Azurephile gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Azurephile gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.

  • Recommendation: Kind of around "meh" and "rad" after 57 hours of game play

  • Visual style by Akira Toriyama, creator of the Dragon Ball series

  • Similar to Final Fantasy

  • Many of the same elements that are in other Dragon Quest games, but also containing some new elements such as characters and story

  • Really good initial reviews
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age was recently released. I saw a commercial for it and read a review (that contained a few reviews) and decided to pre-order it. The pre-order bonuses looked nice, I got accessories that restore HP and MP each turn for the character that has them equipped. It seems different stores had different pre-order bonuses, but I’m happy with what I got on Steam. This is a $60 game, which can be a bit of a turn off, but after some time playing it, I feel like it’s pretty much worth it.

Dragon Quest is a series of RPGs by Square Enix. One of the unique parts of it is that the characters were designed by the creator of the Dragon Ball series, Akira Toriyama. If you’ve seen any of the Dragon Ball series, you’ll definitely notice how Dragon Quest looks similar.

My experience with the DQ series is very little. I have DQVIII for the PS2, which I enjoyed. So, getting back into a DQ game is pretty interesting, because I can see things that are still in the series, such as familiar monsters. Both games are turn-based RPGs and remind me a lot of Final Fantasy games. So, if you’re a fan of Final Fantasy, you’ll probably be a fan of Dragon Quest.

Many of the reviews I read before the release of DQXI gave the game a high score, such as a 9 out of 10 or similar. This is something I can agree with even after only playing the game for 8 hours. Not all the reviews gave it such a great score, after all the game doesn’t quite bring a whole lot new to the series. Instead it sticks to what’s been done successfully with previous games in the series. After all, if something isn’t broken, why fix it, right? Perhaps the biggest changes include the cast of characters, story, and how it looks. This game looks beautiful!

While I agree with a high score for this game there are a few minor things that make me hesitate to give it that perfect score. Mostly, there are things I wish the game told me, things I some how figured out on my own. For instance, I can hit the X button on my Xbox 360 controller (that I use for PC gaming) and I get to see a map of where I’m at. This is very helpful, but the game never told me about that. Perhaps it did tell me, but I didn’t see it. There are things it tells you while it’s loading your saved game, but it loads so quickly that I hardly get to read any of it at all. I wish they would have inserted a pause so you could read those tips.

One other thing was that I had to use Google for was to figure out how to access the pre-order bonuses (DLC) that I got. Luckily, I found the answer, but I wish I had known that at the beginning. The game does have a bunch of information in it’s menu, under “Misc.” that can tell you a lot of what you need to know about the game. I didn’t look too deep into this, which may be why I missed out on some of these things. One thing that impressed me was that the game didn’t require any configuration at all. I can only assume that it detected my hardware and realized it could max out all it’s settings. It even turned Vsync on by default.

The game also has two camera modes for when you’re in a battle. One is called “free-form” and you can move around. There’s a circle for the battle and you can try to escape by stepping outside that circle. My problem with this (default) camera mode was that I was centered on the main character and other characters were off camera. I decided to change the camera mode to the next one and I think I like it better, it’s just taking some time to get used to. You get to see each character as they attack or get attacked, it’s definitely better. Where as before when another character got hit, I didn’t see how much damage was done, unless I noticed how much depleted from their HP gauge. I don’t know that you can escape battle as easily with this other camera mode, but I don’t find the need to do so. You can, after all, select “flee” from the menu.

One thing that sets this game series apart from most Final Fantasy games is that there aren’t random encounters. Meaning, you don’t have to walk around and worry about suddenly getting attacked by some random invisible enemy. Instead, you can clearly see monsters walking around. If you want to avoid them, you can do so easily enough, there’s plenty of walking space. If you want to attack a monster you can either walk into it or you can get close enough and attack it preemptively. At first, I felt a bit overwhelmed with how many monsters were roaming around, so I avoided most of them. I was after all just beginning and didn’t want to die too easily. However, I decided against doing so and since I’ve attacked almost every monster I’ve seen, I’ve become a lot stronger and richer (since you’re awarded gold and XP upon victory). Still, that option is there, which is nice.

There’s not much I can say about the story since I’ve only played for 8 hours, but it seems pretty good. I was surprised by an early twist I wasn’t expecting the story to take. One thing I like is that other party members act on their own. You can select the party’s tactics, which tells them what they should be doing, healing, attacking, conserving MP, etc. I now have 4 party members and they’re pretty useful.

So far the game seems really good, I like it. I’m hoping there are plenty of gaming hours left.

*Update 2/1/2020*
I played this game for 57 hours. I'm sure I made it to the end, but I didn't finish it. I found the end-game to be too difficult and I lost my desire to continue playing in order to get better and finish it. I did enjoy this game, especially in the beginning, but there were some things I didn't like about it. There was a wide range of feelings I had for many characters. Some I really liked or loved and some I really disliked. My dislike for some characters wasn't strictly for "bad guys." I know this game is on the Switch now (or coming to) and I believe it has a demo. I would recommend trying out the demo and seeing if it appeals to you before jumping in. That is unless you're a die hard DQ fan, in which case you'll probably love it no matter what.