, GBC and SFamicom
DQ3 - NES, GBC and SFamicom
DQ4 - NES, DS, PS j
DQ5 - SFamicom, PS j, PS2 j, DS
DQ6 - SFamicom, DS j (soon US)
DQ7 - PS
DQ8 - PS2
DQ9 - DS
DRAGON WARRIOR LAND - haha. Looking like August. Having some bugs with certain status spells/timers.
The PS2 version of DQ5 is the best and translated by DQ Translations.
The SFamicom version, translated by the same team, is the best of 3.
My Fav list:
DQ8 - Narrative, not many characters, set classes but skill customization.
DQ3 - Create your party, job changing.
DQ5 - Narrative, set characters but also 50 or so recruitable monsters that each have their own set of abilities/class.
DQ4 - Narrative, set characters that play out in chapters. Eventually ending in a gathering of characters for the 5th chapter.
DQ7 - Narrative, not many characters but job/class advancement.
DQ1 - Narrative, not many characters, set classes.
DQ2 - Narrative, same. the first 2 kind of wanted to tie in (100 years apart) but soon realized it was better to do it subliminally.
DQ6 is pending simply because I've only been able to complete 90% of the game due to translation.
DQ9 is pending because I haven't finished it yet. It's similar to 3 in job/character creation. Also uses skill customization. I'm sad that it's only local multiplayer cause the character customization is awesome. A mix of 3 and 8 mainly. No voice acting hurts the narrative big time when compared to 8 along with the lack of set characters.