With deep customization and beautiful art, ‘Dragon Quest XI’ is a return to glory

There's nothing like a hearty JRPG to rekindle the love of life-long videogames. While some may go to the main pillars like Final Fantasy others prefer the rustic charms of the Dragon Quest franchise equally large, but less bombastic .

Six years have passed since the MMORPG Vision series, Dragon Quest X debuted in Japan (where it has remained). That means that American fans have waited eight years since Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies came to Nintendo DS. Any way you cut it, it's been a while since the recalcitrants could enjoy the classic turn-based role-playing game and the fantastic narrative in which the series has stood out.

Dragon Quest XI is dazzling to re-form for new and old JRPG enthusiasts. It serves a fantastic adventure full of memorable characters, an attractive narrative and a lot of ground to cover in the name of the all-important "quest to save the world". It's a fantastic way to introduce newcomers to the long – Role Play Series.

A great family adventure

The story of Dragon Quest XI will not surprise you. From its first moments, it is like a warm embrace, wrapping you in the arms of the classic trope of "young adventurer". The silent protagonist, yours to mold as you see fit, discovers a bright new destiny ahead of him as the "chosen" or, as the game calls it, the Luminary. Your character is the reincarnation of a legendary hero who once saved the world from catastrophe.

Sounds great, right? But not everyone in his hero's hometown, Cobblestone, is in love with the Luminary. Some began to think that instead of bringing peace to the earth, the Luminary is a harbinger of darkness. That becomes the launching pad for an expanding story of magicians, dragons, royalty and other colorful characters.

Dragon Quest XI is a dazzling return to form for new and old JRPG enthusiasts.

Although the story is not original, it does not wallow in a simplicity like that of a trope. Occasionally you will stumble upon moments that will hit you like a ton of bricks, which appear when you least expect them. That drama is balanced very well by other happy interactions that will make you roll on the floor laughing. These highs and lows are a hallmark of Dragon Quest in general, and are in full force here.

The story is probably not interested in itself, but is helped by a fun cast of characters, from the funny Sylvando to the sarcastic Veronica. These are not surprising either, but they are well written and, in general, do not get too long. Unfortunately, not all character lines are voiced. Some will speak during important scenes, but will resort to text-only conversations with an audio fragment that does not match the words that are spoken. This is not unusual in the expanding RPGs: Octopath Traveler does the same, but the excellent presentation of the game makes the moments of silence even more unpleasant.

Grinding It Out

Let's make one clear. You will have to make an effort

At first glance, this game may seem like a new and improved version of the same turn-based issues you see in games like Final Fantasy or other tiles in that ilk. The space occupied by the battlefield is yours, and you can freely roam the area, if you wish. You can also fight from a stationary position if you wish.

  Dragon Quest XI review

Improved combat will lead you to think that it will follow other modern tendencies and eliminate the need to fight battles for the sole purpose of leveling characters, but that is not the case. The combat is nice, but you will face it a lot, because you will find bosses that you simply can not defeat until you have won some levels.

Combat can be handled under your total control, or you can let computer-controlled comrades choose which actions to perform from a list of tactics. These actions, like the systems seen in games like Final Fantasy XII and XIII allow you to select the right set of combat decisions for each character. For example, you can issue commands manually or set parameters for characters to heal group members or concentrate on damaging them.

Even with its modern style, Dragon Quest XI combat is deliciously old school.

There is a respectable list of characters, each with a role to play, but if you find that one member of the group does not share the rest, you can swap them in the heat of battle with the push of a button. That makes situations that might feel like a slog not so frustrating and save you from irritating battles.

Battles are important, but you will need to spend the same amount of time for each character to grow in a useful way. Each one receives a set of skills that can be leveled in a grid, with a different design for each character. Some abilities are obscured behind those in front of them, while others are available to unlock as you gain additional skill points. The deep personalization available in these trees will no doubt attract players who adore the min-max characters or delve into party constructions.

  Comment by Dragon Quest XI

That's not all you can modify. You will have to equip the character with the team. While you can rely on purchased or loose equipment, you can also make equipment with an intricate manufacturing and forging system that allows you to create your own types of equipment using recipes found all over the world. The forge allows you to mold and recast elements, including combining old elements with new materials to improve a previous iteration. Few RPGs bother to include such a complex elaboration, and it is another element that will appeal to players who love to personalize characters.

A (Mostly) magical world

You will never be short of things to do in Dragon Quest XI . There are side quests, optional engagements and even a New Game + featuring the "Draconian Mode", which sets dozens of hours of play beyond the first required for what could be considered a "complete" execution of the main story. There is always something new to discover, a character to know better, and a lot of elements to collect along the way, while unraveling the threads of intrigue configured from the beginning of the game.

It's like watching the anime come to life […] torn from the pages of Toriyama Dragon Ball – fantasy sketchbook.

The magnificent work of art, by Akira Toriyama from fame of Dragon Ball is a candidate for the best of the series. It's like watching a series of anime come to life, with familiar designs that look as if they had been ripped from the pages of Toriyama Dragon Ball -meets-fantasy sketchbook.

The score is also appropriately bright and carefree, bleak when necessary, and cheerful in the way you would expect a massive role adventure.

Our Take

Dragon Quest XI is the first complete RPG of the series in some time, and offers in almost all aspects. It is based on classic role tropes, a complete combat routine, and magnificent visual effects and auditory delights to create a magical and believable world with a lot of content.

Is there a better alternative?

There are several expansive RPGs on the market, the most notable being Ni no Kuni II and Octopath Traveler . Those are solid games, but Dragon Quest XI is a difficult opponent for both. You may not like Dragon Quest XI whether you despise grinding, but you'll love it if you want a deep personalization of the character.

How long will it last?

The main story will take 70-80 hours to play until the end, although you could easily submerge more than 100 hours in the game by completing all the secondary missions, collect all the elements and see everything there is to see.

Should you buy it?

Yes Dragon Quest XI is a hallmark of excellence for the genre, and while some may be discouraged by its adherence to the classic tropes, it presents a modern twist in combat, narrative elements and personalization of the characters. It is a considerable portion of goodness of retreat without too much luggage that can come with the games of the old school.

Dragon Quest XI Compared with