As mentioned in my early thoughts on this title, Dragon Quest Heroes is one of a growing roster of Dynasty Warrior titles set in other universes. Previously we had Hyrule Warriors and now we’ve got Dragon Quest Heroes. There are likely more but these are the only two I’ve played, I can’t speak to the rest. Most of the Dynasty Warrior games give you an impossibly large roster with a billion different things to collect. This is great for people who only want to play one game for the next thirty years but I do think it ends up falling onto the far side of what I’m looking for in a game.
That isn’t to say they are bad games. I’d rather have too much content than too little, but they tend to overwhelm me and I never get to finish them. Someday Hyrule Warriors, someday. Dragon Quest Heroes does not suffer from this. I would argue that it has just enough content to be fun and challenging. Because there isn’t a very large amount of things to grind (largely legendary weapons) the maps that do exist don’t overstay their welcome. You’ll see most of them three to four times at a maximum and the content therein is so fun that you’ll never feel like they are padding for time.
Out of 110 or so quests there is only one that I think requires too much of you. Specifically the kill 10 Pandora’s Box quest. These mobs are a bit difficult to find and searching for them is the antithesis of fun. However 1 out of 110 is pretty damn good in my opinion. The remaining quests hit your standard collect items, kill monsters, and complete missions that you’d expect from an RPG (and realistically there isn’t much more that we do in real life either, so it’s not a criticism). You can generally complete 3-5 of them at a time which is also great. And while doing so you’ll level regularly.
Some of the missions require specific characters which is great because it incentivizes you to try them out. You might never use Kyril but once you do you might realize you like him. The same goes for anyone else. The case is relatively small with 11 characters (one being your main which cannot be taken out of your party) but this works to the game’s advantage. With the exception of the two leads (who are somewhat interchangeable in my opinion), each character feels unique and has a lot of fun nuances to their playstyle. As far as power curves go I would say that Terry and Bianca are likely lightyears ahead of the rest of the roster, but that’s not necessarily a negative or a gamebreaker.
The menus and NPC UI is probably where this game is at its weakest. You are forced to work through extremely slow dialogue with every menu taking about 2-3 seconds too long for my liking. I did find that the rest of the game was so good that I didn’t mind this. It’s borderline deal breaking but the game just squeaks by on its gameplay to make you not feel the full brunt of the sting.
The art design in the game is excellent. I’ve always been a fan of Akira Toriyama’s style. His characters have a real good volume to them and the colors tend to be vibrant. I don’t think there is a single creature in the game that isn’t painfully adorable. Sometimes literally as they whittle away at your health. The music is alright, it’s a bit short and you’ll probably end up turning it down to almost silent after not too long.
Similarly the voice acting in game is repetitive and will probably see itself muted after your 90th rain of pain cast. The actual sound effects themselves are fine with the exception of footsteps which is absolutely terrible. Far too loud and doesn’t come close to sounding like footsteps. Again, the game is so good that I’m able to overlook these things and still have fun. I’ll likely be playing this a bit more after this review.
One of the mechanics in the game is called Monster Medals. Basically as you defeat monsters they’ll drop a coin that allows you to summon them on your side for the length of either the level you are in or their health bar being depleted, whichever comes first. This creates an interesting mechanic wherein you place big monsters in choke points to give you enough time to adventure out and destroy the enemy’s spawn points.
Combining that mechanic with the waypoint system provides for a pretty dynamic gameplay, the mastering of which can be the difference between a fun time and a terribly complicated slog.
If you do ever find yourself playing this game I don’t recommend selling anything to 0. A few achievements require you to have 1 of everything for weapons, armor, and accessories. It’s best to just sell down to 1 and keep the last one. As for armor orbs, just buy 4 of the best one and share them between your characters as you switch them in and out. At least until you run out of other things to buy (which will eventually happen).
Dragon Quest Heroes (which I feel like I might have called Monster Hunter at some point in this review) is well worth your money and time. Or at least, it was well worth mine. This genre is not for everyone but if you want to enjoy a light hearted story about heroes against darkness you’ll find it in spades here. Plus the interplay between the characters (and their very pronounced accents) will likely elicit some laughs here and there. I know I’ll never get bored of broken English. If anything is better when it is broken, English would be that thing.