There is no need to convince fans of Dragon Quest license plates to buy the 11th: the press and ordinary users do not cheat – this is truly one of the best games in the series. But what about those who first learned about Dragon Quest from our recent video and are afraid of the number XI in the title? Will newcomers have problems if they start to get acquainted with the series from this part? Fortunately, nothing like this will happen – something that others like the game. To understand how much time, effort and money were invested in the game, it is enough to spend at least a couple of hours in it. During this time, you will see high-quality videos on the engine, nice animations, a simple and most intuitive interface, and most importantly – luxurious locations in the world of Erdrey, where events unfold. Dragon Quest XI resembles an animated cartoon, and this feeling will constantly arise, even when a player simply runs through a dark cave and tries not to catch the eyes of the monsters living in it. Monsters, by the way, are also beautifully drawn.
Pleases and character design – for this you should thank the legendary artist Akira Toriyama, famous for the series Dragon Ball. Perhaps some of the images may seem cliché, like a thief sitting in a dungeon and two twin sisters, one of whom was greatly rejuvenated by magic. But the company turned out to be very pleasant – there was a place for a good-looking grandpa, and a pretty girl who was trained in martial arts, and an extravagant circus artist, about whose orientation among fans there are active discussions. In my opinion, between them, there is no such “chemistry”, which was in the gang of outcasts in Tales of Berseria, but you listen to each dialogue with great pleasure.
The story is also far from the most original: the protagonist quickly realizes that he is the reincarnation of the hero who once saved the whole world, leaves his native village and sets off on a journey to learn more about his mission. However, the plot will surprise more than once, and it’s not just in unexpected turns. Situations in which the character falls are also unusual – then you will have to participate in the races, then ride a gondola in a city similar to tiny Venice. The settlements differ from each other in both the appearance and manner of speech of the inhabitants: some speak haiku, others mix English and Italian words. Translation taking into account these features made at the highest level, and the English dubbing succeeded. Japanese do not allow to include, because at home the game came out without him.
The beauty of the gameplay
All these small locations, as well as the territory beyond, are filled with secrets – stairs leading to the roofs, wells with useful trophies at the bottom, numerous chests and barrels of gold. It is also necessary to go into each building and search the cabinets – there may be valuable books with red covers, with which the hero will learn new recipes and be able to craft special equipment. Of course, you can just run from one story character to another and ignore everything else, but it’s boring to play that way – during the passage of Dragon Quest XI you want to stretch the process. And the game provides for this a lot of opportunities – some enemies here can even be saddled after defeating them, thanks to which the hero gets to previously inaccessible zones.
But there is a small drawback associated with side quests. It is very easy to look for them – they are marked with purple dots on the map, and the missed tasks are indicated in the menu. Here are just some of the instructions as meaningless as the conditions for their implementation are absurd. The fact is that part of the tasks is based on pep powers – special skills that are launched with the presence of this very cheerfulness in certain heroes. It is impossible to cheer up the character himself – it happens by chance during a battle, and the effect disappears after a dozen moves. And you are asked to perform a technique in which two or three companions must be both alerts, so you have to fight, fight and fight until this happens. Just idiotic and stupid tasks, even though they are not so many.
The combat system in the game is standard for the genre – it is turn-based battles in which the characters make strikes one after another. There are many options offered, there are literally suitable for each player. Fans can do everything on their own to manage the entire squad, and lazy, nothing prevents to include automatic decision-making for all participants in the battle. Moreover, in this case, there are several options: order to fight as gently as possible, focus on treating comrades, attack, no matter what, and so on. The camera also has settings: it has both a standard look and the ability to freely twist it and move around the arena, although this does not affect anything.
Actors of the game
There are almost no random battles that other JRPGs still don’t want to get rid of here, they are launched only while traveling on a ship. For the rest of the time, only you decide whether or not to fight with someone. Although sometimes enemies appear unexpectedly – then the bats will fall from the ceiling directly in front of the nose, then someone will jump out at the side or crawl out of the ground. But you get into such situations very rarely – in the overwhelming majority of cases, you manage to run past everyone, and while riding a horse (which is already issued at the very beginning), opponents can also be knocked down. But from the “bosses” nowhere to get to – they will have to be as careful as possible because many are capable of one or two blows to destroy a valuable ally.
However, the design of opponents in Dragon Quest XI is sometimes so impressive that even with ordinary enemies I want to fight again and again. There are several hundred of them in the game, almost all of them have some unique skills and abilities – someone makes the opponent dance absurdly for several turns, and someone whirls along with a pair of your companions. They are greatly animated, and, apparently, everyone even has his own animation when immersed in sleep – when Eric in my squad put the opponents to sleep with a dagger blow, they were all cut down in different ways. Some of these enemies are slightly modified versions of their congeners, such as slimes, which can be both ordinary and metal, and are clad in armor. But they are quite different in their abilities so that they do not have to pay attention.
It is a pity that the order of moves here cannot be seen – sometimes it would certainly not have prevented. The main character knows how to heal himself and his teammates, but if he is badly wounded, and now your move begins, it’s impossible to say exactly which action will be the most correct: take a risk and hit the enemy, allowing the doctor to heal you, or use the spell yourself and end up not hurt anyone. When you know exactly who is behind whom, it is much easier to build tactics, but this does not always work. On the other hand, Dragon Quest XI is not the most difficult game (unless you change the corresponding parameter by adding more hardcore), and the absence of such an element rarely leads to failure.
In the battle against … drops?
What can be controlled here is character pumping. With each new level, they automatically increase all the characteristics: the amount of health with mana, and dexterity, and defense, and the level of attack, and at the same time they learn additional spells and “strength of vigor”. With your own hand, you choose skills in the tree of skills that all heroes have divided into several categories that are associated either with the type of weapon or with the indicators. The protagonist is armed with a conventional or two-handed sword, Eric is great at handling knives and boomerangs – which equipment is more to your liking, and you improve that branch by adding bonus receptions to the piggy bank. In addition, even inactive team members earn experience and new levels, and this is sometimes lacking in the JPRG …
Equipment can also be changed by yourself, either by buying weapons and clothing from merchants or by crafting while relaxing by the fire. The process of creating things is designed in the form of a fun mini-game, the conditions of which are complicated each time. To forge a sword or armor, you need not only to possess the recipe and materials, but also to achieve a good result when forging. The field is divided into several parts, in each of which you beat a hammer a couple of times, trying to get to a certain light zone and not go beyond it. This must be repeated at least twice, and with time, additional options will be unlocked, like one strike on two positions at once. If the strip is perfectly filled up to the middle of the “safe zone”, the item will turn out to be of higher quality, and then it can be reforged for the best result.
And this is the whole of Dragon Quest XI – something that many other developers would not have thought to pay attention to, here is done with great love for detail. I can’t even remember the moments when the characters during the dialogues would have the same animations as many modern games suffer. All videos on the engine look great, all the main characters are charismatic and not annoying (but the protagonist, frankly, it’s time to learn to speak), and the story is so interesting that even slightly delayed episodes seem fascinating thanks to well-written characters and beautiful scenery.