Dragon Quest XI
Square Enix gets this huge JRPG localised for Western audiences in an impressive fashion
The numbering has always been problematic. Of the two decade-spanning Japanese RPG franchises in Square Enix’s roster, it was always Final Fantasy that achieved worldwide acclaim and recognition. Western audiences quickly grasped – thanks, we’re sure, to the impact Final Fantasy VII had on the market – that the games were approachable, and that the numbers counted for little in the grand scheme of things. Dragon Quest has never been quite so lucky over here. In fact, in spite of it being one of the biggest game series to ever launch in the East (for real, it’s like crazy popular) it never quite replicated that success over here; the signature Blue Slimes never resonated in the same way as the beloved Chocobo or Moogle, the turnbased combat was seen as archaic and the whole presentation seemed to do little to stir interest outside of the core fanbase. The number attached to the side was a deterrent, if anything.
Truth be told, we don’t blame RPG fans for approaching with caution, but the truth of it is that Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age is well worth paying attention to should you have the time or inclination. It’s rare to see a Japanese RPG series continue to be so in touch with what made it so great to begin with, and so many years on down the road.
This 11th instalment sees series creator Yuji Horii, character designer Akira Toriyama and composer Koichi Sugiyama team up once again for what is undoubtedly the biggest entry to date. It’s a quest across huge, sprawling continents – a race against time to push back against an ominous world-ending threat.
It’s also a quest that’s designed to be enjoyed by fans and newcomers alike. The deep and finely tuned turn-based combat is easy to grasp, while the detailed world and intricate character work is enjoyable to get on board with. The studio has even taken steps to make the game more appealing to Western audiences – taking on feedback and answering critics since the game’s release in Japan last summer. We’re talking a fully overhauled UI and menus, more intuitive world navigation and graphical enhancements to make it more appealing to the eye; camera mode has been introduced, much to the excitement of PS4 players, while system-level enhancements such as improved camera and character control and an all-new dash function only serve to make Dragon Quest XI one of the most accessible entries in the franchise to date.
If you’ve ever been curious about Dragon Quest in the past, this is the best time to jump in and give it a try. It can be intimidating at times, but that’s all part of the fun of it. They don’t make many Japanese RPGS like this any more (just look at what happened to Final Fantasy), so be sure to give this a try should you have the opportunity.
DRAGON QUEST XI is the latest project from the talented folks at Square Enix. Find out more here: dragonquest.com
Square Enix is bringing a host of awesome new updates to the Western release.