Dragon Quest XI S Echoes of an Elusive Age : Definite Edition is one of the best J-RPGs that you can enjoy today, and it should always be good news that it reaches more platforms. However, Square Enix itself has endeavored to tarnish its own game with an edition that not only does not provide improvements, but also neglects some important aspects. I tell you everything in the analysis of DQXIS: Definitive Edition.
It seems like an eternity to me, but it was not so long ago that Dragon Quest XI S: Definitive Edition appeared. Of course, the trip I made to Japan to play it for the first time is far off. I remember even getting a completely Japanese copy, since the game had not yet been brought to the West. But how things change! And it is that the title not only ended up landing on our PlayStation 4, but also on PC, and of course Nintendo Switch, in a new edition that added unpublished content.
Precisely, what we have in Dragon Quest XI S: Definitive Edition is a recovery of that version, now for PS4 and the Xbox ecosystem (One, Series and PC through the Play Anywhere option). As an admirer of the license, I think it is good news: it is the role of the good, so the more people can play it the better. The figures are not misleading: DQXI has sold more than 6 million units to date . Everything is due to the strategy of opening the game to more consoles and introducing new content.
What do we find on this occasion? Basically all the content that DQXIS was known for , and this means: additional stories for the protagonists, retro mode, side missions in a 16-bit environment, possibility of hearing Japanese voices, orchestrated soundtrack and photo mode. It is not little, but it is something more aimed at those who have not tried the game than those who have already played it. In addition, it has a quite controversial question, because we are facing a port of the Nintendo Switch version . There are improvements, but the graphical result is paradoxically worse than the original version, released a couple of years ago.
Dragon Quest XI S Echoes of an Elusive Age: Great game, insufficient editing
I have little to add to what I already told you in its original release for PS4, and later on Nintendo Switch . It’s a great game that no adventurer should miss. The plot is followed with great interest, the characters are splendidly characterized, and the production values both technical and artistic are at a high level. It is the first time in the saga that Akira Toriyama’s designs are seen in such splendor, thanks to huge, beautiful settings.
It’s easy to see by taking a look at the screenshots that accompany my words. The Dragon Quest saga has always tried to take care of its visuals, but the jump experienced this time was one of the largest in the history of the franchise (if not the most). It is a delight that is of course accompanied by a game system as robust as the franchise it represents itself, with more than 30 years old. Not infrequently the immobility of the formula has been criticized, but no one can deny that the charm remains and that it continues to be a pleasure to enjoy its iconic turn-based battles.
I’ve always believed that while Final Fantasy is the Square Enix saga that takes the JRPG genre in a new direction, Dragon Quest is more about reminding us that traditions should never be lost. The eleventh numbered installment in the series does this splendidly, right down to the end, and it does really well. The progression in levels is very well adjusted, the improvement of characters through a tree of skills is satisfactory and the new forge function (minigame included) became really addictive. Even if the fact of having an old flavor scares you a bit, you should know that precisely first-time users will get everything the first time, because it is a fairly intuitive game.
It seems strange, right? I also thought about it in its day, and that speaks even better of the work done with this Dragon Quest. In addition, it is a fairly long title, with 60 hours minimum (and more than 100 if you are a completist looking for all the secrets and side missions). It doesn’t get heavy. The speed with which you go from one situation to another is high, apart from the fact that there are a variety of situations. In any case, it is appreciated that the possibility of doubling the speed of the combats was introduced and that we could use mounts to move faster around the stage.
Everything that was included in the “S” edition was to increase satisfaction in this great adventure that, as I said, has the greatest incentive to meet its characters. This version of the game for Switch, which we now have back, incorporated new stories , precisely with the aim of delving into the background of our companions. Although the original plot gave you a good sketch of their personalities, I saw this incorporation with total success. Now the game is arguably rounder.
More things? I particularly loved being able to switch between 2D and 3D environments . The possibility of playing in a retro version of the three-dimensional scenarios is an exercise in brutal nostalgia, well resolved, although not very fluid because it cannot be done on the fly (one of the things that could have been improved in this edition). For the combats the static planes of the classic Dragon Quest are kept. If you are passionate about this charming saga, you must travel between classic and modern modes, because it is part of the experience. In the end, this is about that a lot: veteran players, memories and a lot (a lot) of tradition.
Of course, I think it’s nice that Square Enix brought this “definitive edition” for all those who couldn’t enjoy it. However, I also think that it could have been used to add new content, since all this already existed. Although it is something that does not surprise me about the Japanese company. As soon as it gives you joy as well as the occasional not so pleasant surprise. This is one of them.
But there is another one, and quite negative. It turns out that the Japanese have made the unfortunate decision to make a port based on the version of Dragon Quest XI for Nintendo Switch, as the Japanese company itself commented . The reason? Probably because it included the news that the other versions lacked. Don’t ask. The fact is that, although this Definitive Edition looks better than on Switch (by the best definition), some important details of textures and lighting have been lost , which embellished the original version of PlayStation 4. Having made a comparison, the vegetation it is less dense, the rock formations are less detailed, there are dynamic lighting effects that have been lost… and so on a considerable etcetera.
While a new user probably won’t notice, it shouldn’t have happened. Given that we were supposedly before a “final” edition, the correct thing to do would have been to maintain or improve the most competent version , while including the new content. It doesn’t look bad even so, and the game is still beautiful, but sometimes the details make the difference, especially when we talk about a game that is so artistically impressive in the visual. Of course, for fluency do not worry: the performance is good, both on Xbox One and on PC, which have been my gaming platforms for this analysis.
The bottom line is one we’re used to when we talk about this developer. It is a great title, but a very improvable version . Sometimes it is not enough to just take the game and repack it. For example, Dragon Quest XI S had a worse technical section, but it was justified because the platform was less powerful: Nintendo Switch. In addition, this version incorporated significant new features that justified its acquisition. But what has happened now? That we have a Definitive Edition that makes the minimum effort, does not propose new things and on top of it looks worse than in the original version of the game. It was not the best decision, and for that same reason it does not deserve the same evaluation.
The best news about Dragon Quest XI S : Definitive Edition is the arrival of the game to more platforms, in this case the Xbox ecosystem. It is a magnificent J-RPG, with a good plot, an enormous duration and now all the contents of the version that appeared on Nintendo Switch … but keeping its limited graphics. Square Enix has made the unfortunate decision to port on this version, because visually the game shines less than the original version. Even so, if you didn’t play it back in the day, this is still the most comprehensive way to test the game on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.