Each section here, I’m linking to a more detailed description of the game, if I have written one.
Dragon Quest, as a series, feels to me a bit like a game where the journey is the point of the game. I think the main reason why I say that is that the series tends to spend a lot of time on sub-plots in various areas as you’re advancing the main plot. Final Fantasy, in comparison, tends to have the main plot be what you’re chasing for most of the game. In Dragon Quest games, you might be searching for a missing kid, which eventually has some relation to the bigger picture. I suppose a good description of what’s afoot is that the scope of each individual area is on a more personal level. While the plot may be dark in some of the games, the “canon” name for most of the later heroes and heroines is the number of the game, which shows a certain lack of interest in a deep commitment to immersion in the story.