Assessment: Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition (Nintendo Switch)

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I have under no circumstances ahead of played a Dragon Quest game. I see now that this is a error. DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition (henceforth just Dragon Quest XI, okay?) is such a robust, charming, and engaging JRPG that it presently stands as my favored game of 2019.

There are quite a few factors for this, most of which I’ll cover in this assessment. I want to say upfront, nonetheless, that Dragon Quest XI’s most effective function is that it just under no circumstances stops attempting to entertain you.

As opposed to quite a few JRPGs, it is under no circumstances content material to just sit back and let you mill about to level grind or discover. Yes, all function-playing games offer new persons to meet and new quests to choose up in each town you go to, but Dragon Quest XI desires to make positive that most every person is there for your enjoyment. There’s a town exactly where every person speaks in haiku. There are dancers who invite you to come watch them at a certain time even even though undertaking so does nothing at all to help in your quest. There are undesirable puns and clever references all through. The Image of Dorian Gray? Seriously?

And the accents. I’m not positive how precise any of the certainly derivative accents are in this game, but anything is so nicely-acted that you cannot aid but smile at the outrageousness of it all.

This sense of levity carries more than to the playable characters, as well. Each and every member of your celebration carries a quirky charm that is most likely to influence regardless of whether you use him or her in combat. I do not know if the flamboyant Sylvando was necessarily 1 of my most effective fighters, but he’s my favored JRPG character given that Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s Zeke (and his Eye of Shining Justice), so he only left my celebration of 4 combatants when the story needed him to.

“But Kirk,” you could be saying, “you’re 4 paragraphs into this assessment and haven’t even told us what the game is about.” Okay, that is fair, but I purposely began with the game’s tone since it is the tone that sets it apart from so significantly of the competitors. Yes, there’s a major story about a dark spirit that can bring about the finish of Erdrea and how you, as the Luminary, have been selected by the Globe Tree to save it. The problems is that you have been accused by your kingdom of becoming the Dark Spawn who would in reality bring about this finish, so you devote significantly of your time on the run with just your couple of companions at your side.

This story, nonetheless, it handled lightly and with a heavy quantity of humor in its sidequests. That is not to say the game does not have its share of emotional effect and moments of tenderness, they’re just handled without having the standard JRPG melodrama. And speaking of JRPG tropes, it is a breath of fresh air to see that the church is essentially on your side in this 1 rather of becoming accountable for the downfall of humanity. You save the game by praying at specified places, and when the inevitable twist arrives it does so without having the aid of angry gods who are prepared to destroy humanity for their basic lack of disrespect.

All of this plays out in a story that typically pushes you from place to place, providing you a couple sidequests to total along the way ahead of you tackle the key objective there and move on. Sidequests can involve anything from delivering letters to executing a certain move against a monster to dressing up your celebration members in certain outfits. There’s often as well significantly back-and-forth travel involved, but they’re typically uncomplicated sufficient to total. In reality, the lack of a important challenge could be the game’s only true drawback. I was capable to push by means of it without having ever feeling that I required to level grind, while I did take my time and battle most monsters among towns rather of riding my horse or what ever process the game offered.

I did this since battles do not actively need your complete focus. They’re turn-primarily based, and you can handle every single of the up-to-4 characters individually if you like. I under no circumstances did. For minor skirmishes I had all the characters act on their personal primarily based on the fundamental commands I set (fight cautiously, all-out attack, concentrate on healing, that type of issue). For boss battles I took complete handle more than the protagonist (Hero, whom you could know from Super Smash Bros.) so I could slow points down when his turn came about and take the suitable action, but it was usually fine to leave the other individuals on auto-pilot. And note that while you are no cost to move your character about the battlefield, positioning has no impact on your attacks or defense.

Characters get their skills from the weapons and armor you offer. Skills can be enhanced by assigning capabilities as you get practical experience. Weapons and armor are enhanced by means of the enjoyable-size forge, a clever minigame in which you use recipes and components you obtain all through the game to actually hammer out far better accessories. You are largely no cost to push your celebration members down a couple of unique ability paths, and you can transform their look primarily based on some of the outfits you offer. Gamers will be pleased to note that as soon as you unlock a specific outfit you can retain the character in that outfit regardless of what armor he/she presently has equipped.

I also need to have to speak about the graphics right here, as the vibrant method adds tremendously to the basic breeziness of the game. All the things from the town buildings to the material of the characters’ cloaks have a good texture to them, and the landscapes are usually bold and colorful. Animation is smooth in each exploration and combat, and the somewhat joke-y method to the enemy styles sooner or later won me more than. The character styles are primarily based on the style of artist Akira Toriyama (of Dragon Ball and Chrono Trigger fame), so they’re bound to push the nostalgia buttons of quite a few players.

Speaking of nostalgia, you will essentially have the option of toggling among 3D mode or a retro 2D mode even though playing. That is absolutely a exceptional solution, but I under no circumstances messed with it. Obtaining under no circumstances played a Dragon Quest game ahead of I had nothing at all to fondly recall by generating this lovely game appear like it would have on a Game Boy Advance. That mentioned, there is a element exactly where the 2D method is woven straight into the game: Tickington. You will unlock access to smaller, certain regions of this town all through the game—each inspired by a unique Dragon Quest game—and can play by means of them for nostalgia and, extra importantly, things. This element is particularly enjoyable in handheld mode, but you will otherwise want to play this game on your Television.

All of this (and lots more…this is a major game) add up to an exceptional adventure that could be a bit as well light and breezy for extra severe JRPG fans, but could also win more than these new to the genre. Inventory, combat and levelling up are all accessible and uncomplicated to handle, the story moves at a brisk pace, and the visuals and soundtrack are superb. How could I have gone this far without having mentioning the soundtrack, playable either in nostalgic synthesized mode or the glorious new symphonic mode performed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra? You could want to turn the latter down, even though, as the default setting is pretty loud.

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