The release of Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of a Lost Past on Xbox One and its Xbox Game Pass service is a milestone in history. Not only does the Dragon Quest saga debut on Microsoft’s system, but also subscribers to its gaming service will be able to enjoy it at no additional cost on PC and console. Hopefully, thanks to this, more and more western players are encouraged to know this wonderful saga.
Dragon Quest is in a state of grace . His latest installment, Dragon Quest 11, is one of his best chapters , at the height of the much revered fifth, eighth, fourth and seventh; And that is a lot to say. A wonderful review of the animated series Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken, known in our territory as The Adventures of Fly, has just been released, and we will also receive a video game based on the anime. A few months ago, a film based on Dragon Quest V: Hand Of The Heavenly Bride premiered on Netflix and that, in addition to being well produced, ends with a conclusion that reveals the tremendous impact that Dragon Quest has had and has in Japan . Because that’s. It has been so influential that the new Yakuza to be released on November 10,Yakuza: Like a Dragon, is a tribute to these JRPGs . Its protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, admits having played the saga since he was little, all his life, and that he wants to live life as if he were a Dragon Quest hero , and how does he carry out this purpose? Well, fighting in turns, letting them hit him after attacking him, using special abilities and leveling up.
Today I review the keys to this fabulous collection of JRPG, the reasons why you have to play Dragon Quest XI and what the version that comes to Xbox One will bring: a definitive edition with more content than the original . And I do it accompanied by the statements of Hokuto Okamoto and Masato Yagi, producer and director of development, respectively. The game will also come to PC, PS4 and PS4 Pro , but, due to the relevance of its appearance on the Microsoft console, that is why I focus on this edition.
The version of the game that will come to Xbox One will be Dragon Quest 11 S: Echoes of a lost past , definitive edition. It is a port of the game that came to Nintendo Switch . Its improvements over the original are the inclusion of an orchestrated soundtrack, the ability to go back through areas already played in a two-dimensional version, speed up the pace of the battles, photo mode, improvements in team building and additional scenarios . but not all are good news. As I said, Dragon Quest 11 S came out first for the Nintendo Switch, which was a cut from the graphical richness of the original game. The title that will land on Microsoft’s console will be that Nintendo Switch game. That is, the game that came out on PS4 has not been taken and the content that came in the final version that was published exclusively on Nintendo Switch has been added. The base Nintendo title has been used and its resolution and frame rate have been improved so that it is up to par.
This question is controversial. From Square Enix they already warn: “It is a port of Nintendo Switch, so the graphics are not the same as those of the original Playstation 4 game. However, the resolution and the frame rate will be, at least, as good as they were on the original Playstation 4 “. It is a pity that this decision was made. The Nintendo Switch game works great and looks good when played in handheld mode, but when viewed on television, the image does not reach the same quality as on Playstation 4. There are worse textures and, in some areas, the detail of the elements that compose them is not so rich. I do not want to deceive you, for me it is also a joy ‘half’. However, I hope the improved resolution and extra content will make up for that lack of technical finesse.
But if you have never played a Dragon Quest you may be wondering: what differentiates this saga from others such as Final Fantasy, Ys or Persona? Why is it more than interesting to play this game? Hokuto Okamoto and Masato Yagi answered that question: “Dragon Quest 11 is a game that allows players to let their imaginations run wild while playing. We always try to create an experience that is easy to follow, but at the same time leaves plenty of room for the imagination”. The Dragon Quest series , and that does not change in this last chapter, is always slow and calm development. The game takes a long time to introduce its characters, their world and their customs: “in the first part of the game, a new episode begins when you arrive in a new city, but from the middle of the title and until the end, the story begins to unfold at different rates. ” What is interesting about this new chapter is how open its exploration is, offering an open world as beautiful as it is full of secrets , and with immense content after reaching the end of the adventure. In total, this final version can last up to 150 hours , but to understand where its magic lies, we can not only stay in the duration, we must know the origins of the legend.
From the Shonen Jump pages to the NES
The story of the birth of Dragon Quest is one of my favorites . It is assumed that Yuji Horii is its creator, but, in reality, it is not exactly him. Do you remember Dr. Slump and Arale? Akira Toriyama drew this manga before making Dragon Ball. It featured the fearsome Dr. Mashirito, Dr. Slump’s nemesis. Well, it turns out that this character is inspired by Toriyama’s publisher at the time: Torishima. This was one of the most famous makers of Shonen Jump magazine, famous for being the home of One Piece or Dragon Ball itself. In the 80s, video games were starting to hit hard, and Torishima liked them. I wanted to include pages about them in the magazine, but there was a problem: the trade publications had the best exclusives; So he came up with an idea: what if we take people who work on Shonen Jump and make a video game ourselves ?
Torishima had hit it off with Yuji Horii, who in addition to working on Jump had also developed a game for Enix: The Portopia Serial Murder Case. It was a conversational mystery adventure that, from what Torishima had told Horii, another author of the post had loved: a young Akira Toriyama. He told him that he liked it so much that he wanted to participate in one too. Thinking about what video game they could do inside the Jump, and seeing that RPGs like Wizardry or Ultima IV worked very well in the West and that there was not much representation of them on the NES, Torishima thought: “why don’t I ask Horii to, together with Enix, adapt the experience to me From Wizardry to NES? And since we are a manga magazine, Akira Toriyama will draw everything for me. That way, I will control all the information in the game and can publish it before anyone else in Shonen Jump. And thus Dragon Quest was born.
The JRPG saga that started it all was a Japanese casualization of the western role from PC to console to be able to publish video game news before anyone else. To attest that it was all a commercial ruse by Torishima, this is how Horii reminds us these days: “This is a funny anecdote, but, before we started working together, I had heard that Toriyama-san had always wanted to work on video games. However, when I asked him later, he replied that he had never said that. It was all the doing of Torishima-san, who tried to motivate us to get there. It was all his doing. ” Now, when you read Dr. Slump again and Dr. Mashirito appears, you will understand why he is the bad rogue of the story.
Put like that, it seems like I’m detracting from Dragon Quest, but it’s actually the opposite. Wizardry and Ultima IV are two extremely complex jobs. This second had a morality system that made the whole game change based on your actions, as it was intended to measure how virtuous you were as a player (if you are curious about him, do not miss our special on playing Ultima IV in 2020, a gigantic challenge). Enix was able to condense all that experience into very specific turn-based combat, a focused and more guided adventure, and a lot of manga style. In addition, that interpretation of Western fantasy led to something very peculiar to the JRPG saga: the Christian imaginary. In Dragon Quest we save the game in the churches, there are priests and nuns; only, instead of there being a god, there is a goddess. All of this was maintained in delivery after delivery, and it is also in the game at hand: “Dragon Quest Xi is the culmination of all previous chapters. We have taken into consideration those who have already played Dragon Quest. We want them to feel that they continue to play to what they remember, but we have also thought about the newcomers “. Staying true to its original spirit, its simplicity, its stories and the shonen spirit (happy,But something changed in 1992 with Dragon Quest V . The reason was the arrival of Super Nintendo and Final Fantasy IV.
Competition with Final Fantasy
In the early nineties, in 1991, Final Fantasy IV appeared. The previous three followed a similar pattern to Dragon Quest, but the fourth part was revealed as a JRPG loaded with drama and with a revolutionary change in its combat system: the famous Active Time Battle, which served to make time pass more agile and natural. Takashi Tokita, Game Writer and Lead Designer, explained the reasons for these changes: “Final Fantasy I, II, and III came out on the NES. At that time, Dragon Quest was the most popular game in Japan. We wanted to outdo Dragon Quest with Final Fantasy IV (…) “. It was not strange that Final Fantasy was not able to outsell Dragon Quest, since Hironobu Sakaguchi, the father of the franchise, was very inspired by this gameto make your series. But Dragon Quest did not want to be left behind before the push of Final Fantasy IV. In 1992, one of its most memorable chapters appeared in stores: Dragon Quest V, a video game that even today is still amazing for the daring approach of its story . The title follows the life of a hero and his children throughout the ages. In addition, he was several years ahead of one of the hallmarks of Pokémon: the capture of monsters.
The rivalry between the franchises pushed them both to grow in different ways; They enriched each other like two rivals in a manga, like Vegeta and Goku. After the 90s, both saga and the other had better stories, they forgot to follow the patterns of the western PC RPG and were finding their own way. Dragon Quest always kept its medieval setting, its vibrant colors typical of anime, its silent characters, the classic beginning of the hero who arrives in a city; that he is an orphan or that he turns out to be a powerful chosen one, the colorful friends that we meet and accompany us on our adventure, and the smiling and diverse monsters that we face. And it stayed that way from its birth on the NES until its arrival on Playstation 2 withthe remembered Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King.
It was with this chapter that the saga won our hearts in our territory. This episode let us go through a tremendous world map with characters better modeled than ever, but Enix did not forget his original pixelated style. In Dragon Quest 11 S we can travel to the past, and this is represented with this graphic style, and why? It’s not just for nostalgia : “We want players to use their imaginations while playing Dragon Quest XI. With the pixelated graphics, you can have fun imagining what faces the characters make when they speak or get excited by what happens. In this way, we allow them interpret the story to the players in their own way. “
What was achieved with this epic eighth episode grew to infinity in the chapter at hand. That map no longer only served to get to places or resolve battles, but also to look beyond and delight in what we found . Regarding the combats, a design idea as progressive as that of Final Fantasy IV has not been carried out, much less that of Final Fantasy XV, closer to the JRPG of action in the Kingdom Hearts than to the original deliveries; but something is something : there is a better rhythm, actions to speed up what happens, and we are also allowed to move the characters while we fight. But even so, Dragon Quest does not change its identity one iota, it only matures them. Dragon Quest 11 is still a journey through a reinterpreted Europe, with Asian touches, magical and dreamy, full of fabulous moments and more beautiful than ever; especially thanks to Servando , with very interesting twists if you give the adventure time to develop, frenetic combats and a very One Piece, very Dragon Ball and very Shonen Jump flavor.
For all these reasons, for enjoying a magnificent episode that summarizes all the years of Dragon Quest history, for being the first time it comes to Xbox, and for doing it through Xbox Game Pass at no additional cost, you have to try Dragon Quest XI if you haven’t already. And in these difficult times, exploring its beautiful world is a necessary balm for the soul.