If you’re looking for a turn-based JRPG with a good story, a handful of nostalgia, and some feeling of an all-new twist on an old classic look no further. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is all you need. While we haven’t seen a new Dragon Quest installment since IX on DS in 2009, you don’t need to worry about the past titles if you wanted to give XI a shot. Square Enix made sure the newest installment in the series is something everyone can enjoy. If you’re curious and enjoyed games like The Legend of Zelda, or even Final Fantasy, I have no doubt in my mind that you’ll enjoy it.
At this point, I’m a little less than 50 hours into the game, and according to a peer also reviewing the game, I’m almost halfway through the story. Square Enix promises a minimum of 60 hours for the base story, and at least 120 hours to complete everything else. This game has done nothing but impress me from the start, so I want to give it the justice that it deserves, and publish a full review of the game once I have the main storyline completed. I personally feel anything less than that would be criminal.
The story so far has impressed me more than I had anticipated. It started off a little JRPG-trope-heavy, but every once in a while, you get hit with these well-written, precisely placed plot twists. Each step in the adventure has it’s own story arc, and so far, only one had me shrugging my shoulders. One of the story arcs even had me in tears, and I haven’t gotten misty-eyed since Mass Effect 3. The game does a fantastic job of creating this perfect balance of what you expect from a traditional JRPG, darkness, and cheesiness.
The characters are all oddly relatable and have great dialogue. Also, make sure you pay attention to the little details (specifically bright red books on random bookshelves). Each party member’s story is heavily woven into the lore. From the main story to side quests and random dialogue from NPCs, the more you absorb your surroundings, the more you’ll learn. Sylvando’s story goes deep, and halfway through I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. Fingers crossed his story comes full circle because it’s keeping me on the edge of my seat.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age already released in Japan on July 29th, 2017. The worldwide release is getting some serious upgrades, including a full English voiceover. This release also has something called “Draconian Quest,” which is a customizable hard mode for those looking for a challenge. You can add up to six different settings, like no armor, or making all the enemies super strong. Luckily, if shit hits the fan, you can change the Draconian Quest settings at any save point.
The game has received a complete overhaul with the menus and user interface, adding graphical enhancements and better navigation. One of my favorite parts of using the map is you can rotate your character and see the map marker rotate in real-time. No more trying to figure out what direction you need to go, backing in and out of the map! Dragon Quest XI will also be featuring a camera mode. If you see a spot you find photo-worthy, go ahead and take a shot and share it online! And last, but not least, a dash function… Because we all know how many hours it can take “running” across an area alone.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is the most beautiful JRPG I’ve ever seen. With a wide color palette and beautiful environments, no moment is a site for sore eyes. The game releases on September 4th, 2018, on the PlayStation 4 and PC (Steam), running at $59.99 USD.
Stay tuned for our full review in the upcoming week!