Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age reminds me of a page-turner book you keep on your nightstand. Whether you spent 15 minutes with it or 3 hours, your time feels rewarded and leaves you craving for more. The well-written characters, breathtaking visuals and surprisingly deep combat system all forms part of a grand package, lovingly made and wrapped, especially just for you.
Dragon Quest XI tells the tale of our hero who embarks on a quest to see the king of the land but is thrust into a grand adventure to rid the world of an encroaching evil. Early on in the story, a twist is thrown your way and sets the tone for the remainder of the game. Not all curveballs come out of nowhere, though. Some can be seen a mile away. Throughout his quest, he meets a cast of colorful characters, each with their own unique backstory. Each character evolves over the course of the story in meaningful ways that make caring for them a simple task.
2018 has seen it's fair share of pretty-looking games, though none of them had me as entranced as Dragon Quest XI. It's not that the graphics are extremely detailed, it's just that it's absolutely breathtaking. The mixture of cel-shading, photorealistic textures, and Akira Toriyama's animation influences is a fantastic blend. Between the opening cinematic and first story cinematic, I easily captured 40 stunning screenshots. Toriyama's distinct character and monster design pop with color and life. Said designs are all the more realized with buttery-smooth animations. Aside from distinct and wonderful character designs, the environments are where the love and care truly shines. Small, farm-like villages, grand cities, eerie forests and swaying meadows are all picturesque in their own right. This is hands down the best looking Dragon Quest game to date. I'm tempted to say - the best looking cel-shaded game of this generation.
Combat, at first glance, looks simple and shallow. Once your party grows and the game reveals it's mechanics to you, you realize the combat is not only deep but highly addictive. So much so that I found myself, on more than one occasion, wishing the story-heavy parts away so I can get back to smashing monsters with my weapon. On the surface, Dragon Quest provides you with an easy-to-understand combat system. Once you start equipping gear and assigning different tactics to your party members, you then realize the depth of it all.
This is hands down the best looking Dragon Quest game to date. I'm tempted to say - the best looking cel-shaded game of this generation.
The score is toe-tapping and sweeping: two terms not really used to describe a single musical score.
Beautiful world and character designs, fluid animation, and a rewarding turn-based battle system make this a phenomenal game.
Kingdom Hearts devotee, From Software fanboy and aspiring Audiophile (the good kind that believes in FLAC files). Vincent enjoys writing about games almost as much as playing them.
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4 September 2018
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