just Dragon Quest XI

I played a little bit of DragonQuest 8 a few years ago and found it kind of lackluster. I wasn't crazy about the character designs and the plot wasn't really going anywhere even though I was a fair bit into the game. Should I just accept that Dragon Quest is not my thing or give this one a shot?

This morning, I started up the MMA tournament in Octagonia, and am loving it — though Sylvando is disappointingly absent from cut scenes, so far. Minor spoiler for anyone who wants to be surprised by nostalgia (but no real plot spoiler):

Spoiler:

The music for the Arena is taken from Dragon Quest IV, and the battle music is actually DQ IV’s arena battle music. Also, in the first fight, you have to fight a guy with a giant tongue who can create weak clones of himself — another throw-back to one of Alina’s fights in Endor.

kazooka wrote:

I played a little bit of DragonQuest 8 a few years ago and found it kind of lackluster. I wasn't crazy about the character designs and the plot wasn't really going anywhere even though I was a fair bit into the game. Should I just accept that Dragon Quest is not my thing or give this one a shot?

Generally speaking, I like the characters in this one more than 8. However, the character designer is the same and it really shows, so you might not change your mind there. The plot does move along fairly quickly for a JRPG too and the usual JRPG fatigue hasn't set in for me yet. Having said that, it's still a very similar game to 8, so if that didn't do it for you, this probably won't either.

halfwaywrong wrote:
kazooka wrote:

I played a little bit of DragonQuest 8 a few years ago and found it kind of lackluster. I wasn't crazy about the character designs and the plot wasn't really going anywhere even though I was a fair bit into the game. Should I just accept that Dragon Quest is not my thing or give this one a shot?

Generally speaking, I like the characters in this one more than 8. However, the character designer is the same and it really shows, so you might not change your mind there. The plot does move along fairly quickly for a JRPG too and the usual JRPG fatigue hasn't set in for me yet. Having said that, it's still a very similar game to 8, so if that didn't do it for you, this probably won't either.

I suspect that if you didn’t like 8, this one won’t be your thing. To me, all of the Dragon Quest games feel similar, to the point that DQ8 and DQ11 make me think that the designers created a very old-school game with modern sensibilities. DQ11’s plot is in front of you much earlier in this game, with the flashback to the hero’s “baby Moses” moment, and certainly the initial hours address the main tension. In contrast, in DQ8, it was hours and hours before you saw Trodain, and Dhoulmagus was kind of offstage for a long time.

But the rhythm of the game is similar. Almost every DQ game involves going to one area, exploring the town, learning about some problem, going through a dungeon (usually) and beating a boss to solve that problem, and moving on to the next town. It’s episodic, and the larger story unfolds across those episodes. The party is also trotted out across them, too: it’ll be a few hours before you get your first party member, then you’ll have to progress through another chunk of the game before the next two, then another town and (kind of) dungeon before the next one, etc.

I just finished up the MMA tournament and Sylvando Sterling Sylva was totally in his element here. I loved watching him get into character! I had a huge grin the entire time.

The fights were a bit tedious, however. Not much strategy, just grind to a suitable level and keep your health topped off. I was getting frustrated with the last fight, and grinding for more levels was taking forever so I hit up the forge and reworked all of my gear. I crafted 2 Gold Ring + 3s which was a chunky increase in defense and had no issues upon return. Nice!

Edit: It's 1 am and I can't stop thinking about how Veronia sounds like Basketball kid when she "peps up"

Edit edit: Don't google "Veronica pep up", massive spoiler in one of the top YouTube links. Furious that someone would put that in the title. Ugh.

A_Unicycle wrote:

I just finished up the MMA tournament and Sylvando Sterling Sylva was totally in his element here. I loved watching him get into character! I had a huge grin the entire time.

The fights were a bit tedious, however. Not much strategy, just grind to a suitable level and keep your health topped off. I was getting frustrated with the last fight, and grinding for more levels was taking forever so I hit up the forge and reworked all of my gear. I crafted 2 Gold Ring + 3s which was a chunky increase in defense and had no issues upon return. Nice!

Edit: It's 1 am and I can't stop thinking about how Veronia sounds like Basketball kid when she "peps up"

Edit edit: Don't google "Veronica pep up", massive spoiler in one of the top YouTube links. Furious that someone would put that in the title. Ugh.

I totally agree about Sterling Sylva. I had actually written my earlier post -- "where's Sylvando in these cut scenes?" -- right before the Sylva fight, and I loved it. I'm also with you about the fights themselves. Vince didn't seem particularly compelling to me, and the fights were more tedious than difficult. It would have been better if I had the choice to control my partner.

By the way, how many hours had you logged when you finished Octagonia? I think it was 32 for me. I am definitely not playing quickly, but have no sense of how slowly I'm playing.

I think I was around 40 hours when I completed Octagonia. But I am pretty sure I am on the very slow side of playtimes.

Oh wow, I was sitting on 27 hours when I left Octagonia! I felt like I was taking my time, grinding levels here and there and exploring for all the extra loot. Really surprised that I'm on the speedier side.

Still on hard mode, too.

Cool! 27-40 feels like a pretty wide band, but I can totally see people meandering through this game.

By the way, how about that Octagonia boss fight?

Spoiler:

I was convinced I was going to lose. The Kafuddle hit several party members early, and I had no way to remove it except for Rab. He brought down each party member until I was left with Serena and Rab, struggling to stay alive. They kept trying to use Zing, which wasn’t working consistently, and the Hero or Erik would get killed every time they popped back up. It was just a matter of time until Serena ran out of magic, out of consumables, and we were done.

Until one lucky round when the Hero was revived at just the right spot in the turn order, so he could be healed before the boss’ next turn. Then, we brought back Veronica. A well-timed pep-up for the twins gave me Arboria’s blessing, and the continued HP and MP recovery was huge. I managed to get Erik back, too, and started plowing ahead. At one point Serena went down, so my time was limited: rather than risk continued, failed Zings from Rab, I brought in Sylvando, laid on the Oomph, and pressed my advantage.

My wife, who was hanging out on the couch during this, was shocked that I made it through. One of the most dramatic boss fights I’ve had in a long time.

By the way, how about that Octagonia boss fight?
Spoiler:

WHAT A FIGHT! Sounds like a got through it a little bit easier than you, but not by much. Erik's poison attack combined with his rubblerouser did soooo much damage over time, it was great! I brought Sylvando in, and between him and Rab I was generally find with the negative status effects on my party. I ran out of mana pretty quickly with Selena though, and had to make a decision to just go all out on attack and hope I could beat down the spider before it killed my entire party.

I wasn't expecting the boss either. I assumed there'd always be a camp before a boss fight, so it took me by surprise when I was already low on resources. It was exhilarating just scraping by!

Seriously, the boss fights on hard mode are fantastic. Sometimes it takes a little bit of grinding, but they've each had me on the edge of my seat.

I feel like I really missed out going for no Draconian options on my first playthrough. I had intentions to play a second time with most/all of them enabled, but as the game keeps going on (over 100 hours played at this point) it's looking like I won't be taking that plunge soon. Most of my boss fights have been pretty easy except for the Killer of the Sands. Kabuff with Serena, Sap with Veronica, let Hero/Jade go to town on the weakened boss.

It certainly feels like it was balanced to be played this way, instead of just applying a flat % increase on all enemies. But at the same time, it's such a chill game, I sometimes lament the fact that I have to always have my wits about me!

It's a damn shame they don't let you switch between the difficulties. Are you playing on PC? I think I saw a few comments about a cheat system that allowed you to fiddle with things mid-game.

A_Unicycle wrote:

Oh wow, I was sitting on 27 hours when I left Octagonia! I felt like I was taking my time, grinding levels here and there and exploring for all the extra loot. Really surprised that I'm on the speedier side.

Still on hard mode, too.

You're not alone! I feel like I'm putting in a lot of time exploring and whatnot, but still have a playtime much lower than what others are reporting.

*twitch*

I'm going to go mad farming this greatsword...

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/b67oXzr.png)

Edit LOL OKAY. Not even 5 minutes later. Only took 3 hours of mindless spinnin'

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/OkIBEuV.png)

In metal slime mode, too! 200,000 credits. Yesss!

Those are just the normal slots, right? Not the Slime Quest ones?

I find the Slime Quest thing a little overwhelming to learn.

I have had the best results just doing the 10 token regular slots. At one point I had 30+ free spins with 10 silver spins remaining, which meant I had more than 40 silver spins. Went from like 30k to 200k or something. Luckily my computer and PS4 are right next to each other so I was able to catch up on some of my YouTube backlog while playing those slots out.

After about 17 hours I decided to restart and try some draconian measures. I went with NO FLEEING from battle, which doesn't seem like a big deal, and NO BUYING. My duo is back up to level 10, and while I do miss a couple of weapons that my first guys bought, I've only had to reload once (vs. the griffons). Now I'm wondering though, am I going to miss the benefit winning at the casino? I really liked that aspect of DQ8, and the idea of not being able to swap my winnings for prizes is kind of a bummer.

That’s a good question. I don’t know if cashing in your winnings at the casino counts as buying, but if it does, you should know that you’ll also miss out on one Fun-Size Forge recipe book, and I think you’ll also miss out on a quest for which you need those recipes.

Spoiler:

Specificaly, some creep wants you to dress Jade up as a bunny girl, and the recipe book for the bunny gear is one of the cheaper items in the casino. For what it’s worth, I also found the bunny ears and the fishnet stockings elsewhere, so I didn’t have to forge them. But I don’t know if the bunny suit itself is available without forging. The quest’s reward is a garter, so it’s no big loss if you don’t do it (unless you want to be a completionist).

LastSurprise wrote:
Spoiler:

Specificaly, some creep wants you to dress Jade up as a bunny girl...

Hey, who you calling "some creep"?

So, question for the group: am I still in Act I, or have I crossed over to Act II? Spoiler for my exact location within the story:

Spoiler:

I've beaten the Tentacular and have Lorelei's harp.

@LastSurprise

Spoiler:

act one. You will know when you get to act 2.

That's what I thought! I had heard "you'll know it when you see it." But then I was looking up something about how to get a particular piece of gear or recipe book, and in discussing that thing, the author suggested the opposite answer.

Update! I killed a big boss monster in the ocean!

The thing kicked my butt first time. Second time I had Sylvando using his AOE heal (hustle dance?) and Rab squirting healing juice over my party passively every turn. It really highlighted the importance of bringing the right team to do the job.

Hero smacked away with his casino greatsword, doing upwards of 200 damage per turn, while Veronica sapped and banged. She ate a few unlucky hits, and Rab ran out of mana so I had to bring in Selena for the final stretch. Mana overall became an issue, so I think I'll need to spread out the mana items between my entire team next time. But otherwise, hell yeah! What a fight! I always love big ocean monsters in JRPGs and this did not disappoint.

On another note, I'm getting a little annoyed with some tiny issues 35 hours in.

- The music is pretty good, especially with the orchestral overhaul mod (the midi was really grating on me...) but there's just not much of it. Maybe I'm spoiled by games like Persona, but it's the same battle theme, same overworld theme, same city theme every time. With how varied each town is, I'd love for them to have reinforced that with some different music.

- Jade is weirdly sexualised. It came out of nowhere. First, her hip drop attack, then her "charm" ability. Idk, I was showing off the game to my partner just as I recruited her and the change in her character from the cutscene to this was pretty jarring. Awkward. Then the quest to give her a bunny suit...Eep.

- Has anyone noticed some characters have really wonky animations with certain weapons? For example, Jade with spears seems to be animated at about 20FPS when she attacks. Some enemies look slow too. It really stands out when everything else is running 60+ FPS. It's bad enough that I considered changing Jade to a different weapon type!

- There's not enough Sylvando. Give me a whole game as Sylvando. I want that game.

This is a silly thing to get excited about, I know, but I found "Australians" in the game!

Not the nicest lot, but hearing their accent made me really happy. I'm so used to the normal American-style accents all of these games have. Hearing something that actually sounds like us actually feels odd at first.

Very nice

Yeah, I thought that was hilarious. Bad Australian tourists in a South-East Asian tourist town seems like a little too obscure a cultural reference for most people, but I thought it was brilliant.

As for the Jade thing, yeah I agree that it's weird that she's heavily sexualised in battle but not in character. It's like the developers were like "well, we've gotta give these charm moves to someone".

In other news, I'm up to fighting the final boss! Though I've read that the post-game is substantial enough to be considered an Act 3, I think. I'm going to a little grinding and forge some stuff that I haven't got yet, but it shouldn't be too long. It's funny to think that I've put so much time in the game, yet it's rarely felt like a drag. Not a lot of games do that for me, let alone JRPG's.

Final boss, nice! How many hours have you put in so far? My draconian reboot (no shopping, no fleeing) has been a much needed change of pace. I'm forced to rely heavily on crafting, which has a satisfying feel when I cobble together a +2 or +3 item for my merry band.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see the September 2018 release version has sold over 4 million copies across both platforms so far. This bodes well in light of the September comment, “We need Dragon Quest to sell in the West, even just a certain amount, if we want to keep making [localized versions].” - Dragon Quest XI producer Hokuto Okamoto.

It'd be nice to see it on Xbox someday, along with the DQ back catalog.

Just wanted to report that the 'no shopping' draconian restriction doesn't apply at the casino, if anybody was wondering.

Spoiler:

Bunny suits for everyone!

A_Unicycle wrote:

This is a silly thing to get excited about, I know, but I found "Australians" in the game!

Not the nicest lot, but hearing their accent made me really happy. I'm so used to the normal American-style accents all of these games have. Hearing something that actually sounds like us actually feels odd at first.

Very nice

I was a little surprised when I read this, as I haven't run into any Australians yet! But then I saw halfwaywrong's post and realized that it's just because I haven't tackled much of Phnom Nonh. I went to L'Academie first, and then on to the Eerie Eyrie, and only set foot in Phnom Nonh to get one of the sidequests.

Wasn't that ocean boss fun! Totally wrecked me the first time, and it was a tough fight even after I explored a little more, crafted some more gear, and came back. I also got a lot of mileage out of the Hustle Dance and Rab's ability.

You would have thought I'd learned my lesson at the top of the Eerie Eyrie, but no. The fight's kind of similar in structure to the ocean fight, but the "main" boss hits even harder. I had the Hero, Jade (to exploit some enemy weaknesses), Rab (to heal, and for Zing Stick), and Serena (to buff), but the damage outpaced my ability to heal, and I quickly lost Rab and Jade. I think my strategy would have worked if I started with Sylvando instead of Rab. Let this be a lesson: Sylvando should always be included!

That casino greatsword sounds absolutely sick. My hero is using a sword & shield combo, and has the best that I can get him without going to the casino, but is only averaging about 40 damage per normal hit.

By the way, I agree about Jade. Overall I like the depiction of the female characters in this game, and find that--for the most part--they don't rely on sexualizing the characters. And Jade has so much rich stuff in her backstory! Some of her abilities (hip drop, puff-puff) and and the bunny suit could have been skipped, IMHO.

Hero with greatsword is excellent! I was hesitant at first because I thought I needed the extra protection of shields being on tough monsters mode, but I just make sure all my other armour is +2-+3. As far as I'm aware, he's the only one who can equip greatswords, so it's worth it for the sake of variety...But yeah wow, the damage on this casino sword is through the roof. It's definitely saving me a lot of time grinding!

Also, just fought the boss in Phnom Nonh and...Oof, I don't think I'll be trying again any time soon. Giggled a lot at thy punny name, but that joy was shortlived. OUCH OUCH OUCH. I think I need another 5 levels bare minimum and a whole lot of specialised gear.