To start, I have never played a Dragon Quest game before this one. I only knew it by name and nothing more, so back in 2016 when Square Enix said they were bringing it to the Nintendo NX (codename for the Switch). I had to start doing my research into the series. At first it didn’t entice me into trying out the previous entries, so I shrugged it off. Come 2019, Nintendo went full force into advertising this game. Every direct had a segment for it. It was getting too much for me to see it thrown into my face. They even made a demo for the game, and that’s when I finally decided to jump in. I thank them for releasing that demo. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition is a wonderful game that I couldn’t put down no matter how much I tried.
The story starts out with the birth of the Luminary. The one that will defeat the Dark One and bring peace to all of Erdrea. As the lords of the land gather together to celebrate the birth of child, the kingdom they are at, Dundrasil gets attacked by monsters. The Luminary, aka the protagonist of the game gets away, but becomes separated, and finds himself floating down a river in basket. He is found by an old man named Chalky that later raises him in the town of Cobblestone. As time goes on the Hero grows up and learns of his true nature, and is told by his adoptive mother, Amber, that he should go see the king of Heliodor, King Carnelian. When he arrives he is betrayed by King Carnelian and is proclaimed that he is actually the Darkspawn. An evil that is believed to destroy the world.
The Luminary is then imprisoned under false accusations, only for him to meet the one who will help escape, Erik, a blue haired thief. Erik tells the Luminary that it is fate that they found each other. As they escape from the prison and the royal guard, they arrive in a town named Hotto. There they meet two twin mages named Veronica who was cursed to have a body of a child and Serena. Sisters that are sworn to follow and guide the Luminary. The four depart from Hotto and travel the world trying to find the next steps they need to take in order to find and destroy the Dark One. They also team up with other adventurers such as the performer, Sylvando, the former king of Dundrasil, Rab and the missing princess of Heliodor, Jade.
The gameplay of Dragon Quest is typical for JRPGs, but it has its own twists on the formula. It remains a take turn format, but you can switch it from being in 3D or have it like the older games that were in 2D. This is completely optional, but is such an awesome addition. When in combat in 3D mode you always have the option to have all your members in a row, or have them moving around freely. I had the later for my entire playthrough. It doesn’t give any real advantage, but it just brings the game to life. The combat is extremely fun too. I wanted to fight nonstop. All the abilities, and spells you can learn kept the combat refreshing even after 75 hours of playing it. The ability to essentially combine moves with other party members is a blast too.
Dragon Quest XI S also allows players to let your party members fight for themselves. You can manually fight as two, three or all four characters, or just one if wanted. I played with them fighting for themselves and only controlled the Luminary. While this may not be the most efficient way to play, it was amusing letting the others choose what they thought was best. Dragon Quest XI S also offers like other Dragon Quest games, Metal Slimes. These variants offer crazy amounts of experience that can level you up at least once, or even more! If encountered they should be top priority, as they are very hard to find and can run instantly when the battle starts. With the right moves and high enough agility you can off them in one turn and reep the rewards.
While I have my problems with composer Koichi Sugiyama, I can not deny how amazing the music is in Dragon Quest 11 S. It made every situation come to life. The normal town theme is beautiful. Even after hearing it so many times I never got tired of listening to it. Sylvandos theme is another masterpiece. It is unbelievable on how perfect it suits him, and not just him. It is used universally and whenever it played it put a smile on my face. My personal favorite is Flying Whale Cetacea. Flying above Erdrea with this playing was something else. The track is softly passionate, but so alive that it brings the beauty out of Erdrea. The boss themes in the game are great too. While some are shared, the ones that do have their own are bombastic, and marvelous.
I’ll be dipping into big end game SPOILERS, so be warned. The biggest flaw I have with the entire game is Act 3. The first two Acts have an amazing story that sees the destruction of most of the world, and shows how our heroes deal with it, and embrace the new world they live in. It’s depressing, but it was a nice change of pace seeing something that dark and witnessing the characters get affected. This of course went downhill when they introduced time travel. I am a fan of time travel, but I felt like this hurt the story a lot. We just had all these characters defeat the Dark One and accept the death and hardships that have happened, only for all of that to be erased once the Luminary goes back in time before the destruction starts.
When the Luminary goes back in time, he is the only one that can go back and retains his memories of everything that has happened. It is crushing to know that we just spent all this time accepting and seeing these characters grow just for it to be a waste of time. Everything with Serena is now worthless. Plus after stopping the Dark One before he gains the power to destroy the world, the true Dark One appears. The true Dark One just feels so shoehorned for me. It is nice to have more, but we only learned about him in the final act. He was teased, but it didn’t feel like it would be anything big at the time. I don’t have the same feelings towards him as I do the first “fake” Dark One.
Overall I loved Dragon Quest XI S: Tales of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition. I think from the story of Act 1 and 2, to the combat, and the music, it is a genuinely amazing game. It offers so much content that you can lose yourself in Erdrea. The characters are amazing and deserve so much praise. The game wouldn’t be the same without them. Each of their personalities shine and make this game near perfect. If you are on the fence, go try out the demo that is on the Nintendo Eshop. That demo changed my whole mindset on the game and I am so thankful for it.
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