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E3 2015 Hands-On: Dragon Quest Heroes


Jonathan Higgins

I have little experience with “Musou” games outside of Hyrule Warriors, which I found ultimately satisfying in the end. I do, however, have a metric ton of Dragon Quest experience, having beaten most of the numbered games in the series, played the ones I didn“t finish a great deal, and even dabbled in some of the side games. Instead of lamenting that a Dragon Quest VIII 3DS localization hasn“t happened yet, I“ll tell you a little bit about the Dragon Quest experience we are getting on PlayStation 4 later this year... which happens to be a Musou game at its core.

 

I had a chance to play through both experiences offered in the demo. One put my party in a field where the goal was to eradicate many monsters (one of whom was particularly stronger than the others). And the other was to topple a giant boss monster. Before going into each type of gameplay and what made them alike and different, let“s first discuss how the game operates.

 

Have you played through Hyrule Warriors or any other Musou game? If you have, then you know battling is a matter of mastering combos and using the right attacks at the right time. There are plenty of different variations to attacking and there are many types of characters in your party — from brawlers that focus on close combat, to a mage that can use long and short range spells. You can freely switch between your entire party with just the single press of a button, so you have access to all of your team to fight through any combat situation.

 

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The field quest felt more like a typical Musou game, where there are handfuls of enemies to defeat all at once, none of whom required any critical thinking in combat. Smash everything you see, and do so handily. Until there“s something a little stronger that shows up, that leads the squad and makes you think outside the box for just a moment. Still, the “defeat all enemies” portion of the demo had me thinking everything was going to be easy street, then I pictured myself telling you all "It“s Hyrule Warriors, but Dragon Quest." Moving on…

 

When I got to the boss, it was a different matter entirely. Rather than relying on the use of a specific weapon, toppling the giant golem terrorizing the town was a matter of using the town to your advantage; not prioritizing using one unit over another. Want to topple the beast? Find a way to jump onto the actual roofs of buildings and approach it from above with any fighter you choose — whether you zap its eye with a spell, or lunge at it with your blade or fist. Having a little trouble? Build your tension, and let each character reach an actual breaking point where they can then unleash a devastating blow.

 

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So, at the end of the day, I suppose it is a Dragon Quest variant of Hyrule Warriors. But the charm of those games is definitely loud and clear in Dragon Quest Heroes. And how the boss worked makes me think this game could offer some unique moments that make it memorable versus just another Musou game.

 

It releases on October 13th, 2015 for PlayStation 4. You can check out the Square Enix store site which has details on Limited Editions and more, here.

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