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Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 15 - 2019

Japan’s longest running RPG series hops over to the Switch.

 
With the simultaneous launch of the Nintendo Switch Lite and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, the perfect partnership was born. This new Zelda game was the perfect companion for Nintendo’s new portable-only version of the Switch. However, one week later, we also saw the launch of Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition. While the Dragon Quest games are no where near as well known as Zelda titles, I would argue that this latest entry in the Dragon Quest series also makes the perfect match for the Switch Lite’s out and about gaming.

 


 
That’s not to say that Dragon Quest XI S is not suited to the big screen on the regular Switch. It is, very much so, and having previously been released on PS4, it has already proved its suitability for big screen gaming. But the Switch Lite, with its lack of TV input, demands games that the player would be happy only playing on the small screen. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening works so well in handheld mode simply because it was designed to do that. Dragon Quest XI S seems to work because, aside from being a great game, it has an almost retro feel that was suited to the tiny little TVs back in the day. Hell, there is even a 16bit 2D mode that will really take the older players back in time.

 
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition, for those who don’t know, is a JRPG in which the player will take on the role of a chosen one and have to defeat the dark one. Yeah, there are lots of “ones” as the game’s story runs on cliches. In most games, this would be a negative aspect, but here it almost feels as it should be, combining with a whole collection of old school mechanics that come together to make this game great. While most JRPGs have moved onto modern ideas such as overly complicated real-time combat, Dragon Quest XI is quite happy to play on the nostalgia of the older players, and the sense of wonder for the newcomers. This is not a hardcore title that players will stress over, but a more relaxing adventure that wants the player to have fun while they go about the business of defeating evil.

 
That fun carries over into the game world too. Dragon Quest XI doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is never more evident than in its choice of monsters. While Dragon Quest may not be so well known, surely Slime monsters are known by everyone. Nearly all of the run of the mill enemies that the player will face have goofy or quirky looks. They are quite silly, but no less dangerous in the game. While the players’ character may not say much throughout the course of the game, as is often the case, they will gather a nice selection of companions during their journey. These companions will bring their own one liners and quips, as will many of the NPCs that the player comes across, ensuring that nothing gets too serious.

 


 
Dragon Quest XI has an impressively large game world, and players will spend much of their time moving from one area to the next with a relative amount of freedom. The early hours of the game do tend to push the player forward with little chance for exploration, but the world soon opens up and players will be able to explore different areas, each with their own theme and selection of side quests.

 
When it comes to playing the game, the mechanics are delightfully retro and quite easy to understand. There are no complicated or convoluted systems to learn here, as the combat is classic turn-based choosing an action. It never gets more difficult, just more exciting as the player unlocks new abilities and the like through their skill tree. Further improvements come through equipping new gear found in battle or purchased from one of the plentiful merchants in the game. There is even a solid crafting system to play with that, again, doesn’t make itself too complicated. Seriously, playing the game is all about the fun.

 
This is the definitive edition though, so surely there would be some extras thrown in? Of course, there are a selection of quality of life improvements that have been made to the game, including a nice range of ways to make the game more difficult for those who do want more of a challenge. But there is also new content added to the story, making the game last even longer, and a selection of new costumes for players who like that sort of thing. There are side quests that give a nod to the other games in the series, and the previously mentioned 16bit mode to play around with for that proper retro feel.

 
The game really displays well on the Switch. It is as bright and colourful as ever, but also remains smooth throughout. There is an obvious step down from the PS4 quality, which is to be expected, and this is more noticeable when playing with a docked Switch. But keep to the handheld, or the Switch Lite, and this easily becomes the best version of the game.

 


 
I started by saying that Dragon Quest XI S is the perfect game to have on the Switch Lite, and I still stand by that. No one wants to get stressy while commuting on the train, and this offers the perfect relaxed experience while still being epic enough to immerse the player. JRPGs may not usually be thought of as hit and run games, being generally more suited to long play sessions. But Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition is the ideal massive JRPG to whip out on the bus for quick hit fun.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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