We’re a few days late to the exciting news that is the imminent release of a western port for Dragon Quest XI (2017). Yes, count them, eleven. That’s 11, if you’re wondering.
Dragon Quest’s journey to the west will not be a simple copy paste, however; no, siree. The port, announced to arrive on the fourth of September, will in itself also be an updated version of the original that was released in July of 2017. These updates include, but are not limited to, English voice acting, a hard mode called “Draconian Quest,” overhauled UI and menus, as well as a dash function for your horse that allows you to barrel through enemies on the overworld, as you can see on the video embedded below. Yes, riding horses in Dragon Quest. It only took them 40 years, but they finally made it. I’ll refrain from commenting on any lacking horsepower and instead rejoice their final arrival.
More exciting than the simple westernization of the game is the fact that it will also release on PC and Steam. This of course makes Dragon Quest XI the first ever Dragon Quest game to release for the PC. All in all, that makes the news of this release exciting on three different levels. It’s true that Japanese games, and even JRPGs, are no stranger to the PC market, with games like Ni no Kuni II (2018) recently releasing on PC and big name franchises like Final Fantasy having been around for a while. But having yet another big IP from Japan make its way over to PC is a welcome sight nonetheless. Soon even Nintendo may follow suit and surrender its autonomy to the PC Master Race, though I’m not keeping my hopes up.
Online, some fans have already voiced their Master Race concerns after seeing the gameplay footage that was released surrounding the announcement of the westernized version. The two most common complaints seem to be the soundtrack and the lack of any news regarding a 3DS port. The soundtrack in the gameplay footage appears to be of midi quality, which some people appear to find grating. Those same people wished the port would feature an orchestrated soundtrack instead, similar to the westernized Dragon Quest VIII (2005) on PS2.
Concerns about a lack of a 3DS port arise from the fact that the original game plays a bit differently on 3DS than it does on PS4. Apparently, the 3DS version featured 3D graphics on the top screen and 2D, 16-bit graphics on the bottom screen. More interestingly, the game ran with this theme of having two different graphical styles by asking players to choose between one over the other style before entering combat. Upon leaving the initial level of the game, players were prompted to settle for one style over the other for the remainder of the game. The PS4 version, in contrast, did not offer this variety in playstyle, which may account for the interesting difference in sales figures where the 3DS version outsold the PS4 version on day one by 180,000 copies. In light of this added feature and the not-insignificant difference in sales between the two versions, it’s perplexing to hear that no western 3DS port is on the table as of right now. Hopefully Sqenix will change their mind in future, sooner rather than later.
And don’t (let’s) forget the be all end all of excitement, the pre-order bonuses you get from pre-ordering the game on PS4. It’s true that anyone interested will undoubtedly rush out the door to pre-order this game, and, well, Sqenix was well aware of that sad fact. Hence you get something called “The Legend Reborn” Theme which won’t add or subtract from the overall experience in the slightest. Otherwise, it’d just be part of the game, no? You also get some pointless in-game DLC items which I don’t care to list here in a desperate move to forget they exist. Step up right, folks, and spend your money long before you actually get the game! Spending money is the best part of gaming, after all.
But don’t let my snarkiness stand in the way of your excitement, and my own. By all accounts, the game is a hit in Japan, and seems to be an engaging and modern instalment of an age-old IP. The graphics look new and improved without taking away from the feeling of Dragon Quest and hopping on rooftops to steal other people’s belongings from long-forgotten chests looks like it may be a worthwhile addition. A pity it’ll be another six months (count them, 6) before we’ll get to play it and see if our past selves were right to be excited. A Switch version is pending, but not planned to be ready by the fourth of September.