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24 September 2018

Dragon Quest is Back But Do We Recognise It?

By // Games

Following years of patience, Dragon Quest X!: Echoes of an Elusive Age has finally been released around the world. Developed and published by Square Enix, the RPG was initially released in Japan back in late July 2017, but it wasn’t until September 4 2018 that it went international. Of course, long-time fans of the series will know that we’ve had to wait well over 17 months for a new Dragon Quest instalment.

The very first Dragon Quest was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan back on May 27, 1986 before being released with the title Dragon Warrior in August 1989 in North America. By the turn of the millennium, a total of 7 Dragon Quest games had been released, each receiving as much if not more praise than the last. However, it wasn’t until 2004 that Dragon Quest XIII, the first game in the franchise to share the same name in Japan and North America was released.

It seemed like the constant stream of Dragon Quest games had officially slowed to a steady pace, as 5 years passed before IX was released and it wasn’t until 2012 that X reached fans. During this time, it seemed they were making games for whatever the newest gaming device may have been at the time. Instead of being released on a PlayStation system like their predecessors or even on a Microsoft device, these new titles were on Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii and the Wii U.

With the release of Dragon Quest XI, though, we see a return to PlayStation, a huge relief for fans of the earlier games. Plus, the game is also available on Microsoft Windows PCs, the Nintendo 3DS and it is even on the Nintendo Switch.

Regardless of which console each chapter has been released on, they all have common elements that fans will recognise immediately. After all, franchises don’t get much more traditional then Dragon Quest. The newest release takes place in the Dragon Quest kingdom of Erdrea, where we find our mute hero, a staple in Dragon Quest, who was orphaned early on and must allow his innate powers to bloom in order to save the world.

Potions, elixirs, weapons and clothing all exist in the new game too, many of which you can get at the casinos. That’s right, Dragon Quest XI even kept the mini-games where you can play poker, slots and roulette in exchange for plenty of prizes. This is fantastic news considering that the casinos are such a Dragon Quest tradition that the franchise may have inspired real-world slots developers. Online iGaming platform Casino Cruise alone has several Dragon Quest-esque slots including Dragons Myth, Dragon Ship and Golden Dragon. If this tradition continues, then hopefully we may see a fully licensed Dragon Quest casino on the horizon.

Square Enix has gambled on a few new introductions to the franchise though. For example, players can now interact with mounts, including skeletons that’ll help you scale walls, and dragons that you can use to fly to new areas. The graphics are also far better, voice acting is far more impressive and the turn-based battle system is just as satisfying as ever.

So, is Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age a great addition to the decades-old franchise? Does it keep the traditions while also evolving upon them? Is it worth playing? Yes, yes and yes.

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