Also available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, and Windows
Dragon Quest Heroes was a bit of an impulse buy for me. It was my birthday, and I had a 20% off Gamestop coupon in my inbox, and there was a nice pre-owned copy, so I was like what the hell, why not. Then it sat on my shelf for a solid month, untoched. I fully planned on playing it at some point, but that's also how my backlog grew to approach 900 games, so....yeah. But I got to talking to a very good friend of mine about games, and she mentioned how much she loves the Dragon Quest series, so that got me thinking about it more. I needed a bit of a pallet cleanser after I finished Ys on the Master System before I dive into my Wii Virtual Console release of Ys on the TurboGrafx-CD, so I figure I'd throw in some hack and slash goodness. And oh, what goodness it was.
So Dragon Quest Heroes might as well have been called Dragon Quest Warriors because it's a straight up Muso game (by which I mean the Dynasty Warriors style of gameplay). You control a team of up to four characters (you end up getting about a dozen but rotate out the ones you use) with your main character being either the male or female royal guard captain. Both of them feature prominently in story, and the only difference in your choice is who is slightly more at the center of the action. You get to name them both, you can control whomever you want in battle, etc. So I picked the chick (not knowing this) and named her Asparagus♥, and her companion was Popoxilla♪. Shout out to my Racketboy homies there.
The game consists of going on a quest to discover why the hitherto friendly monsters have suddenly started butchering and devouring the townsfolk of your kingdom and massacring thousands of monsters in the process. These monster range in strength from tiny little Slimes that I'm not entirely sure can even actually attack you all the way up to dragons that use your sword as a toothpick after it finishes eating you. To master this game, you need more than just the attack button (although make sure your controller's Square button is in good shape); you'll need to learn all of the controls to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge your way to victory. Seriously though, I spent as much time rolling out of the way of enemy attacks as I did actually hitting things with my sword.
The basic story of the game, beyond the mysterious change in the monsters' behavior, is that a mysterious person is trying to awaken an ancient dark god to plunge the world into darkness and other generic JRPG antagonist things. You are joined on your quest by people abruptly transported from other dimensions (meaning characters from past Dragon Quest games) who agree to aid in your noble quest. If you've played Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U or 3DS, then imagine that but with Dragon Quest instead of Legend of Zelda, and that's basically this game. There's as little bit of level diversity, but not a lot. Your missions will consist mostly of one of four types - murder everything, protect the thing, escort the thing, or kill the boss before it horribly dismembers you. The nice thing is that if you fail a mission, it makes you start back from the beginning, but you get to keep any experience and/or spoils you might have gained up until your disgraceful defeat.
Visually, the game is great. Nothing super amazing - it's no Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare with stunning 4K graphics - but it looks very good. The sound design is nice; the voice acting is well done, and the music is good and very fitting for Dragon Quest. There wasn't any noticeable slowdown during even hectic battles. My only complaint in terms of design, really, is that the camera would sometimes shoot behind a wall and completely obscure your view of the battle if you happened to be fighting a monster near a wall. It only happened to me a couple of times, but it did get rather irksome, so I figured it was worth mentioning.
Dragon Quest Heroes doesn't break any records. It's not a masterpiece of game design, it doesn't redefine a genre, and it doesn't breathe new life into a series. It is quite good, though. A game doesn't have to be a game changer, so to speak, to be a good game. As far as Muso games go, this is one that held my attention much better than most. The only Muso game I can remember being more sucked into was Hyrule Warriors, and that was probably because of my passionate love of Legend of Zelda. There's enough enemy diversity, enough side quests, enough characterization, and enough different environments here to keep things from getting stale, and that's something that not a lot of Muso games can say. All in all, I recommend Dragon Quest Heroes, especially if you're a fan of the Dragon Quest franchise or the Muso hack and slash subgenre.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.