A massive title for a game that will require slaying massive numbers of enemies.
Omega Force’s Dynasty Warriors games have been around for a long time and, with various different tie-ins and crossovers, come in a huge variety of different flavours. While the core Dynasty Warriors games have been a constant on the shelves of videogame stores for many years, it is the games that combine with other series or themes that seem to garner the most attention. Perhaps the one that made the biggest splash over here is the Legend of Zelda tie-in from last year, Hyrule Warriors. More recently, I enjoyed the One Piece tie-in with Pirate Warriors 3.
The core gameplay is always pretty much the same – take out many hundreds of enemies on a battlefield, then do it all again. So when it comes to choosing a Dynasty Warriors style game to play, it will mostly come down to picking a theme. Which brings us to the latest offering from Omega Force, and this time Square Enix, with Dragon Quest Heroes. Combining the Dynasty Warriors gameplay with the supreme cuteness and various role-play aspects of the popular JRPG series is sure to hit the right note with fans of both series. But is there anything here for the average PS4 gamer?
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below is a lumbering hulk of a title. But we can overlook this extensive title as the game has Slimes in, and Slimes are awesome.
The game begins, after the player has chosen whether to primarily play as the male or female lead, with a beautiful scene depicting some kind of festival in a fantasy world. In this world, humans and monsters co-exist quite happily, working and playing together. However, someone evil does something evil and all of a sudden the monsters of the world turn against the humans. As you can imagine, all hell breaks loose. As far as stories go, it is pretty generic but does a good job of linking the gameplay together, and some brilliant scripting ensures that it is constantly entertaining.
So the player, either as Luceus or Auora, are dropped into the thick of it and tasked with finding out what was happened and rectifying it. Their companion Healix, a flying Slime who seems to have been unaffected by the change, provides guidance in the early game, explaining what to do and how to do it.
Faced with hordes of enemies, the player will find themselves fighting through them all with a group of up to four characters, which can be changed between at will. Offering some generous fan service, characters from previous Dragon Quest games are unlocked as the game progresses.
The combat itself is fairly straight forward, and button mashers will find it easy to work through most of the lesser enemies. Every now and again, stronger enemies or boss battles may require a little more thought, which is where easy to learn combos will come into action, along with a variety of different magical attacks and special attacks. The different characters not only offer different magic or special attacks, but also vary with basic attacks, ranging from close quarters and crowd control to ranged.
The enemies are nicely varied in the game, with many of the classic bad guys from the Dragon Quest games represented. The AI is not the best when it comes to the general grunts, the enemies that fill the battleground. These grunts will continue to spawn until certain portals are shut down by defeating their guard. Once the portal is closed, clearing the rest of the enemies is required, and with multiple pathways and generally something to protect, the player will find themselves running all over the place. A map of the area shows the location of enemies, and finding the last stragglers that happen to be stuck in a corner can be annoying.
For the boss battles, it is a different story. While the AI still may not be stellar, these battles ask a little more from the player, either by learning the pattern and avoiding devastating attacks or simply out smarting the boss. They offer more of a challenge than the general grunts, but realistically Dragon Quest Heroes is not a difficult game.
There is more help provided to the player in the form of Monster Medals. These coins that are dropped through the course of hacking and slashing allow the player to summon the fallen monster to their own team. Some of these monsters will provide an instant effect, whilst others can be sent off to join battle, albeit with the slightly janky monster AI.
When not fighting through hordes of enemies, the player will find themselves after a short while in the game on a central hub, which happens to be an airship. Here, the player will have access to merchants that can sell items and new gear to improve a character. There is also an Alchemist who can make use of the various useless stuff you pick up along the way. Players can spend their skill points from leveling up on new abilities to further enhance their team.
Heading back into the action, players access the world map and choose their destination, including previously cleared areas should they wish to grind a bit, and various found caves. There is also a Quest Counter where the player can take on as many as eight ongoing quests that can generally be completed through the course of normal play. Completion of these quests will reward the player with coins to spend on yet more equipment.
Visually, the game looks stunning and only heightens the need for a full Dragon Quest game on the new generation of consoles. It is bright and colourful, and really goofy in places, offering a visual style that is in no way serious. The voice work for the west doesn’t always hit the mark, with some voices being positively annoying, but in many ways the voices match the quirky nature of the game.
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below is, at its most basic, a button mashing adventure. The constant fighting through hordes of enemies can get repetitive. But the game oozes charm and packs in some great RPG features. The combat is also incredibly satisfying, and the various different attacks and magic allow for some tactics. Dragon Quest Heroes is strange, quirky, often funny and highly accessible to even the most novice player, making it a great match for fans of the two series and newcomers alike.