Friday, 4 December 2015

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and The Blight Below

Mash-ups are sure to annoy one side or another. Usually, something has to be sacrificed in order to fit together and honestly, when I heard Dragon Quest was getting a Dynasty Warriors style game, I thought the worst. The result though is nowhere near as bad as I had thought. In fact, I fell pretty hard for the mouthful: Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and The Blight Below

Developed by Omega Force and out now on PlayStation 4 Dragon Quest Heroes is a pleasant surprise. It brings some beloved characters from the 25 year-old series and transports them to a new world: Arba. The story sees the world have humans and monsters living in harmony. However, as with all games, an evil force comes to bring darkness to the land and turns the monsters on people again and you, as a chosen team of light, must fight off the attack on the world and rid it from the darkness that is now consuming it.

The gameplay in Dragon Quest Heroes is pretty standard for a musou game. You take on dozens of enemies at any one time, unleashing powerful combos while also completing objectives on the map. Dragon Quest Heroes has an extra feature though that changes things up a little. While you take down enemies, they’ll drop items but sometimes they’ll drop a coin. This coin can then be used to drop the monster that’s on the coin into the battlefield to fight for you. Wherever you drop them, that’s where they’ll hold their ground.

This becomes particularly useful when you must defend something which has multiple lanes. Honestly, this is when they battlefield cross hack n’ slash becomes a tower defence game but the gameplay is simple and fun enough that you never really mind that it can devolve into a tower defence game. The standard maps in these games are open and becomes a game of tug of war that sees which side can take out the enemy’s generals the fastest. In Dragon Quest Heroes, spawn points appear all over the map that are gated by a Mawkeeper. Killing this Mawkeeper will remove the portal spawn point and it then becomes a clean-up process in the area.

Visually, the game is quite a treat with excellent art design that stays true to the Dragon Quest series while also bringing it up to date. The characters, locations, and enemy designs look great and filled with personality. For fans of the series, this is an excellent change of genre that cares about the fans and the IP. It’s incredible to see some series favourites come back, and not only be voiced for the very first time but to even be in 3D. The mingling of all the heroes from different games in the series not only serves as great fan service but is sure to get those that haven’t always played Dragon Quest games back to the fray with them all together in Dragon Quest Heroes.

The story is surprisingly long and although it isn’t the strongest, it will definitely be enhanced by those that are fans of the series. You can expect a 30 hour story with plenty of cut-scenes that bring the story along but it’s nothing fascinating or amazing, it’s enough to serve the surprisingly fun gameplay. Levelling up is always fun and equipping new gear and seeing the stats go up never gets old.

It’s not often that spin-offs be as successful as Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and The Blight Below is. Each character in your group feels and attacks quite differently meaning should you get a bit bored of one, simply changing the character makes it feel quite a bit different. Don’t be surprised to see Dragon Quest Heroes become a side series to fit nicely between mainline Dragon Quest games, now if only the mainline games looked this good. Here’s hoping!

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and The Blight Below is a mouthful title with almost a mouthful score of 4/5.


Jason Redmond

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