Square Enix's announcement of Dragon Quest 11 delighted many-a JRPG fan. The game's western debut marks the first time in over a decade that we've seen a Dragon Quest title made for a major console.
With that comes a whole new opportunity to get fans of the series back into the game, as well as an original story for newcomers to enjoy. If you haven't already imported Dragon Quest 11, this is one awesome game to keep your eye on. Here's everything you need to know about it.
What is Dragon Quest 11?
If ever you needed an example of a Japanese RPG, Dragon Quest is perhaps the purest. It's a high-fantasy game that features exploration, an overwhelmingly charming cast, character progression, and - you guessed it - turn-based combat.
It's a style of game that's become increasingly rare as the industry moves toward more action-oriented gameplay systems to keep players' adrenaline rushing. Square Enix has remained committed to keeping this beloved genre alive.
Dragon Quest 11 will be no different in that regard. This launch is particularly exciting because it'll be the first Dragon Quest game to launch on major gaming platforms in more than a decade. Yeah, there were the handheld titles, but those tiny screens just don't do the beauty of the game justice.
Available in Japan as far back as July 2017, Dragon Quest 11 is set to make its western debut where it will get something that not even the Japanese crowd will: fully voiced cutscenes.
What's the story?
Dragon Quest 11 takes place in the fantasy world of Lotozetasia. It's beautiful realm that's not quite open world, but certainly is chock full of expansive regions to explore. The region you start off in is Cobblestone.
That figures to be the homeplace of the main character, who pretty much goes unnamed, but is commonly referred to as a Luminary. Luminaries are basically bringers of light and harness great power. The character is the descendent of a legendary hero, and he doesn't talk - go figure. Thus, it's up to you to imagine the personality and traits of your character, a bit of a lost art in gaming.
The story begins with your coming-of-age trial, which is to climb God's Rock and visit the spirits of the earth. The trial mostly serves as a tutorial and an introduction to the gameplay systems, but you get into the thick of things soon after.
Your first stop after that is Heliodor. It's here where King Carnelian places you in jail for simply being a luminary. That's because he believes Luminaries to be people who collude with dark forces (because light casts shadow when it shines on things, maybe). The antagonist seems totally unreasonable, but it's up to you to escape and fight against the darkness to prove you're a good guy.
All in all, you're looking at about 60 hours to get the most out of Dragon Quest 11. Much of that time will be spent talking to party members and villagers to learn about your past, as well as their own.
Gorgeous art style
Dragon Quest has become known for its breathtaking art style. The series has favored a cel-shaded approach over the years. Dragon Quest 11 takes that up to, well, 11.
Leading artist Akira Toriyama is responsible for the look, and while we don't know whether he had a direct hand in this particular release, we know Square Enix at least looked to imitate it as closely as possible. Traits include broad strokes of vibrant color and an anime-like approach to both character and world design.
As we mentioned before, Dragon Quest 11 is as pure a JRPG you can find. That means there's turn-based combat, and combat typically revolves around a system of strengths and weaknesses, meaning enemies will be weaker or stronger against specific attacks.
That's where the party system comes in. You can have a whole gang of companions with you, each serving a specific purpose in your group. One can be a healer, while another can do the bulk of the fire damage you need, and so on and so forth. Each of these heroes has a unique upgrade tree, and they can either be controlled by the player or left to make their own battle decisions. Some of your characters can even combine attacks to make for a powerful combo, so long as they're both in the "Zone," a new mechanic that buffs your attributes and abilities.
You'll be fighting the usual array of Dragon quest enemies, including skeletons, dragons, and even those cute little slimes that you often hate to kill.
You make your characters stronger by way of weapons, armor, and items. These things can be found on enemies and given as quest rewards. You can also buy them from vendors or craft them at campfires. In Dragon Quest 11, crafting will be less of a menu-diving affair and one with a tad more substance, as you'll have to go through relatively easy mini games to make it a successful affair.
As far as traveling is concerned, you primarily move around on your horse, which can be called on at various outposts if you don't want to slog through the expansive regions in the game. You still encounter enemies while on horseback, and you can even pick up items. The horse also makes it possible to run away from an enemy if you don't want to deal with fighting it.
Square Enix saw fit to add a dash button for when your character is on fit. He moves painfully slow otherwise, so it's a nice tool for making your way through towns when you need to talk to some people or do some general housekeeping. Another keen addition is the ability to climb up on roofs and walk on tightropes, giving you another perspective to take in the breathtaking scenery.
Where to pre-order Dragon Quest 11
There are a few different pre-order options available if you're excited to get your hands on Dragon Quest 11. Standard edition pre-orders get a lanyard when bought through Square Enix, or a PS4 theme when bought digitally on the PlayStation 4. If you're early enough on the pre-order train, you'll also be in for the Edition of Light digital content, which includes experience skill seeds and replenishment items for mana and health.
Opt for the $150 "Edition of Lost Time" copy and you'll be landing yourself all the Edition of Light content, plus a 128-page hardback book featuring information and artwork, a two-disc original soundtrack, a cloth map, more experience seeds, and an in-game pep pop potion.
When can you play it?
Dragon Quest 11 launches in western markets on September 4th, 2018 for PlayStation 4 and PC. Those feeling particularly martyrous can import the Japanese copy to play on any region-free PlayStation 4 console right now. Just note that this version only includes Japanese for its language track.
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