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

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

released on Sep 27, 2019

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

released on Sep 27, 2019

Ready for a grand adventure filled with memorable characters, an enchanting story and classic RPG gameplay that can be taken on the go? This definitive version of the critically acclaimed game features the same sprawling content of the original, but with newly added character-specific stories, fully orchestrated field and battle music, and the ability to switch between not only between HD and retro-inspired 16-bit visuals, but also Japanese and English voice track.


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One of my favorite games of all time

This is peak classic turn-based combat. Nothing fancy. Just the best version of something that already worked

One of the best JRPG's of the last 15 years

This review contains spoilers

This is less of a proper review, but more of a big wall of messy ideas and unfiltered thoughts. I normally wouldn't make a post for something like this, but this game felt like an exception for me.

Act 1 of Dragon Quest XI is in no uncertain terms, very close to the ideal Dragon Quest adventure for me in a lot of ways. The beginning has a unique drive to it, and it doesn't waste a lot of time sending you out of your hometown on horseback. Party members are slewed out nicely (oftentimes in pairs) and the pace at which the world expands feels very meticulous and orchestrated. After getting the boat, I sort of entered this zen state going "yeah, this game is actually kind of really fucking good!" This building momentum which Act 1 moves at is honestly really impressive to me, and the Lonalulu mermaid scenario might genuinely be my second favorite part of the entire game. By the time I reached Arboria, I wanna say I had like, 30 hours played? As I watched Yggdrasil fall and stuff I was totally like "god shit is gonna get so real and Dragon Quest is gonna do it again!"

The Definitive Edition of DQXI adds four new interlude chapters before Act 2 Actually Starts, and I think they're kind of on a spectrum of quality. I don't really like Jade's, Sylvando's and Erik's are neat, and Rab's interlude chapter is my favorite part of the entire game. It's kind of a mixed bag, but it honestly kind of had me excited for what was gonna happen during Act 2 (because like holy shit Mordegon was kind of a dick for that)

And then the game just gets like, kinda really boring for a while.

A very clear cut comparison I can make to Act 2 would be something like the World of Ruin from FFVI. The world is kinda fucked, and hey wow all of my friends are scattered around the joint and I gotta find them. The problem with DQXI's Act 2 is that, outside of joining forces with Hendrick and revisiting Heliodor, the world you're traversing and interacting with doesn't actually feel different. Sure, sometimes people are sad and the sky looks kind of cloudy, but there's genuinely nothing new or interesting about Erdrea that keeps this from feeling like a dull retread of Act 1 stripped of its novelty. It doesn't really help that the orbs are reintroduced as well, almost as if there wasn't really an effort made in trying to deny it at all. This also being one of the most strictly linear parts of the game as well isn't doing it any favors either if I'm being honest.

Yggdrasil is the epicenter of Erdrea's existence, and there is legitimately not really anything meaningful DQXI has to show for the consequences of it being razed to the ground. In FFVI, towns were shattered and some were even abandoned. The overworld music was haunting, and the terrain you walked on was scorched and shifted by the calamity. When the transitional text into the second half of that game said "on that day the world was changed forever" it's not something you were meant to treat as hyperbole. Now, I'm not saying I wanted XI's map to be entirely restructured or something like that, it's an unreasonable expectation I wouldn't really put on any game of this stature. I just wanted something, anything significant for me to latch onto.

Something I've seen Act 2 get praised for a lot is how it develops its characters, and for a pretty good amount of the cast, I actually kind of agree! Sylvando meeting with his dad after ten years of absence and realizing that no matter what, he'll always be there and care for him unconditionally is heartwarming. Serena reconciling with the death of Veronica and using it as a way to strengthen her resolve so that her sister can live on through her is beautiful. Rab denying a perfect life built from his memories so he can bear the hardship of the present and be there for his grandchild (you!) is still the best part of the entire game for me.

Outside of those 3 examples though, I kinda don't have a lot of very nice things to say about everyone else. Hendrick is like, I dunno he's fine, I like his relationship with Jasper but I also did permanently bench him as soon as I got everyone else back, so suffice to say I didn't really care about him a lot. Erik and Jade are kind of uniquely awful though.

Amnesia is maybe one of my least favorite narrative tropes, like ever, and it's something I've only ever enjoyed under the pretense of it being used for a deliberate use of dramatic irony, or as a way to mess with the person engaging with the work. DQXI does neither of these things, and I cannot for the life of me understand what the point of Erik having amnesia is. It's just so like, effortlessly solved too. You roll up to Sniflheim, watch his memories through a root of Yggdrasil (honestly kind of confused how this still works when the tree is dead) and that's it. I'm just kind of baffled by it, this whole subplot feels like the result of facing the simple problem of "hey how do we convey Erik's backstory to the party and the player" and just deciding on the most ridiculously outlandish solution possible when there's like a million better ways of handling it naturally. It's so much funnier if you meet up with Erik a bit earlier than you're "supposed" to as well, as he pretty much just stands around and hangs out like he's your awkward little brother. All of the stuff regarding him is just even worse if you played vanilla over Definitive Edition too, in which they don't even EXPLAIN why Erik gets amnesia in the first place since his interlude chapter isn't there. I don't even really think the explanation behind it is that good either, but that's neither here nor there at this point.

It's important to understand that Jade, and Octagonia by extension is a sort of homage/reinterpretation of the Alena chapter from DQIV. A scenario in which a tomboy princess kicks so much ass that she ends up having to be the person to defend her own bodyguards, and it ends with her completely dominating a tournament in what is easily the most iconic setpiece of that game. The way Jade is set up is very similar, as she's initially posed as a princess martial artist that's far more physically capable than her mentor. But by time you reach Dundrasil in Act 1, you learn she's a far more layered and sympathetic character. Her prowess doesn't come from a desire to be strong, but from the need to protect those around her so that she never has to risk losing them again. It's amazing, and she's so cool! I instantly gravitated towards her, and I was genuinely excited to see where her character went.

I'm not really going to mince words here, I think the way Act 2 handles Jade is terrible. The initial setup of her going to liberate Octagonia works as a good premise, but it just falls apart so fucking badly once you go up to the arena and meet Booga. You're given a yes/no prompt to put on a bunny suit for his pleasure, and the game doesn't really give you a choice to say no, because he'll kill a bunch of kids or some shit. It's not the most senseless or revolting thing I've ever seen or anything, but it honestly feels kind of disgusting to me out of principle. She doesn't even successfully revolt with the other prisoners either, as the Luminary and The Guys have to show up and save her. To see a character like Jade reduced to this is not only extremely disappointing, but it almost feels like a mockery when you consider what it was directly paying homage to as well. Unfortunately, Dragon Quest isn't really a stranger to some occasional eyebrow raising stuff regarding it's treatment of women at times. It's something that even my favorite games in the series (VII and VIII) don't get away with, but XI's treatment of Jade is quite frankly embarassing and all things considered it's personally upsetting to me.

One the note of paying tributes and homages to previous games, I think DQXI can feel a bit lopsided at times. It's adoration towards the past of the series very much feels genuine, but I cant help but think that adoration takes center stage in a way that oftentimes sacrifices some of the unique ground it has to stand on. That's not to say there isn't clever nods to be found within DQXI, the way the interlude chapters are structured like those of DQIV was not lost on me, and even if it was a bit on the nose I really appreciated how some of the songs were used. What makes a lot of those small tributes tick for me is that they exist by design, and the game never interrupts itself to go "Hey, do you remember so and so?" However, it's the stuff with Erdwyn that honestly began to really wear on me as the game went on. I understand that DQIII is very beloved game, and even if it's not my favorite, I absolutely respect it and admire what it was able to accomplish. DQXI is not shy about establishing the parallels between Erdwyn and Erdrick, and if I'm being honest, it just feels so tiring. It's such an endemic tendency throughout DQXI to show unambiguous reverence towards this game in particular to the point that it feels like it's living in its shadow rather than existing on its own terms at times.

Despite all of the mean things I've said about this game, I still kinda like it honestly? The Character Builder is arguably the best progression system in the series, and the way it coincided with the narrative really impressed me. Pep is a fun twist on combat, and having the turn based system go from being premeditated to conditional was a welcome change even if it took a while for me to get used to it. It's a gorgeous game with vibrant towns, and Toriyama's art will always be lovely to me no matter the context. Dragon Quest as a series has a lot of predominant fundamental strengths, and XI tends to do a very good job at adhering to them.

As of now, I haven't played Act 3, and honestly? I don't really plan to. Now, it's not because I heard people say it bad and that it undid certain plot elements, but moreso that I've already put over 60 hours into DQXI. It's not much of a secret that I'm not particularly enamored with this game, and I don't think I have it in me to follow through with something that's considered post game when there's other interests I could be pursuing. I guess that's just what happens when you play six of these in a row.

desculpa mas achei esse jogo feio pra cacete

My first DQ game and therefore my standard for the series. I dropped this game twice because of the slow opening and came back to see if i was just letting myself down by not playing it...i will never make that mistake again with this series. One of the most fun and entertaining games i have ever played with characters that are loved through every arc of the story. There are twists and dark moments i never even thought could happen in this game which made it even harder to drop after becoming hooked. Sensational story lines for each member coupled with the funky art style Akira cultivated for this series makes this cartoony world feel so alive and cared for. People that love this genre should enjoy everything this game presents to you as the only flaws this game has to me is the beginning/intro, my younger self couldn't fathom getting through it but he was stupid and has now seen the light of the Luminary