Having only played through the original release on PlayStation 4, I had lofty hopes for this re-release of Dragon Quest XI. I truly enjoyed the original, but I can’t deny that its lack of quality-of-life features made it a bit of a chore throughout the adventure. This demo of Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age hones in on the pain points first and foremost, which I appreciated.
The Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age demo only had the option for 3D mode instead of 2D, which is fair, given how extensive this demo already is. The first major improvement I noticed was the option to toggle battle speed, and you can bet I’m leaving that on Ultra Speed at all times.
This drastically reduced the tedium that can result from doing dozens of battles right after the other. Speaking of reduced tedium, being able to buy items needed to forge right as you’re crafting instead of having to search for them ordinarily is also a lifesaver. These two additions will make my eventual full-scale revisit all the more satisfying, I’m sure.
The addition of the orchestral soundtrack is quite impactful as well. While I came around to the midi version of the soundtrack in the original release, I can’t deny that the orchestral arrangements have a certain majesty and grandiosity to them that drastically enhance the overall ambiance and tone. I’m really looking forward to seeing later pivotal story scenes play out with the orchestral music.
There is the elephant in the room with this re-release, that being the graphics. This version of the game is a port of the Nintendo Switch release, for both better and worse. While the huge slew of additional content and fixes justifies this re-release alone, the graphics do look a little off, admittedly.
Comparing this to the original release makes this version look a bit out of place. Environments and characters don’t look sharp and crisp, and some zoom-ins can look a bit blurry. The game certainly still looks beautiful, don’t get me wrong, and it failed to bother me the more I played, but it was an issue that took root in the back of my mind as I kept playing.
There is a harder difficulty of this game, in a sense, called Draconian Quest. There are 8 options players can toggle from that can make the game more challenging in various ways. Honestly, the bottom half of the list comprises changes that seem to be more annoying than anything, but either way, this mode is sure to give some players a needed challenge.
With this re-release being more convenient and player-friendly as a whole, I can only imagine that it will be an easier experience overall. So the hard difficulty options are very much appreciated.
I’m very much looking forward to the full release of Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age. This demo impressed me a fair amount, and it didn’t even feature the entirety of what this definitive edition has to offer. If you’ve never played this version of the game on Nintendo Switch or simply have never played the game at all, this demo is worth a shot. Progress made here will transfer over to the retail version, so think of it as a head start.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age is releasing for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam on December 4.
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