The way video games have evolved over time is nothing short of impressive. Studios and franchises keep finding ways to improve and adapt to cater to the demand of the modern gamer. Blocky characters became more realistic, gameplay more complex, worlds vastly expanded. But it can get overwhelming and sometimes you just want to come home to something familiar.
Enter Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, a classic JRPG that will warm your heart and hit you hard with nostalgia.
What a wonderful world
I was welcomed into the bright world of Erdrea with a cinematic that explained how the hero (you get to name him) ended up in the humble town of Cobblestone. It’s later revealed that he’s the Luminary, a legendary hero tasked to save Erdrea from darkness. This catapults our hero into his journey to fulfill his destiny. It’s honestly not a spectacular opening, not even remotely original. But I was glad to find that as the game progressed, the story started to introduce twists to the story. Sooner, much rather than later, I was hooked.
The characters are as wonderfully colorful and diverse as the world they live in. The crazy menagerie of monsters, bumbling NPCs, and quirky members of your party add another level of entertainment. Your party, for example, despite sticking to the classic JRPG classes, have their own distinct personalities that try and stray away from the expected. No big, macho tanks here but you do get a fun, dancing circus performer.
The towns that you visit also have their own identities (and accents!) which make them unique; it’s like visiting a different country each time.
Fun fact: The artist of Dragon Quest is also the artist of Dragon Ball, hence the similarity in character designs.
New but familiar
Dragon Quest XI is an apple that doesn’t fall far from the classic dungeon crawler tree by sticking to turn-based fighting and point-based character building. What’s great this time around is that enemies are visible in the overworld which eliminates the element of random encounters. This may be a good or bad thing depending on what kind of player you are. For me, it was incredibly helpful because I was able to choose my battles. Once I got to a certain level, I started avoiding the weaker enemies so I could save my HP and MP for the ones that that gave higher experience points or just go straight to the boss battles.
Staying true to the formula, it’s a lather-rinse-repeat kind of game. To progress the story and level up, you fight several enemies and bosses, go to towns, accomplish quests and then do it all over again. Dragon Quest attempts to relieve the repetitiveness of this kind of gameplay by giving the option to have your party attack automatically. It worked great in getting past easy monsters without much effort and also for level grinding.
Pep Powers are also introduced in the game. When a member of your party is hit a number of times, they get “Pepped Up” which increases their stats and adds special moves that he/she can perform alone or with another pepped-up party member; different combinations of characters yield different attacks/buffs. If you’re familiar with Limit Breaks, it’s similar to that. I found it hard to manage, though, as only the main hero will attain the ability to get pepped up on command. The rest of your party will do it at random, making it more difficult if you want to execute a certain ability.
Linear but large
As expected, Dragon Quest XI is not an open-world game. And while you are free to roam around the map, you won’t get far without following the main story, as new areas are usually blocked. For each town, there are different story arcs that not only support the main story but add to the rich tapestry of Dragon World XI’s world. It’s surprising how easily each town’s story seamlessly weaves into the next making it quite hard to stop playing.
Moving around is easy with the option to fast travel using a spell given in the early levels of the main character. But unless there’s a specific goal to achieve in these towns, I found going by foot or by horse was much more enjoyable, plus you’ll be able to search for treasure chests and crafting materials hidden throughout the world. The game also rewards you for breaking pots and barrels, as well as looting cabinets and bookshelves in the homes of townspeople.
Dragon Quest makes up for being linear by offering so much content. On average, you’ll need about 70 hours to finish the main game, but with the post-game content, you can easily stretch your play time well above the hundred-hour mark. Thankfully, Erdrea is huge (Mild spoiler: You’ll be needing a boat) and the story is strong enough to support this lengthy game.
Overall, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a wonderful testament to the JRPG genre and a great example of how a classic formula can be successfully brought into the modern age of video games. It’s a familiar and comfortable game that still offers quite a challenge. It lives up to its name, surely pleasing fans of the series and the genre but also creating a welcome atmosphere for new players. Despite the slow start, you’ll soon find yourself lost in the beautiful world of Erdrea and heavily invested in the story and its characters.
From scouring corners of the world for crafting materials to spending time on each character’s skill tree or even playing some of the town’s mini-games, Dragon Quest XI offers a multitude of things to accomplish that will leave you playing for hours. If you find yourself wanting to play a new game but also yearning for a touch of the classic dungeon crawlers of before, Echoes of an Elusive Age is definitely a game to consider
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age was released worldwide on September 4, 2018 and is available on PS4 and Steam. This article was based on a digital copy for the PS4.
You may soon be able to resell games bought on Steam
Valve isn’t giving up though
Marketplaces like Steam offer much more than just a place to buy games. It’s a community that lets you enjoy multiplayer modes, explore DLCs, and constantly keep in touch with your fellow gamers. This combination has made Steam the most popular destination for gamers as well as game developers.
Steam users from France could soon have a new option though. A new ruling by the French court has the potential to radically alter the way people buy, sell, and play video games. It ruled that European Union law allows Steam users to resell their digital games, similar to any other physical product.
According to French site Numerama, users are free to resell digital games bought on Steam and this precedent could further apply to other digital content as well.
UFC Que Choisir (Federal Union of Consumers) filed a suit against Steam four years ago against a number of clauses in the Steam Subscriber Agreement. Essentially, the agreement says that consumers don’t actually buy products on Steam, instead, get subscriptions to access and use content and services.
The court also took Valve to task for other practices, such as holding onto Steam Wallet funds when players leave the platform and unclear moderation policies.
Though, no changes to Steam will be made until an appeal is settled. On the other hand, UFC Que Choisir has said they plan to directly challenge other digital products and platforms.
The case is crucial for the online distribution industry and could bring about a massive change in France as well as the European Union. For digital companies, that’ll be a nightmare since they’ve never expected their virtual offerings to be resellable.
Apple Arcade games you should play
They all seem super fun!
When you think about gaming, Apple isn’t the first company that comes to mind. They’re probably not even in the top five. But that could soon change with the introduction of Apple Arcade.
Apple Arcade is the company’s new gaming service and it’s now available in Singapore. There’s a 30-day trial and after that it’s just SG$ 6.98 per month and you can use it across multiple Apple devices. Well, that is when the devices finally get iOS 13 which is soon!
With Apple Arcade you gain access to over 100 new and exclusive games for a small monthly fee. It’s a welcome change of pace from the mobile gaming scene that’s plagued with micro transactions.
If you’re overwhelmed by THAT many games, Apple helped us out by sharing their recommendations. Here they are. Also, fun fact: the first two games here are made in Singapore.
Cat Quest 2
Cat Quest 2 s a 2D open-world action role playing game set in a fantasy realm of cats and dogs. Under threat from a continuing war between the cats of Felingard and the advancing dogs of the Lupus empire, experience the journey of two kings on a journey of paw-some discovery to reclaim their throne.
BattleSky Brigade Harpooner
BattleSKy Brigade Harpooner is a shoot em up and “fishing” game. Shoot open barrels and enemies and avoid obstacles on the way up, like a classic vertical shoot em up. Reel yourself back in when you run out of rope and collect what you shot open. Set in an adorable world, help Pim become the best scavenger in all the Wyldes.
Sayonara Wild Hearts (Annapurna)
Sayonara Wild Hearts sets players on a music adventure where every level is a song, and every collectible is captured by being awesome, riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords, and breaking hearts at 200 mph.
Skate City (Snowman)
Skate City is where players can capture the heart and soul of street skating in a personalized style and enjoy the feeling of cruising the city streets that soon become the ultimate playground.
Where Cards Fall (Snowman)
Where Cards Fall is a slice-of-life story where you build houses of cards to bring formative memories to life by creating pathways through dreamlike puzzles to navigate the insecurities and emotions of high school and beyond.
Cardpocalypse (Versus Evil)
Make friends, play cards, twist the rules, become a Mega Mutant Power Pets master, and try to save the world in Cardpocalypse, a single-player role-playing game about being a 90’s kid.
Hot Lava (Klei)
Hot Lava transports you back to your childhood imagination requiring you to use your skills to conquer treacherous obstacles in nostalgia-packed environments flooded with hot molten lava.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will be out early 2020
Epic fights and interesting side quests to come!
If Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball FighterZ wasn’t hyped up enough for you, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot might be what your missing.
This isn’t just about epic fights that Dragon Ball FighterZ blew up and is now know for. If you haven’t known, this time, you get to try exploring what used to just be a backdrop. The game allows you to play through most of Goku’s life. It’s an action role-playing game that lets you immerse yourself in Goku’s story as you progress further into the plot.
If you don’t find the appeal in playing out Goku’s life, you might want to reconsider. The game looks pretty cool and the views can be stunning when you’re flying in third-person perspective. When fights break out, it’s a whole different story.
The perspective shifts to an over-the-shoulder fighting game. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot looks to be an interesting addition, drifting away from just letting us play hyped up fighting scenes. The game also lets you roam, mine, fish, and complete side quests.
The game is going to be based off the anime. If you’re a huge fan of the anime, this is your shot to play it out in whole new immersive perspective.
When the heck is this game getting released? Luckily, it isn’t too far from being released. Bandai Namco just announced that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is coming out on the 17th of January 2020 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
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