Once upon a time, Dynasty Warriors had just gone through a horrible break-up from lover, The Legend of Zelda. While trying to cope, drowning sorrows with whiskey, that was the day that the meeting with Dragon Quest occurred, leading to a love child that was aptly named Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below, nine months later.
Developed by Omega Force and published by Square-Enix, this game combines several elements from two widely beloved franchises. From the confessional mechanic of the Dragon Quest series in order to save your progress to the utter hack-N-slash buffet of Dynasty Warriors that welcomes you; it’s a beautiful marriage but not one without it’s flaws.
Upon starting up, you are provided the choice of choosing between the two main playable characters; Aurora and Luceus. From there, you are thrown straight into the action, with a tutorial being provided by your slime companion, Healix. Dragon Quest Heroes is filled with charm; words such as “go” or “time” are replaced by “goo” and “slime” in your slime buddies speech which was absolutely adorable.
The voice acting in this game was done by various actors with varying accents such as English and Irish, adding a sense of realism as the medieval theme it accompanied reminded me vaguely of King Arthur. The banter between characters is nicely done, and rarely did I find it being forced, out of place, or lacking in emotional delivery. As the kids would say, Omega Force has “nailed it” with regards to charm, however, it felt as though their focus on cosmetic aspects caused them to ignore mechanics.
I found this game to be unbalanced, with the best example being the character Jessica from Dragon Quest 8. She is one of the only characters with a spell that allows you to heal your entire party, which consumes magic points (MP). During combat, your MP automatically recovers, making her healing ability a very valuable asset and one that can be used often as you’ll rarely run out of the aforementioned magic points. Another huge issue going against Dragon Quest Heroes is the AI; it is horrible for the most part, but does have moments of brilliance, though rare. In my play-through, I suffered a game over screen three times, and this was due mostly to being over-run by enemies or my own stupidity and kamikaze tactics. However, the bosses do seem to have slightly better AI, and as thus, are harder to combat but with the only challenge being provided by these creatures, it causes the game to become a mindless hack and slash with rare consequence for the most part. Going hand-in-hand with the poor AI; as enemies are defeated and the number decreases, it becomes a tedious chore having to track them down, only to find them walking aimlessly into a tree. I’d make a harry potter reference, but I already have in my Onechanbara ZII review, check it out and please my shameless self-promotion.
The story in this isn’t bland in a sense, as it provides character development and hilarious moments. Luceus is presented as a tactically genius while Aurora is a kamikaze queen, and I know what you’re thinking, yes, I chose her in my play-through. However, the story is a very generic one in terms of following several JRPG quirks, such as, the Children of Light ala Final Fantasy. But while this game transforms into a mindless hack-N-slash, I found it extremely satisfying and Omega Force did a great job combining RPG elements such as exploration, skill-trees, and treasures scattered around the world with hack-N-slash action game-play. This is a personal preference, but I found it very welcoming to see when I equipped a new weapon, it would change visually in game-play as well; it’s these things that gave this game such charm, a part from the cheeky banter between characters.
In conclusion, Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below is a great game that should be in anyone’s library. However, it does seem as though Omega Force focused too much on cosmetic additions, causing several aspects of mechanics to be hindered. I didn’t find it hindered my play-through enormously as I still had fun, and this game will keep you busy, especially if you love collecting. Graphically though, the environments weren’t as fantastic as one would expect from next-gen hardware, seeming bland in some areas. My take away moment in this game was failing, only to be welcomed by the priestess with a distasteful look on her face. She would then proceed to say that losing was shameful; this is the cheekiness you can expect. If you’re a fan of stress relief and just having a good time, enjoying witty banter in accents that heightened the experience – at least for me – then what are you waiting for? Get out there and buy it!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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