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dbarry_22's Video Game Reviews (221)

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Demon's Souls 3.5/5
Metroid Dread 4.5/5
Returnal 4/5
Dead Cells 4.5/5
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 4/5
Bloodstained: Ritual of... 4.5/5
Bloodstained: Ritual of... 4.5/5
Red Dead Redemption 2 4.5/5
Blaster Master Zero II 3.5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Li... 5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Li... 5/5
Golf Story 4/5
Tetris 99 3.5/5
Red Dead Redemption 4/5
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes... 4.5/5
Mega Man 11 4/5
Octopath Traveler 4.5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Sp... 3.5/5
Bloodstained: Curse of ... 4/5
Everybody's Golf 3.5/5
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 4.5/5
Super Mario Galaxy 2 4.5/5
Castlevania: Portrait o... 4/5
Final Fantasy X / X-2 H... 4.5/5
Final Fantasy X / X-2 H... 4.5/5

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Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age   PlayStation 4 

Dragon Quest Finally Comes West In HD!    4.5/5 stars

Dragon Quest XI is a well polished game all the way around and is a great example how a modern day turn-based JRPG can be done right.

I've been a big fan of the Dragon Warrior/Quest series all the way to the NES days. And for those who are fans of the Dragon Quest series, the wait for a new true installment in the JRPG series has been long. Almost 13 years had passed since the last console entry in the series on the PS2 (DQ VIII) and over eight years since DQ IX made it's way west on the Nintendo DS. Expectations were high for me and most fans and fortunately it did not disappoint.

Dragon Quest XI doesn't really do anything new and that's a good thing. There aren't any new crazy battle mechanics or a brand new world with fancy futuristic technology. It's the classic fantasy world RPG set up you've seen many times before with castles, swords and shields, and spell-casters. It's the same way with the story. Dragon Quest is well known for it's silent non-named Hero that you control and then lead a group against a dark force or enemy that's trying to take over and destroy the world. This hero is often referred to in these games as the Luminary. This game is no different. Since the setup in Dragon Quest is pretty much always the same, it's how the story unfolds and ends is what's different. Needless to say that story is new and I didn't know exactly how things would end up and that's really all I want with a Dragon Quest story. The Luminary has several other characters join his party, each with their own strengths. Erik is a thief who was told that he would help the Luminary. Twin sisters Veronica and Serena who each have their own strengths in spell casting were sent out to help the Luminary. Slvando the Jester decides to join the team after events take place in one of the towns and even a couple characters from the Hero's past return and join in on the fun. It probably takes too long to really get into the meat of the story but once you're there it's told really well. I won't go into detail as to not spoil it but it's good.

The graphics and environment in Dragon Quest is bright and colorful and quite beautiful. It's a cell-shaded 3D world that looks really good. Waterfalls and the sky are well done. Some of the CG cut scenes even take it up a notch and are clearly the best looking parts Dragon Quest has ever had to date. The music doesn't quite match up though. If you do a quick google search of Dragon Quest XI music you'll probably immediately see complaints of the MIDI soundtrack. There just isn't that emotion and depth to the music that you hear in most modern day rpgs. That was disappointing. Personally I didn't dislike the soundtrack but I definitely wasn't impressed by it either. Many of those who play the game on Steam have gone to the efforts of patching in the symphonic suite soundtrack from Japan to improve things. That cannot be done on the PS4 version.

One of the things that bugs me about RPGs sometimes is that you can develop characters anyway you want and can practically be interchangeable with each other. The reason that bothers me is that while that appears limitless and provides an immense amount of freedom when it comes to your party, most of the time you end up only going to what you're comfortable with and end up experiencing less than you should. And, personally I think that hurts story telling by doing that too I think. DQ XI does a pretty good job of giving you options but making sure each of your characters does a certain thing. Each character has the option of equiping one of three types of weapon. For example, Erik the thief can either equip a boomerang, sword, or knife. Depending on what you equip you can develop that part of the skill tree after leveling up and can earn new skills and abilities. By doing this the game allows you to develop each character how you see fit but each one will basically have their own set of skills that others won't have. Some skills and spells may overlap but generally each has their own feel. I really liked this. Also, the next time I play through the game I can have each character have a different weapon and it'll be a new experience playing with them so that adds some value.

Combat in the game is very familiar. It's your classic turn-based combat. There is no active-time system or some other mechanic to make things different. Each character takes a turn in the round and based on agility that will depend when you go. You don't know who will appear when or when the enemy will attack or how many turns they have just like it was many years ago. Some may argue that this system is antiquated and has no place in RPGs today but I disagree. I really like it. The one thing about battles that's new for the Dragon Quest series is that random encounters are now gone. The re-releases of DQ VII and VIII for the 3DS brought this in but DQ XI is the first installment in the series to have this in the original release. As long as your willing to fight things as you go and not intentionally avoid enemies all the time you won't get in over your head which is nice. But, what's really nice is that the environments lend to being able to dodge encounters if you really want to so if you're revisiting places or in a place where you are dominating fights you can simply avoid them and move on which was welcomed by me whole heartily. The other thing about combat is that at times your characters will get pepped up and will have the chance to perform really cool abilities, kind of like a limit-break from Final Fantasy. What's good and bad about this is that you can learn almost an endless amount of pepped up actions and probably will never have a chance to experience them all because it's difficult to artificially pep up your whole party and getting everyone pepped up at once can be time consuming you really have to focus on making it happen. Rarely does it just happen.

All in all this is a well polished game. Even after you finish the main story line there's more to do. One could argue it's almost essential to keep playing because the story basically just continues where it was left off. I spent over 120 hours playing this game and ended up getting the platinum trophy. I didn't quite do absolutely everything there was to do in the game but it was dang close. I had a lot of fun playing the game and fans of traditional turn based RPGs should give this a try. Taking into account the slow pacing of the story at the start and the mediocre soundtrack this game isn't a 5/5 but to me it gets close.




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