Reviews: Dragon Quest Heroes
Today I finished the story for Dragon Quest Heroes and with that we move onto the next magical part of playing video games, reviewing them. As I mentioned in my early thoughts about the game (which I should link you to, but I’ll be honest, I’m ever so slightly lazy), it is very corny. The dialogue is full of puns and cliches that for some people might be a turn off. I’m a giant putz, corny games are right up my alley. I do enjoy a serious game from time to time, The Last of Us was an amazing experience. But I also think that a life full of seriousness is so easily wasted.
This game is exceptional in the putz department. Everything is so light hearted. Somehow you find yourself listening to the main villain talk about genocide and its campy. How does he manage that? Is it the suave (Spanish?) accent? Or perhaps his moustache that just screams villain. I adore everything about him, he looks to me like what you’d get if a video game writer just finished the harry potter novels. He is so close to a Slytherin character, all the way down to a serpent staff, that it’ll give you a grin. I liked all of the maps that this game provided. For those of you uninitiated, Dragon Quest Heroes is one of a growing line of games that takes the Dynasty Warriors formula and mixes it with another Intellectual Property. The basic mechanics of Dynasty Warriors is that you helm a small group of heroes in a battle against hundreds or thousands of enemies. You are given a small set of moves usually relegated to a couple of buttons, with an additional block, jump, and dodge button to round it all out.
It is simple to learn and sometimes difficult to master. But if it is something that sounds fun to you then you’ll find that most of the series is a delight. They are somewhat mindless but in the same way that watching a comedy routine might be. That isn’t to say they are without value, or that the content itself can’t necessarily stimulate your mind, but they provide you with an outlet for cooling off.
The story is pretty bare bones. You’ll be tasked with playing the heroes and defeating the villain to save the world. You’ll know what is coming at all times and roughly in what order it all is coming. I personally have no problem with this because it allowed me to soak in the atmosphere and the artwork. Both of which I felt were pretty solid. The music is, from what I understand (my memory doesn’t recall any of it), either remixed or downright copied from the older Dragon Quest titles. This game is for fans of the series that want to geek out on their favorite characters and fight against their favorite monsters.
Speaking as someone with only a rudimentary understanding of the series and an even weaker memory of it, I liked it quite a lot! You don’t need to be a fan of Dragon Quest to appreciate this game and I would hazard that it might be fun to not know anything about the series. You get surprised by all the whacky monster designs and the even whackier names. This game has given me so many new names for our Calico (who we often call “Moose”) that I think it deserves a few stars just for that.
All of the characters are a treat to play with. You’ve got four swordsmen that all play different to some degree, a spellcaster that can heal you with an amusing dance, a thief with a giant axe, a bowman that cleans house (so powerful), a sciency gal with a boomerang, a russian warrior princess that punches things into the atmosphere, and a spearmen who can instantly kill things (with the right equipment). Oh, and lest I forget my favorite, the King himself whose L2+O spell + Tension can nearly nuke any bad guy in the entire game (spam it until they die, or until your ultimate goes off at the end).
I think that’s everyone, it’s a respectable cast, much smaller than your average Dynasty Warriors game but this also means that they feel a little more dynamic. Each character feels different enough from the next that you’ll need to actually know how they work to play them. This was fun for me and meant that sometimes I’d swap characters and be absolutely terrible until “it clicked.” Turns out that wasn’t everyone, I’ve also forgotten the spellcaster that can fire rainbow bubbles and create vortexes. She’s awesome too.
I’d give you names but it seems largely irrelevant. You’ll play the game and be introduced to them and get to relish in their caricatures.
The game rewards you for your achievements both literally and otherwise. There is an in game currency you can gather by completing achievements and by killing monsters. These can be spent on some rare items and on recipes (as well as materials). They can be hard to come by in normal play but there are means to grind them very quickly. Around 99 every 20-30 minutes. Additionally you quickly unlock means to collect monsters in the game. They are one time use and go away at the end of a map but during it they can be invaluable.
Basically they act as defense towers for oncoming baddies. The bigger the monsters you collect the better. They can create legitimate choke points in areas and allow you to adventure out and close the spawn points that are endlessly generating monsters. It’s an awesome mechanic and I found myself using it every moment I could.
There is no main game level that really puts you outside of your comfort zone. The difficulty curve is nice and smooth. There are some post game fights that will chew you up until you get a bit higher in levels (I finished the game at level 40, your mileage will vary). The game caps out at level 99, and if you find yourself slowing down you can enter into the totally unexpected New Game+ mode. At least it was for me, I haven’t seen one of these in a while and I am pretty stoked about it. Doing so will add an additional 50 skill points to your characters and supposedly carries over all your stuff. I’ve read online that it doesn’t, so I’ll need to try it out and see.
It took me about 24 hours to fully complete the story with a bit of diversions into the side content. I expect another 5 to 10 hours to get a Platinum in the game. There appear to be 100 quests in total to finish. This game has enough content to be a nice experience without crushing your soul. I might also make a guide for getting massive amounts of monster coins sometime for those that worry it’ll take them forever to finish the achievements.
Heroes is a solid game that you likely won’t regret checking out. If you aren’t certain of this genre of games you might want to look into GameFly or something. But if you liked Hyrule Warriors I think you’ll find yourself having a very good time playing this.
A solid warriors experience in a world that is relentlessly fun and jolly. Hours of entertainment with mechanics that just about anyone can pick up. It won't demand much of your mind but it doesn't need to.