Dragon Quest XI was exactly the game I was looking for to rekindle my love of the jrpg genre. I didn’t grow up with the franchise like some gamers but something about the way it pulled from its illustrious past made me feel right at home from the jump. The game follows the story of the silent protagonist called the Luminary and of course it is his destiny to save the world from darkness. At the outset it seems as though this will be yet another jrpg story filled with tropes and linearity, but as you meet the colorful cast of characters and the story unfolds Dragon Quest XI hits with an emotional story worthy of any AAA title released in the past few years. I won’t delve into the story or characters too much here as I would like to avoid bringing up any spoilers.
One of the things I had a problem with however we pacing issues from time to time. At one point in the game you are required to undergo a lot of back tracking which I think could have been mitigated or streamlined in some way. Even with the pacing issues I never lost interest in the story and I think that speaks to the quality of the story being told.
With that being said the story of a jrpg would mean nothing without a robust and deep battle system and customization options. DQXI delivers here in a major way! The addition of Pep Powers that allow party members to attack in tandem with each other deepens the strategy and keeps things interesting as you find new combinations and try out different party builds. Along the lines of customization there are outfits that can change party members appearances. I played the game of PS4 and unfortunately you have to keep the items equipped for the appearance to remain changed, but on the switch version you can change the looks whenever you like after the initial unlock.
After spending well over 100 hours achieving the Platinum trophy in DQXI I realized that I had been missing this type of game in my life. Putting myself in the world and creating a bond with my party members felt natural and rewarding and seeing the payoff in story beats throughout the game was always something I was looking forward to. I don’t know what game I will be able to play to fill the void left from Dragon Quest but I might just have to start back at the beginning of the franchise and continue my adventures in this universe.
I recommend every rpg lover play this game.