"A reunion with the JRPG that actually was welcomed!"
I've said it before and I'm saying it again: While I used to live and die with the JRPG, that genre is getting increasingly more difficult for me to play. Those games seem too happy to ride with the same plot elements and character archetypes and I've been playing them for over half my near-46 years on this planet, putting me at the point where I just want something new. And speaking of that, there are a number of talented Western designers who've taking the role-playing game to levels I never would have imagined in my youth, creating massive worlds with tons of stuff to see and do. If I don't feel like advancing the main quest, there are tons of optional missions, or perhaps I'll just wander through the wilderness and look for interesting sights to see. We only spend a finite amount of time in this life, so why waste it simply going from Point A to Point B as the plot dictates?
But exceptions must be made at times. Times such as when a new Dragon Quest game is released. That was the series that introduced me to the JRPG and I've long had a soft spot for it. So, when I purchased a PS4 and saw the release of Dragon Quest XI was imminent, it was a no-brainer that it'd wind up in my hands sooner, rather than later.
And you know what? For about 100 hours, all the pent-up frustrations I have with the stagnation of the genre faded. Cynicism turned to joy and I sat there on my couch in a state of rapture. I mean, by the end of the game, I was rushing through the final few post-game activities in order to put down the true final boss, so I could start something else…but for a glorious while, it felt like I'd gone back in time to an era when I loved this stuff.
Dragon Quest XI makes that easy. The vast majority of monster designs are exactly the same as they were on the NES or SNES, only upgraded and animated to fit in with today's graphics. Towns might look like actual communities now, but possess the same shops, inns and churches that they always have. While things may have greatly changed on an aesthetic level, at its heart, Dragon Quest XI FEELS like Dragon Quest in all the right ways.
Featured community review by overdrive (September 27, 2019)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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