Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe & The Blight Below (PS4)

When I chose to pre-order this game I kind of knew what to expect, but honestly upon playing it my expectations weren't met in full. At least they haven't been up to this point. Currently in my playthrough I seem to be caught up in the game's introductory phase which is teaching me the controls, and various other mechanics related to the Dynasty Warriors inspired gameplay. I will say that what I've learned so far is easy enough to pick up on, and understand, but that the control scheme is a little complex. Unlike the DW games there seems to be a lot more involved in the various combat scenarios that you take on than what you'd find in such gaming experiences. Sadly those combat scenarios, or missions which have the characters getting to the bottom of the world's monster issues are short lived, and divided by character management intermissions. I do understand in saying that, that I have yet to experience the game in full though. I'm hoping there's more to it than to just go out, kill all the baddies, and return to better equip your characters for the next battle. We'll have to wait, and see though ...

When it comes to the complete package that is "Dragon Quest Heroes" the graphics, and accompanying soundtrack are hands-down the most delightful I've experienced thus far this year. By Square Enix, and Koei Tecmo sticking with the original artist of the series on the project it has truly lived up to it's hype both visually, and audibly. There's plenty of gorgeous cutscenes, and even the in-game character models are a sight to behold. The fact that the soundtrack is so special the developer, and publisher had to throw in a copyright notice regarding the legal terms of streaming the game tells you that this game is truly a gem in someone's eyes. To me the soundtrack was a noteworthy homage to Dragon Quest games of old. It sounded retro, but modern at the same time. It had a sort of fun-loving ambiance that reflected the more lighthearted scenario that the game encompasses. Keep in mind there is a bad guy doing bad things in the story, but this game is anything, but foreboding. The added fact that the spoken dialogue can be heard through the PS4 DualShock4 controller makes the game even more immersive.

I suppose, at this point you'll want to know what's going on within the world of "Dragon Quest Heroes", so I'll tell you. As simple as the following may sound the game starts off with humans living in harmony with monsters. They are happy, and in the middle of a celebratory festival honoring who knows what? Once the main villain is introduced amid said celebration though the monsters fall under a spell that causes them to begin attacking the gathered crowd. Thus the initially nameless male, and female protagonist enter the fray in an attempt to save their King, and his kingdom. After the CG cutscene plays out in full the female, and male protagonists which you have already named, and assigned roles to (player & partner) will join forces in a quest to rid the world of the looming threat in order to find out what made the monsters turn against mankind. Along the way you'll have persons of interest join your party, and in-turn said characters will become playable as you fight off the monsters, and boss creatures.

In the way of combat you'll find that the playable characters each wield different types of weapons, and that they each have different upgradeable abilities. Though these actions may be different in appearance and function the base functions are all about the same. At the base level each character has two types attacks (melee & SP), some spell based attacks, and an all powerful tension attack that can level entire waves of enemies among other things. Some characters even open up new battlefield functions like monster coins which can summon monsters to help, or even turrets which can clear enemies at a distance. All of this comes to play in order, and eventually collectively so. With each newly introduced feature/function also comes a well explained tutorial teaching you about what it is you need to do.

Like a DW (Dynasty Warriors) game you will basically be eliminating all the monsters within a given area as well as seeking out important enemy targets, and even guarding persons of interest as they try to do something of importance. There is definitely a variety to the missions, but as I said earlier they are singled out experiences followed by an intermission in a off road village area where you tend to all your character needs. As far as the village area goes it is small, and houses only a handful of vendors that can be used for equipping your characters with the best of gear. There's a blacksmith of sorts that sells you armor, and weapons as well as an alchemist of sorts who will combine ingredients gathered from killed monsters to form items, and accessories. At this point in time I'm not entirely sure the village stops will always look the same, or house the same vendors, but so far I've seen the same one three times over. I should also mention that at the village shops you can allocate skill points to upgrade character skills, and that you can save the game (or re-allocate skill points) at the church vendor.

That is my understanding thus far. Since I'm still not past the introductory missions, and only a little ways into the game I'm hoping things get more grand in scale, and that the game offers more variety than what I've seen. Of course I will keep you up-to-date on what I find as I continue to play, and will eventually give you a verdict on whether or not this game is a game worth buying. Stay tuned for that! ...

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