At long last, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition has landed on the Nintendo Switch. Developed by Square Enix, the game started development back in 2013 and was among the first games announced in development for the Switch.
A version of the game was released last September outside of Japan world-wide for both PlayStation 4 and PC on Steam. However, the Switch version required a little bit more development time. And, let me tell you, the wait was worth it!
This definitive edition includes an orchestral soundtrack, gameplay improvements and added features. These all add up to make this easily the best version of the game hands down.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Square Enix
Modes: Single player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
A grand adventure filled with memorable characters
The Dragon Quest series has been popular in Japan for many years and it’s only been fairly recent that it has started to gain popularity in the rest of the world. The story line throughout the franchise’s 30 plus year history has revolved around the same basic elements. One, a silent hero faces a horrible world-ending threat that only you can stop. And, two, you and a band of followers explore dungeons to find answers.
After years and years of using this formula, you would think gamers would tire of it. That’s not the case. The secret with the Dragon Quest games that keep gamers coming back for more are the characters. The difference is that each of the characters are unique, have their own personalities and a compelling backstory to boot. And, I am happy to say that Dragon Quest XI S continues this tradition.
You take on the role as a Luminary, who was abandoned as a baby. After learning that you are destined for greatness, you set out in search of adventure and to learn about your past in the exciting land of Erdrea. On your journey, you encounter various different characters that join your party. Each have their own backstory that gives you a reason of why they are where you meet them, and different fighting styles.
One of my favourite new additions to Dragon Quest XI S are the new scenarios for each of your party members. This allows you to see the story from their perspective, which can sometimes be totally different than what you expect.
Well-balanced turn-based battles with modern enhancements
Dragon Quest XI S features traditional turn-based combat rather than real-time. Although, it does allow you to move around in real-time, combat is still turn based. While exploring on land, enemy encounters can be avoided by simply going another way or around them. At sea, enemy encounters follow the more traditional Dragon Quest setup and are random, which cannot be avoided.
At times, battles can last quite long. To remedy this problem, you now have the ability to increase the battle speed. This new setting “Ultra Fast” keeps the battle moving at a good pace and can keep battles from dragging on. Another feature I found useful is called Tactics. This allows you to dictate how your party members act. You can ask certain party members to go on autopilot and focus on healing or even go all out and show no mercy. This allows you to focus on just using one character and building them up using skill points.
With Dragon Quest XI S you can now craft items wherever you are, making it much more convenient. Moreover, Dragon Quest XI S contains something called Pep Powers. Essentially, these are buffs that beef up your party stats including doubling attack and defense.
Beautiful high definition 3D graphics and retro 16-bit visuals
Dragon Quest XI S uses the Unreal Engine 4 and looks superb on the Nintendo Switch. Towns are filled with NPCs to talk to that have colourful dialogue and sometimes comical things to say. It’s amazing the amount of people you can talk to and the amount of dialogue contained in the game. The translation team did a magnificent job on what must have been hundreds of hours of work.
Quite possibly the best feature added to Dragon Quest XI S is the 2D mode. This is exclusive to the Switch and allows you to play the game with 16-bit sprite-based graphics. It immediately took me back to my teen years in the 90s and reminded me of all the JRPGs from the era that I enjoyed. Unfortunately, you can’t change on the fly between 2D and 3D mode. And, sometimes, you’ll have to backtrack after changing graphics modes.
Dragon Quest XI S on the Switch contains an orchestrated musical score that puts last years soundtrack on PS4 and PC to shame. I quite often found myself just sitting there listening to it and enjoying it. Choosing between English and Japanese voice acting is a nice touch, for those who prefer one over the other.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition is a must-have for Switch RPG fans
Without a doubt, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch is the best version of the game. Although it took an extra year to finish up and release, it was well wort the wait. Even if you played Dragon Quest XI on the PS4 or PC last year, there are enough new additions and improves in Dragon Quest XI S that warrant a purchase.
My absolute favourite new feature is the fabulous 2D mode. Playing in this mode gives you the same story but a totally different experience. If you are a fan of the Dragon Quest series, there is no doubt you will enjoy Dragon Quest XI S on the Switch. On the other hand, if you have never played a game in the series and are curious about it there is a demo on the Nintendo eShop for you to try out. As a bonus, your progress carries over to the full game when you buy it.
+ A vast world to explore that is full of lots to see and do
+ Stunning retro 2D mode with 16-bit graphics
+ Unique, interesting and colourful characters around every corner
+ Classic turn-based combat with modern enhancements
+ English and Japanese voice overs are included
– English character voices on some characters can be annoying at times
– Minor frame rate issues in 3D mode
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF DRAGON QUEST XI S: ECHOES OF ELUSIVE AGE DEFINITIVE EDITION
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5