dragon quest 11

Dragon Quest 11 First Impressions

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I’m about a dozen hours into Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age and the smile has rarely left my face. Dragon Quest is one of the most resilient RPG franchises in video game history. The latest installment proves why it’s such a winning formula by embracing its classic roots while sprinkling in many welcoming improvements and features.

If you’re a newcomer to the series, Dragon Quest is a bit like Final Fantasy. It’s a classic 50+ hour Japanese RPG with each entry a standalone adventure (save DQ 10, which was an MMO).

The series has been around since the 1980s. Many classic RPG genre conventions and tropes can trace their roots back to those early games, including young protagonists, destroyed villages, character classes and skills, turn-based battles, and lots of side quests and dungeon crawls.

Dragon Quest 11 doesn’t try to change or alter that basic formula at all. You play as a silent, unnamed young orphan boy. You’ve grown up in a quaint village and upon coming of age, discover that you are the chosen one and set off on a heroic journey. I’ve checked off several major JRPG boxes right there. Yet DQ 11 doesn’t feel trite or tiresome. It embraces its tropes and character archetypes proudly and earnestly. It helps that the production values are the best of any Dragon Quest game to date, including full voice acting in all of the numerous cutscenes.

dragon quest 11

Akira Toriyama’s instantly recognizable character and monster art has been beloved for decades, and looks amazing when blown up in all its colorful, charming glory. Battle screens play out like an action-packed Saturday Morning Cartoon, yet still operate exactly like a classic turn-based console RPG. You can move your characters around just for funzies, which is a nice touch without altering the formula of attacking, casting spells, activating character-specific abilities, and engaging in souped up Pep Powers.

The Pep Powers are a new element in battle. Occasionally characters will enter a Pep state that grants increased stats for a few turns. If multiple characters get Pep’d, they can unleash awesome combo attacks with various effects. I do wish there was an actual visible bar or meter for how close Pep is to activating. But retaining Pep though multiple battles is a nice feature.

Crafting with the Fun-Size Forge is also new to the series, and it’s one of the better crafting minigames I’ve seen. Acquire recipes from quest rewards, chests, and bookshelves and gather materials from slain monsters to make new equipment. New weapons, items, and accessories must be hammered out on the forge by hitting target areas using different abilities. Hitting the right spots grants better stats on the crafted equipment. The more you craft, the more abilities and stamina you unlock, making the entire system very rewarding and satisfying.

dragon quest 11

Crafting can be done at any campsite out in the world, which is another fantastic addition. No longer do you have to huff it back to town (or use the handy Zoom spell) to rest up and save your game. In every field or area there’s a campsite with a merchant, a save point, and a forge. You can rest to heal up as well as change the time of day, which alters which monsters are in the field. And speaking of healing, simply opening the menu screen and pressing a single button will heal your entire party as efficiently as possible, using healing spells, then healing items, so you can jump right back into the action.

The story is still getting started, and I’ve only recently acquired the fourth party member. These are very long RPGs – in fact DQ 11 has the audacity to play the opening movie and title screen after a certain event several hours into the game. The early game is a bit slow and battles have been fairly simple, but the deeper I get the more satisfied I am with the world, characters, skill system, and combat.

Given the length I can’t yet comment on how well the whole thing holds together. But my early impressions leave me very impressed. I’m a relative late-comer to the series, having first played Dragon Quest 9 on the DS back in 2009, before enjoying the 3DS remakes of DQ 7 and DQ 8. Dragon Quest 11 is probably most similar to DQ 8, and I mean that with all the praise that entails as DQ 8 is widely considered the hallmark of the series.

Dragon Quest 11 may just be the best Dragon Quest game to date. Even if you don’t know your Metal Slimes from your Healing Slimes, RPG fans are in for a treat.

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age is rated T for Teen.

Play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at College Football Games

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Nintendo has announced a partnership with Wendy’s College Tailgate Tour to bring playable gameplay stations of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to college campuses around the country.

“Many of our biggest fans are now in college and have memories growing up playing one of the games in the Super Smash Bros. series,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We want to bring Super Smash Bros. Ultimate directly to longtime and first-time players, and what better way than to combine two of college students’ favorite pastimes: video games and football.”

Nintendo will utilize a custom Super Smash Bros. Ultimate branded trailer at select college football games this season. The trailer will include six gameplay stations in dedicated tailgate areas right outside of the stadiums. A large LED screen will be available for onlookers to view of the action.

The setup is designed as “highly visual” to encourage pics and sharing on social media. Impromptu tournaments will be hosted throughout the tailgate. Winners can even win Smash Bros. branded promotional items. Like any tailgate, admission will be free.

The Wendy’s College Tailgate Tour kicks off on September 22 at the Stanford @ Oregon game. See the full schedule below to find where the Smash Bros. trailer will be each week.

  • Sept. 22 – Stanford @ Oregon
  • Oct. 6 – Alabama @ Arkansas
  • Oct. 13 – Wisconsin @ Michigan
  • Oct. 20 – Oklahoma @ TCU
  • Oct. 27 – Clemson @ FSU
  • Nov. 3 – South Carolina @ Ole Miss
  • Nov. 10 – TCU @ West Virginia
  • Nov. 17 – Miami @ Virginia Tech
  • Nov. 24 – Michigan @ Ohio State
  • Jan. 1, 2019 – Teams and location to be determined

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features over 70 fighters, 100 stages, and 900 music tracks, making it the largest in franchise history. Newly announced fighters include Ridley, King K. Rool, and Simon Belmont.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will arrive exclusively on Nintendo Switch on December 7.

Moonlighter

Moonlighter Opening Shop on Switch this November

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Moonlighter launched earlier this year on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and now it’s finally coming to Switch. 11 bit Studios has announced that Moonlighter will release on Switch this November. A specific date has not yet been announced.

Moonlighter is an action-RPG that combines the dungeon-crawling of old-school Zelda games with running a merchant shop with all the loot you acquire. You play as Will, a shopkeeper with heroic tendencies as you explore the mysterious dungeons outside of town.

The game also uses a rogue-like system. It’s not game over if you die but you drop most of your hard-earned loot, and dungeons are randomly generated each time you go inside. For a price you can teleport back and forth between the dungeon and the town. Each dungeon has an end boss that unlocks the next harder dungeon.

At the shop you can set your own prices for each piece of loot you find. The ideal sell price is mostly trial and error, with some light economy management. Also in town Will can use materials and gold to upgrade his weapons and armor and purchase potions.

Moonlighter is developed by Digital Sun and published by 11 bit Studios. It’s available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and coming to Switch in November. It’s rated E10+ for Fantasy Violence.