Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below Fun To Play Once

Let me get this out of the way first. I do like games like Dynasty Warriors and they are fun to play when I just want to relax and do a few minutes of hack and slash, so I didn't mind that Dragon Quest Heroes seemed to be a mashup of Dynasty Warriors, Tower Defense, and Hyrule Warriors. It was different and not like Dragon Quest 8 and 9 which I loved, but I did find myself having fun with it. The graphics are beautiful and you have over 10 characters from the various Dragon Quest games to choose from to be in your party. There are a lot of references to the Dragon Quest lore which is fun as well.
First fight with a dragon!

The tutorial for the controls is easy to follow and the game play controls handle really well. The battle system for the most part is pretty decently thought out and you can play a quick mission here and there. You can switch back and forth between your party members with a quick press of a button which is handy. The story isn't as good as previous Dragon Quest games with a pretty thin plot and a rather sub-par ending. The thing that really shines is the various special battle moves characters can do and the tension gauge. As your heroes land hits on monsters, the tension meter builds up and once it's full you can unleash a chain of powerful attacks that will defeat your enemies.

Tension attacks really pack a punch.

There are side quests you can do while doing the main story; mainly fetch quests or defeat a certain number of monsters. That can get tedious after a while because you revisit some of the same dungeon areas. There's a lack of exploration as you basically just go from one dungeon crawl area to another. Sure the airship town is cool, but I would have liked an opportunity to at least get to check out areas freely rather than have a go from point A to point B situation. Level grinding is pretty easy especially with the live weekend events they have where you can get extra EXP for your heroes (20% this weekend), rare items, and bonus gold. With all the battles your heroes do you can earn more than enough gold to buy weapons and gear for your party which is pretty great. The addition of monster medals is also a plus. Monster medals drop off any monsters you defeat and you can use the medals to summon those monsters to fight alongside you.

A town with everything you need all on one ship!

While I did like Dragon Quest Heroes, I did not love it the way I have the previous games. It is good, but it's not perfect. I understand they went in a different direction and for the most part it works and is fun up to a point. In many of the missions there's usually an object that must be protected from the onslaught of monsters and strategy is crucial here as well as deciding your party setup and which monsters to summon. However, sometimes the strategy isn't enough because there can be hordes of monsters that can overwhelm your party and as you're struggling to zip to and from different areas, it can be frustrating as you try to read a very cluttered map. Sometimes you will fail a mission and have to try again from the beginning. The one good thing about that is all your EXP and items you've gained carry over. It can get repetitive and I did find myself a little bored as I progressed. I tried different tactics if I had trouble with a mission and trying different things does help to an extent. The AI can also be incredibly stupid. There were a few times where I had a party member just standing there doing nothing while they would be attacked by enemies. 

Early dungeons start out okay and then it gets complicated.

The game play overall is good, but it's not great. Dragon Quest Heroes is fun to play once and not at full price especially with only 30 hours of play time. I'd suggest waiting until it goes on sale or buying it used. It pains me to say that because I love the Dragon Quest series, but this game could have been better and it just felt so much like a Dynasty Warriors/Hyrule Warriors clone in places which left me a little disappointed.

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