Dragon Quest XI Gameplay Preview: 9 Minutes of Turn-Based Battling, Exploration and Adventure

Dragon Quest XI Gameplay Preview: 9 Minutes of Turn-Based Battling, Exploration and Adventure

Richard Walker

The first chapter in the mainline Dragon Quest series in twelve years, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is kind of a big deal. Consequently, Square Enix is treating it as such, lavishing due care and attention on what is at heart an old-school RPG with turn-based combat and an emphasis on exploration.

Promising a typically sweeping RPG narrative, Dragon Quest XI sees a huge, ominous threat casting a shadow over the expansive open world, and it's squarely upon you, playing as the reincarnation of the infamous 'Luminary Hero' to gather a band of allies and (you guessed it) save the world.

DQ XI's story has been penned with newcomers and veteran fans alike, meaning it doesn't matter whether this is your first or eleventh Dragon Quest game. Dragon Quest XI also sees the return of Dragon Ball artist Akira Toriyama, whose distinctive art style pervades every part of the game, from the characters to the monsters you'll face while roaming the open fields on-foot or on horseback.

Well over 100 hours of story, side-quests and mini-games are promised for Dragon Quest XI too, with horse racing, a range of dungeons to explore, and simple fetch quests to engage in but a few examples. The game's turn-based combat has been 'finely tuned' too, so you can define the tactics for your party, plan attacks or spells, and adapt to changing monster behaviours.

There's a varied cast of characters too, with your hero joined by loyal comrade Erik, powerful mage Veronica, skilled healer Serena, and erm, travelling performer Sylvando, who's well good at juggling. There'll be more characters joining you on your quest too, while NPCs who go about their daily business to set schedules will also be on hand to help or dole out quests.

Verdant realms like Heliodor and its grassy fields will also give way to arid desert regions like Gallopolis, where you'll be tasked with helping the residing sultan and his son. It's here that you'll partake in a bit of horse racing and meet Sylvando at the circus for the first time. Like every other town or village in DQ XI, you can expect to find unique quests and other distractions too, or an inn at which to rest up a while.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is looking rather nice, and with a glut of features on the cards including a challenging Draconian Quest, a new first-person mode for taking snaps, speedier traversal in the open world, fluid character and camera controls, alongside a colossal adventure, DQ fans are going to be hard-pushed to complain. Will it coax in newcomers, though? That remains to be seen.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age launches for PlayStation 4 and PC on 4th September 2018.

  • Looks so damn good! Can't wait!
  • The first mainline game in 12 years? Not sure if serious. Now if you said "The first mainline game on Playstation in 12 years", fair do's... although that's only if you skip the PS4 release of Dragon Quest X from last year.
  • Never played this series before but I'm looking forward to this. Watched a guy play some of it on YouTube and it looks great. Love that it's turn-based combat too. September is looking stacked right now.
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