The biggest JRPG of 2018?
On the 4th of August and I went to London to get some hands on the new Dragon Quest XI Echoes of an Elusive Age which is out on the 4th September. Myself and some others were welcomed to the Square Enix quarters and got a head start with some gameplay and here are my thoughts so far. I began by playing an early save of the game where I played as the main silent hero who is just starting off on his journey; this allowed me to learn the basics of combat and the beginning of the story; the game is completely turn based with moving across the battlefield if you so wish, this being an option you can choose allowing free movement of both character and camera. Without spoiling anything I am impressed with everything I had seen story-wise at the beginning of the game and I eagerly await to see what happens on full release.
The depth of exploration is great and the detail in every building is perfect; the game is vibrant and colourful as you would expect from a Dragon Quest game; character designs are fantastic and so is the music; the game offers many quests and side quests which appear on the map; undertaking these are optional but are highly recommended if you want to get the full experience of what Dragon Quest XI has to offer. These side quests can be more than just venturing from point A to point B and I found myself exploring. For example in one of the early city areas I was tasked with rescuing a cat stuck on the roof of a building. To do this I wandered all over town until I found myself traversing the rooftops; it was here then I uncovered more secrets such as hidden treasure chests. Dragon Quest XI really wants you to explore and if this is something you have previously enjoyed then there is definitely no shortage of it here.
I also had the opportunity to play the game from a later part of the game where I had control of more of a party and got to play with some of the cooler mechanics. One that struck me as very interesting was the team attacks; what you are greeted with is a coup de grace of sorts where team attacks can have some interesting effects on the enemy and turn the tide of battles. Being able to take control of every character or setting up certain characters to do their own thing is also a big bonus; on top of this, my favourite feature is the ability to switch out characters during battle much like you can do in Final Fantasy X. Dragon Quest is also known for having optional content with extra mini-games added also; one that I got to play around with was the horse racing which I thoroughly enjoyed. The controls are simple but the difficulty can be selected for better rewards making for a frustrating but rewarding game.
It is clear that Dragon Quest is loved outside of Japan and it is also apparent that there is much love gone into the western release with some extra features such as a fresh user interface, first-person mode and voice acting.
I could go on more about the game but then I would have nothing left to talk about when I review the finished product so for now, I will end it here!
The only downside? The game is not out yet and I am counting down the days until it is but for now, I will prepare my time well for when it is!
In all, my time at Square-Enix was well spent and well enjoyed with snacks, drinks and an extensive look at the next big JRPG this year. It’s gonna be gooo-reat!