I like Japanese role-playing video games just like the Final Fantasy and Persona sequence, however I simply by no means bought into Dragon Quest. But I’ve lastly corrected this oversight.

I had a couple of false begins with the traditional franchise. When a remake of Dragon Quest IV got here out for the Nintendo DS in 2008, I picked it up. This was proper across the time I used to be marathoning my approach by means of Final Fantasy, taking part in the primary 10 video games within the franchise in 6 months. After a lot Final Fantasy, I believed I’d take pleasure in trying out the opposite main JRPG establishment. But I barely bought anyplace with Dragon Quest IV. I don’t have an awesome motive; the sport simply didn’t seize me. If there was one large factor, I simply couldn’t get into the first-person battles. Not seeing my celebration members on the battlefield simply felt jarring.

Not lengthy after that, Dragon Quest IX got here out for the DS in 2010. This time, Square Enix made a Dragon Quest for the DS from scratch. And I truly performed this one for a couple of hours. This time, I may truly see my characters in battle, swinging their little swords and casting their spells. But Dragon Quest IX was a extra open, much less narrative-focused RPG. That was a reasonably large leap for me, particularly after taking part in all of these story and character-heavy Final Fantasy video games.

Fast-forward to 10 years later, and my JRPG expertise has prolonged past the confines of Final Fantasy. I’ve now performed video games like Suikoden 2, The Legend of Heroes: Trails within the Sky, and Phantasy Star IV. My appreciation for the style extends past comparisons to Final Fantasy.

So when everybody began raving about Dragon Quest XI, I grew to become curious. But it nonetheless took me awhile to leap in. After my previous expertise with the franchise, I had satisfied myself that I simply wasn’t a “Dragon Quest guy.” But when Dragon Quest XI got here to Switch, and I lastly had some free time after the frenzy vacation and early 12 months sport critiques, I made a decision to lastly give it a go.

The RetroBeat: Dragon Quest XI finally turns me into a fan

Above: Gotta kill slimes in a Dragon Quest.

Image Credit: Square Enix

Questing for glory

I’m so glad that I did. About 75 hours later, Dragon Quest XI is now considered one of my favourite RPGs of all time. It was every part that folks stated it was: charming, lovely, and delightfully old-school with a contemporary strategy. But Dragon Quest XI was additionally many issues I wasn’t anticipating. It has the most effective voice appearing I’ve ever heard in a JRPG, avoiding the obnoxious anime tropes that so many different video games of this sort go for. And whereas Dragon Quest XI makes use of a easy, conventional turn-based battle system, it nonetheless has loads of depth. Every combat feels significant. You can grind your approach by means of many JRPGs by simply smashing a single button, telling each celebration member to make use of a fundamental assault each flip. Dragon Quest XI had me utilizing a a lot wider set of talents and spells than a standard JRPG.

Now, I’m not right here to evaluate Dragon Quest XI (managing editor Jason Wilson already has, and it’s best to learn it). Suffice it say that it’s a unbelievable JRPG and you could play it when you’ve got any affinity for the style.

But other than the large expertise of taking part in that one sport, I lastly really feel able to dive into the remainder of this franchise. Already, I’m eyeing the current Switch port of Dragon Quest III, which it appears to be like like many individuals suppose is the most effective of the NES-era video games within the sequence. I’m additionally excited to strive among the video games that I’m listening to are among the many finest within the franchise, like Dragon Quest V and Dragon Quest VIII.

It looks like an entire new JRPG world is open to me. I’m undecided that I’m going to return and play each Dragon Quest sport, like I as soon as did for Final Fantasy. But after beating Dragon Quest XI, all I wish to do is get deeper into the franchise.

I’m now a Dragon Quest man.

The RetroBeat is a weekly column that appears at gaming’s previous, diving into classics, new retro titles, or how outdated favorites — and their design strategies — encourage right this moment’s market and experiences. If you’ve gotten any retro-themed initiatives or scoops you’d wish to ship my approach, please contact me.