I recently made a review on the 11th entry in the Dragon Quest franchise, and the majority weren’t particularly happy with my final score. I don’t plan on retracting any of my statements as what I wrote is exactly how I feel about the game.
There are a couple of things that I wish Dragon Quest XI did that would have made it so much better. Don’t get me wrong, it did have some things going for it. It’s just that majority of the time, it was as if the game catered mostly to returning veterans of the franchise. Although it’s definitely a great way to introduce gamers to JRPG’s, it only does so in the most basic way. Please remember that whatever is being written in this article is one person’s opinion. If you feel differently from my own, then you’re entitled to do so.
So here’s what I think that could have been done to make Dragon Quest XI a much more enjoyable experience.
Better Battle Mechanics
I understand that it has been following the same formula it has for years, but it would have been so great to spice things up a bit. When I saw the circled perimeter during the first battle sequence I encountered, I was honestly very excited. Strategizing where to position your characters and attacking enemies in certain weak points could have given battles much more meaning and depth.
But nope, it was just for the sake of making battles look good.
It’s a shame really that the battle mechanics feel so…bland as opposed to most modern JRPG’s. I know that the Pep Powers are new and they do serve a purpose during fights, but they don’t exactly add much when it comes to keeping things fresh and engaging—also doesn’t help that the circumstances required to even use these powers can vary greatly.
If the game did make use of the battle circle? Then I’m positive that engaging monsters would have been much more exciting.
Making it Open World
I understand that linear JRPG’s can still be great, assuming that it’s done right. What I hate about Dragon Quest XI is the fact that it tries to make you think that it doesn’t have linear gameplay by giving you expansive overworlds to travel. Seeing it will make you assume that “Oh! I can travel here and there without any restrictions. This is awesome!” when in fact, it’s not.
I feel as if the game could have benefitted much better if it actually allowed the player to travel to different areas wherever they please. Sure they might encounter monsters that are too tough, but that will put the player on edge and wary of the danger that one could potentially face.
It’s a shame really because just about every environment in the game is fantastic. Everything looks beautiful and it’s because these places are so large and scenic that it makes you want to run around and explore everywhere.
Giving the Main Character a Personality
It would make sense that the main character is an avatar of yourself, much like of that from the previous games. However, I also felt that it wasn’t properly executed unlike that from other games of similar genres.
I get it, the character is you and he’s meant to make you feel as if you’re the one on the adventure.
However, the problem is the fact that it didn’t exactly do that. Yes, the character expresses facial emotions every now and then and he helps people with their problems. It’s just that there isn’t really enough engagement that would have made players more connected with the main character. More choices to make and ones that would have a huge effect on the plot and the cast of characters could have possibly improved my playthrough.
I understand that it would be a very bold move to change the formula staples of a game as prominent as Dragon Quest. But if it’s something that could have been done to improve the player experience, then I believe it should be done.
So there you go, that’s my take on what could have been done to improve Dragon Quest XI. If any of you have any suggestions, then feel free to comment below.