Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition – Review
Follow Genre: Turn-based JRPG
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, 3DS
Tested on: PS4

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

Site Score
9.3
Good: Lots of hours of fun, Cute characters, Great classic style JRPG
Bad: Plot is a bit cliché, Music gets repetitive after a while
User Score
10.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Dragon Quest XI is the latest installment of the long-running Dragon Quest JRPG series. There’s a whole new world to explore and many characters to meet in this charming adventure. This S version adds some interesting new mechanics, like traveling to the past and a 2D mode. This game has been developed and published by Square Enix.

Story

The story starts with the hero’s coming of age ritual, where he discovers he is the Luminary, a fabled hero. The last Luminary saved the world against a dark and evil foe, and according to legends, this boy might be destined for a similar fate. He visits the king of the country he lives in to inform him of this discovery, but gets promptly locked up in the dungeons of the castle. Luckily, our hero manages to escape with the help of an energetic rogue who was also locked up, and who believes the Luminary might bring fortune. After escaping, their journey begins. They travel the lands and along the way they’ll meet many new companions who believe that our hero will eventually bring good to the world, although in the beginning, they are not exactly sure what their mission will be. Along the way, they will gradually discover an emerging darkness.

Graphics

This game can be played in either 2D or 3D mode. 3D looks beautiful and colorful, with very cute looking characters. The animation of the characters is great and they look really cool when fighting. There’s a possibility to freely move around the camera during battles, but there’s also a ‘classic’ camera mode that centers on the person attacking, and shows their moves in full glory. The environments are very beautiful and all cities and villages you’ll visit have a unique atmosphere.

The 2D mode is reminiscent of how the classic games looked. Some parts of the game where you’ll be able to re-visit parts of previous Dragon Quest games will only be available in 2D, so even if you’ll only play the 3D version you will have to experience the 2D version of the game for a little bit.

Sound

The soundtrack of this game is fully orchestrated, which makes it sound really epic and impressive. If you stay in one area for quite some time you might get a bit tired of hearing the same track over and over, since the music loops quite fast. You’ll also be able to switch over to an electronic version of the soundtrack, which feels like the classic type of music for games like this.

The main characters and important NPCs are all fully voiced, with voices available in both English and Japanese, including subtitles in both languages. Only minor NPCs aren’t voiced, and if you speak to your party members using the ‘party chat’ feature, they won’t be voiced either and what they say will simply appear at the bottom of the screen. The voice acting is really well done in both languages.

Gameplay

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a typical JRPG. This means there’s an overworld map to explore where you can expect to fight random monsters, and villages which you can enter, to talk to the inhabitants and loot chests. The Dragon Quest franchise never truly changes this classic concept, but these games are a brilliant execution of said formula. However, this game does have a number of cool new features, such as the ability to switch from 2D to 3D mode.

Battles get initiated whenever you run into a monster, or at certain points in the story. You’ll be able to walk around monsters both in the overworld or in dungeons, but when the monsters notice you, they’ll follow you and eventually attack. The combat is turn-based, where you’ll need to select an attack for each character to execute, whenever it is the turn for that character to attack. There are three types of attacks to choose from; normal attacks, magic and special abilities. As you’ll level up and specialize your character using a skill tree, you’ll unlock more attacks and defensive abilities to choose from. What’s absolutely amazing about the fights, is that you’ll be able to let them play automatically, with the characters choosing attacks by themselves, based on which strategy you’ve chosen for that character. You can even fast-forward the battles, so they’ll take up a fraction of the time they would otherwise. This is perfect for leveling up your characters, and for encounters with random monsters which you’ll easily win from. For boss battles you’ll certainly do need more of a strategy, so for those, you’ll need to switch to manual commands again.

Playing through the story will make you travel around to many different locations. Parts of the world will generally open up once you’ll need to go there, so you won’t accidentally get lost. This is well-executed and fits into the story; for instance, there will be a gate that is guarded and the guards will not let you through unless you have a reason to be there. You’ll visit many different cities and villages in many different cultures. The cultures are represented in a quirky and cartoonish manner, and the voice acting and dialogues will complement that. Villages generally look really cozy, while cities are impressive, and the world outside will provide you with beautiful views of the landscape.

You’ll be able to craft your own equipment, using materials you will encounter in the world as you explore, and materials you’ll get as rewards for side quests. You’ll use the forge to craft and can do this anytime. Depending on luck and how careful you craft, you’ll be able to craft better items. You’ll be able to repeat this process for a low cost, so you can re-forge items if necessary.

A unique feature of this version of Dragon Quest, is to play in either 3D mode or 2D mode and to travel to the past. Along your journey you will encounter strange beings, who will give you the option to visit their village from which you can travel to past Dragon Quest games, and solve a problem there. These visions from the past will always be in 2D mode, even if you are playing in 3D. Playing 3D will give you a more modern and complete game experience, but for nostalgia’s sake, it’s also fun to explore the game in 2D mode. The maps are well designed in the 2D mode as well, and the 16-bit style pixel graphics are actually really nice. If you want to switch modes you’ll have to visit a save point, where you can create a new save slot for 2D mode and you’ll be starting at the beginning of the chapter you are currently in.

Conclusion

Dragon Quest XI S is an absolute must-have for the fans of the genre, and especially for fans of the Dragon Quest series. It’s a well-rounded game, with a classic good-versus-evil storyline and enjoyable characters. The skill system and combat are good, and the fact that you can let combat play automatically against minor monsters is absolutely great! The music and graphics are beautiful and fit the game very well. The 2D mode is a neat addition, and re-visiting parts of past Dragon Quest games is really cool!

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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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