Review: Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (PS4)

Review: Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (PS4)

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For its first few hours Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is glad to simply mosey alongside at its personal tempo. It’s a sometimes nice jaunt by a vibrant fantasy world, full with supremely cute monsters that you simply whack over the pinnacle with huge swords, however it’s kind of… Boring. It seems to be beautiful and every little thing’s polished, neat, and tidy, however it’s so secure and uneventful. It feels nice to be taking part in mainline Dragon Quest on an enormous display screen once more — the collection’ final PlayStation outing was Dragon Quest VIII again on the PS2 — however the preliminary hype is dampened by how acquainted all of it is. It’s been 14 complete years since Dragon Quest VIII, and virtually nothing has modified.

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We had an odd form of apathy for Dragon Quest XI all through its opening chapters, and admittedly, we have been frightened that it’d by no means fairly hook us the way in which that we wished it to. We knew what we have been entering into — we definitely weren’t anticipating wholesale modifications from Dragon Quest of all issues — and we have been nonetheless discovering enjoyment within the historically paced expertise, however with so many unimaginable role-playing titles available on PS4, we have been left considerably upset by the Game’s close to cussed reluctance to excite us.

That is, till we hit some extent the place the hero is joined by the most effective social gathering to ever characteristic in a Dragon Quest Game. XI’s forged of most important characters is its largest energy, every ally sporting a sort of depth and stage of interplay that the collection merely hasn’t supplied earlier than. With this lovable band of buddies on the coronary heart of occasions, numerous components of the title are elevated. The in any other case cliche plot is given stunning weight and allure, whereas smaller tales are fleshed out with extra character. Your buddies are at all times chiming in with their very own opinions, and you’ll cease to speak to them concerning the present scenario at any time — you find yourself feeling such as you’re actually alongside for the journey.

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And what an journey it’s. The world of Erdrea is a pleasure to discover. It’s not completely open — there are ‘zones’ which might be related to 1 one other by way of loading screens — however it’s nonetheless huge and full of various environments. Just travelling from one city to the subsequent is a pleasure, and never simply because the Game seems to be picturesque at occasions. As quickly as you step out into the wilderness and listen to that rousing overworld musical theme, you may’t assist however get the urge to go marching off into the sundown.

Each location is fantastically realised, too. Early on, you go to a idyllic Japanese-inspired city that sits on the facet of a mountain. The residents converse in haiku, and the bamboo buildings are in stark distinction to the stone buildings of the decidedly European metropolis that you simply visited beforehand. There’s a quirk to each settlement and each dungeon, and the eye to element ends in a really memorable journey, despite the fact that it is more likely to final round 90 hours. It’s at all times a delight to see what’s subsequent.

Overall, Dragon Quest XI is a perfectly crafted Game. As talked about, it is an unapologetically conventional expertise with its flip primarily based fight, textual content packing containers, and considerably primary levelling system, however it’s all wrapped up in a gorgeously introduced bundle. The character fashions specifically are satisfyingly easy and bursting with life, however it’s truly the monsters that steal the present. Each beast is brilliantly designed and animated to the purpose the place you are feeling dangerous about beating them up.

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Personality and allure have at all times been staples of Dragon Quest — they’re key elements in how the collection has been capable of maintain itself for thus lengthy — however XI arguably takes its capacity to woo the participant to the subsequent stage. The additional into the Game you get, the extra you start to grasp how a lot of an ode it’s to the franchise’s 30 12 months historical past. The nods and winks aimed toward longtime followers might not land with newcomers, however they’re completely positioned.

Speaking of newcomers, it is value mentioning you can fairly simply play Dragon Quest XI with out ever having touched the property earlier than. Its old style construction makes it accessible — small high quality of life tweaks are greater than welcome as effectively — and the story is solely its personal factor, as is the case with each mainline entry within the collection. In truth, we might go as far to say that for those who’re a fan of Japanese RPGs and you’ve got by some means by no means touched Dragon Quest earlier than, then this can be a improbable place to begin.

Moving on, fight is identical as ever. The phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” involves thoughts, and happily for Dragon Quest XI, battling stays a timeless endeavour. It’s nonetheless comparatively easy, flip primarily based, and troublesome to fault. Some silky easy animations assist promote assaults and spells higher than ever, however apart from that, fight sticks rigidly to what works. What’s extra, levelling up your social gathering is never a chore since you may be entering into a lot of scuffles as you discover each nook and cranny of the Game’s world. Watching your social gathering blossom right into a lethal group of warriors is one of title’s most rewarding components.

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So Dragon Quest XI seems to be nice and performs nice, however it does not sound particularly nice. Perhaps we have been spoiled with the totally orchestral rating of Dragon Quest VIII all these years in the past, however XI’s music sounds disappointingly low-cost. Don’t get us fallacious, there are nonetheless some catchy melodies right here, however you may instantly inform that it is simply been pieced together on a keyboard. It additionally does not assist that a number of tracks are used again and again all through. If it was every other JRPG we might most likely be singing the soundtrack’s praises, however for Dragon Quest, it falls under expectations.

Keeping on the theme of audio, the English dub’s performed effectively, though some characters are definitely higher voiced than others, and as at all times, there are such a lot of accents on show. In flip, the localisation is excellent — there’s some glorious writing right here, with high notch puns and constantly flavourful dialogue.

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