DRAGON QUEST XI: ECHOES OF AN ELU­SIVE AGE

A golden age, at that

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS - @mitch­jay­line­ham

This lat­est en­try in one of Ja­pan’s most pop­u­lar se­ries won’t do for JRPGs what Per­sona 5 did last year, but that isn’t to say it isn’t just as good. In­stead of play­ing with real-world in­flu­ences, it rev­els in its fan­tas­ti­cal uni­verse and di­verse, colour­ful char­ac­ters in a way that many other JRPGs have failed to, and it’s won­der­ful. It be­gins as many JRPGs do: with you be­ing in­formed of your duty to ful­fil your heroic le­gacy, which will re­quire you to drop ev­ery­thing. Bye­bye home-made stews with mum; hello the many things that want to kill you. It may sound generic, and in some ways it is, but Square Enix ex­e­cutes its vi­sion with such blind­ingly good vi­su­als and game­play that it’s hard to not be sucked into the world of Lo­toze­ta­sia.

NO JEST THIS QUEST

As the Lu­mi­nary, it’s down to you and your rag­tag group of friends to clear your name – you’re ac­cused of be­ing the Darkspawn – and bring peace to the world by de­feat­ing the Dark One. The nar­ra­tive and me­chan­ics never be­come bloated, and the over­all goal is al­ways in mind. You’ll never won­der what you need to do next as Dragon Quest pro­vides a brief re­cap each time you boot the game up – how handy! In a game so vast, Square Enix has ex­celled in de­liv­er­ing an ac­ces­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence and, as this may be many

play­ers’ first Dragon Quest game, the de­vel­oper couldn’t have made it more wel­com­ing.

If you are tired of JRPGs be­ing set in schools where stu­dents are the he­roes, you can rest here, as you’re un­likely to find as much di­ver­sity in a main cast as there is in Dragon Quest XI’s. A silent hero, a thief, an old man, and a flam­boy­ant show­man are some of the char­ac­ters who join you on your jour­ney, and they’re treated with equal im­por­tance. Syl­vando’s flam­boy­ance isn’t used as the butt of jokes, as it would in many other games, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see it be a nat­u­ral part of his char­ac­ter rather than his defin­ing trait, or some­thing which is be­lit­tled.

DOESN’T DRAG-ON

It feels like core Dragon Quest, but bet­ter. Bat­tles aren’t in first-per­son, and you’re able to po­si­tion your char­ac­ters be­fore your turn ends, throw­ing a wrench in the works of en­e­mies who want to lay siege with a wide-area at­tack. Each char­ac­ter has unique skills and if you’ve al­ready eye­balled who you want in your team based on the art and trail­ers, you might find your­self pick­ing an en­tirely dif­fer­ent team as you learn more about them. Ex­pe­ri­ence is shared among the whole party, which is help­ful be­cause if your main squad falls, your re­serve team will pick up the slack. Good luck grind­ing money to kit out your en­tire party in their best equip­ment, though, as it takes hours to earn a good amount of coin, and only sec­onds to spend it all. At least you’ll be rack­ing up skill points.

As with any turn-based JRPG worth its salt, com­bat op­tions in­clude both stan­dard at­tacks and us­ing abil­i­ties and skills, some of which are ex­clu­sive to cer­tain char­ac­ters. Skills are pri­mar­ily magic, buffs, and de­buffs, while abil­i­ties tends to com­pile the phys­i­cal at­tacks. A unique me­chanic, Pep, trig­gers ran­domly in bat­tle and im­bues a char­ac­ter in a blue light. De­pend­ing on who’s all pepped up, you’ll be able to per­form team-based at­tacks to­gether. They’re a wel­come boon dur­ing gru­elling bat­tles.

Dragon Quest XI isn’t par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult out­side of boss bat­tles, so if you’re wor­ried about grind­ing lev­els, don’t be. There’re no ran­dom en­coun­ters, so you can skip fight­ing when low on health, or fast travel to an inn. Noth­ing beats be­ing on the ropes, turn­ing the ta­bles, and tear­ing vic­tory from the jaws of a boss, though, and it’s a ram­pant feel­ing that Dragon Quest cap­tures, leav­ing you on a high un­til some­thing in­evitably knocks you down a peg.

Travers­ing the world has never been eas­ier thanks to a mix of horse­back and sail­ing the seas in a mag­nif­i­cent ship. You can sprint too, so if you insert your­self into the pro­tag­o­nist too far and start imag­in­ing him to have mo­tion sick­ness, you can travel by foot rather than on the rocky seas. Awe-in­spir­ing sights, bright, pop­ping colours, and beau­ti­ful

“BRIGHT, POP­PING COLOURS AND BEAU­TI­FUL CEL-SHADED VI­SU­ALS CAP­TURE YOUR EYE.”

INFO FOR­MAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB SQUARE ENIX DEV SQUARE ENIX

Fight side by side with your al­lies to turn the ta­bles on your foes.

Right Bat­tle­fields never be­come too hard to fol­low, al­low­ing you to po­si­tion your team as you see fit.

LeftBreath­tak­ing sights can be seen from any cor­ner of the rich world.

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