Kingdom Hearts III wasn’t the only game I had on my must-play list at Square Enix’s E3 booth. There was one more for me, and that was Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. With the game set to release on September 4th for PlayStation 4 and PC, it won’t be very long before I spend endless hours playing, but even still I wanted to enjoy the game as much as I could.

The history of Dragon Quest, the art style, and story really drew me into the series, with my first entry in the series being Dragon Quest VII on the PlayStation. Since then, I’ve gone back to play every game I possibly could and have never been disappointed. DQ 11 is no different.

I enjoyed every moment of the demo. Sure it was short (about 15 mins), but I made sure I could enjoy as much of the game as I could, so I felt pretty happy with what I was able to do. The E3 demo had two different sections of the game to choose from: the first was early into the game and the second was a bit deeper. I decided to go with the latter as it gave me a chance to experiment with a full party which included Erik (Fighter), Veronica (Magician) and Serena (Cleric) and I can say that I was absolutely impressed with what I was able to play.

My team was around level 11 at the time as I found myself in a desert, I decided to explore a bit of the desert before heading into a town where I was able to pick up a few quests and then make my way over to the stables to engage in a mini-game where you race horses. The controls for the mini-game were pretty simple: you are able to control the speed of your horse as you collect orbs that will help fill your boost gauge. I only tried this once so I could go back out to the map to get in a few battles.

While on horseback, you are able to plow through enemies, which admittedly is a lot of fun as you watch them being tossed across the screen. After a minute or two of this I initiated a few battles.

In battle you are able to give direct commands to each team member or let the AI choose. I decided to try both out and at least for the demo, the AI made choices that I would. Whether it would be healing, buffing, or casting a spell to quickly wipe out an enemy group. Other than that, it’s your basic Dragon Quest menu-based system, which those familiar with the series will quickly feel at home with instantly.

It’s amazing how after 32 years, this series has evolved so much while staying true to its roots. Dragon Quest is one of those franchises where at playing the eleventh entry of the game feels like you are still playing the first game or any other one. It still feels just as exciting and fun with so much to explore and find. Visually, it is absolutely stunning. Character designs from Akira Toriyama are just top notch and enemies are detailed and bright. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the series, especially running on a PlayStation 4.

With the game coming out in September, my 15 minutes playing the demo has gotten me more excited to play the moment it releases. It’s high on my list of what I need to play this year but I really wish that it didn’t take over a year to localize this game, as it released in July of last year in Japan.

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