Dragon Quest XI First Impressions and Moving Forward

I gave into temptation. I’ve seen the glowing reviews for this game from other sites. I also read somewhere that how well this game sells will decide whether Square-Enix will localize future titles. I’m also fairly confident we are in the beginnings of an old-school JRPG renaissance after the overwhelming support of games such as Octopath Traveler. So I gave into temptation and bought Dragon Quest XI at full price, which is not something I do often.

After I bought it, I remembered I still have 500-some games that I wanted to play first, but I really wanted just a little taste of the game I will eventually have time to play. “Just a little taste,” I kept telling myself. Thankfully, the game was set up quite well for this with the first dungeon being something of a tutorial. I haven’t played the demo, but I imagine this would make for a good one. If I were to describe what I’ve seen of the game in one word, it would be “gorgeous.”

dragon-quest-11 early

The graphics seem to be similar in style to Dragon Quest VIII, black line borders around characters and cel shading, but with 3-dimensional backgrounds and a more expansive palette. As a result, the game comes off as a realistic-looking, colorful anime. Peering into the distance on the mountain I was climbing revealed other interesting-looking monuments I will no doubt be visiting in the future. For now, I can only gaze out in wonder.

The story seems to start off simple, like any Dragon Quest game. The traditional storylines of the games have been a hallmark of series since its inception, and this one involves a coming of age youth making his way through his village’s ritual trial only to discover his lineage as a displaced heir to the throne. Though this is a cliche opening, the developers have thrown such personality into the characters and gameplay, the plot really takes second fiddle.

There are so many things to find through exploration that I forgot where I was supposed to be going a few times. Luckily, getting myself back on the right path was relatively simple. As fighting battles are a substantial portion of the game, I’m delighted to report that they function just as well as they always have. The developers decided to allow the player to get an overhead view of the action and to run around the battlefield. Come to find out, this doesn’t serve a tactical purpose. It is only an aesthetic change and can be switched to the more traditional front-facing view.

dq11 battle.jpg

Alas, I quit the game right before leaving the first village, but I had fun with what little I played. Recently I realized that with all the games I’m trying to get through, I haven’t been taking a systematic approach to playing them which is really necessary in order to get through them more efficiently. As such, I decided I would start playing them chronologically by system, leading me all the way back to the original Playstation. Games on older systems tend to be shorter, so it should be easier to pump them out. Nostalgia trip, here I come!

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