I have been playing a helluva lot of older Dragon Quest in the past month and yes it has absolutely always been better than Final Fantasy, on the whole. The SFC FF trilogy holds its own really well though (and in the case of DQ6 vs FF6, the latter is much stronger and more memorable even if the former is endearingly tryhard at being Dragon Quest Does Final Fantasy).
Actually, let’s do a comparative rundown~
DQ vs FF: the former holds up wayyy better thanks to lack of micromanagement and more free open world
DQ2 vs FF2: they are both bad but DQ2 is more solidly constructed, like the worst you can say about it is that it’s tedious where FF2 is just maddening
DQ3 vs FF3: DQ3 by a fucking landslide imo, it’s impeccably designed and balanced. i like FF3 but it’s so much sloppier. they both have a sweet job system and a few awesome twists though.
DQ4 vs FF4: this is a tricky one since they both have a heavy story emphasis and memorable characters. i think DQ4 edges it out for me a little these days, i just can’t say no to Alena and Taloon. really up in the air honestly.
DQ5 vs FF5: kind of incomparable because they’re doing such different things. i’d go with DQ but i have a lot of time for FF5, it might even just be my fave FF??
DQ6 vs FF6: like i said, FF6 beats it out. DQ6 is a neat change of pace but it has lots of growing pains and feels too constricted at times. FF6 is a delicious hot mess of a game with the best cast of maybe any RPG in the 16-bit era.
DQ7 vs FF7: i will never finish either of these. FF7 wins handily if you’re going by its first hour, because the Midgar segment is the best Final Fantasy has ever been. i have a hunch that the rest of DQ7 beats the rest of FF7, though.
DQ8 vs FF10: the rest of the PSX FFs don’t readily match up to DQ8, but it whups all of them and FF10 without even breaking a sweat. i <3 u DQ8
DQ9 vs Four Warriors of Light: lol (it’s FWoL btw)
DQ10 vs FF11: FUCK MMOS
this was a bad idea ._.