Here are the 10 reasons why you should not miss playing Dragon Quest XI :
1. The Thrill:
That's right. The fact that these games are entertaining is my favorite aspect of them. I rarely get stressed out while playing a Dragon Quest game (with the exception of DQ2 and that battle with Malroth, which I'll never forget).
These games are usually played in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed and I'm winding down for the day. Dragon Quest has been a fantastic way to unwind after a long day, and it's far less expensive than therapy or alcoholism. Many of these games I've played for an hour or two (or five) before bed on my phone or Nintendo 2DS.
It's not that they're not exciting; they certainly are. It's just that there's something soothing about these games. Maybe it's the familiarity and humor, or maybe it's the laid-back atmosphere they all seem to have. Even as the world ends, Dragon Quest retains its fun sense of adventure and upbeat spirit.
2. The Characters:
I love finding interesting characters in video games. Vivi from Final Fantasy IX, Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us, and Roland from Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom is all characters I admire. They appeared sincere to me. They felt like old acquaintances. I was really worried about what happened to them. Characters in Dragon Quest are memorable.
My favorite is undoubtedly Sylvando from Dragon Quest XI, but I've enjoyed almost every playable character in these games (though I still despise Maribel's personality in DQ7, despite her excellent Sage and Druid abilities). Yes, the early entries were lacking in characters, but those that do exist are mostly amusing and thoroughly enjoyable. If I ever make a list of my favorite DQ characters, it'll be difficult to rank them. Sylvando is ranked first.
3. The Oddness:
Dragon Quest is odd. I mean that in the best possible way. I'm a sucker for the unusual. Calling something or someone strange is the highest compliment I can pay. My wife is weird (she once dressed up as a goblin for an entire day in college because I thought it was hilarious), and my best friend is weird (he is, after all, a grown man who paid a lot of money to have an un-ironically rainbow unicorn cake for his 36th birthday), and my favorite game series is Dragon Quest because it's (drumroll) weird. When you read the sections about enemies, towns, and people, you can tell it's strange.
4. The Casinos:
Casinos and gambling mini-games are usually something I despise. The Gold Saucer is one of the few things I dislike about Final Fantasy VII. Ni No Kuni: Casino of the White Witch's Wrath? It isn't required. What about Legend of Lagana's slot machines? Nope. This one is a no-go. One of the few exceptions is playing Tetra Master in Final Fantasy IX. My favorite is Tetra Master!
A casino can be found in almost every Dragon Quest game. In some games, there are multiple casinos. For some reason, I don't mind them in this series. I'm not entirely sure why. But I can tell you that playing roulette with my wife in Dragon Quest XI is one of the most enjoyable video game experiences I've had in a long time. We danced around the living room like it was real money when we won the jackpot.
Perhaps I don't mind gambling halls and casinos in Dragon Quest because (as far as I know) the games never require you to play there in order to advance the story. Side quests do, and you may want to try your luck in a casino if you want some nice gear, but it isn't necessary. It's not like in Final Fantasy VI, where you have to spend an hour or more running around the Gold Saucer's attractions to advance the plot. You could spend hours playing some of these games and never find a casino unless you go down the right well.
For whatever reason, I've enjoyed the majority of the casinos in Dragon Quest games. And like I said, playing roulette in DQ11 was definitely a highlight.
5. The History:
I notice you nodding off at the word history. Don’t! Dragon Quest has done more for the JRPG genre than any other. Dragon Quest most likely invented your favorite combat system, storyline, or RPG gameplay mechanic. The job systems in Dragon Quest have been copied numerous times by other franchises such as Final Fantasy and Shin Megami Tensei because they are so good. Dragon Quest V released years before Pokemon, allowed you to recruit monsters. I'm not trying to start a nerdy franchise war. I'm just trying to emphasize how innovative and significant Dragon Quest is to the gaming industry as a whole.
6. The Art:
Seriously, I enjoy browsing art books for my favorite movies and video games, and this one may be my favorite. The art style of Dragon Quest is distinct and beautiful. Akira Toriyama has designed the characters and defined the art style since the first Dragon Quest in 1986.
Because I adore the art in this series, I'm disappointed by the lack of art books. There is currently only one available in English, with the rest in Japanese (but still look beautiful). I'm about halfway through Dragon Quest Illustrations right now, and I'm really enjoying it. I even save strategy guides in order to collect extra artwork snippets. If I’m not playing a Dragon Quest game, there’s a good chance I’m looking at some Dragon Quest art. Is that insane? Maybe.
7. The Mini-Medals:
It may appear absurd that one of my favorite aspects of the series is collecting small coins known as mini-medals, but it is completely true. I enjoy discovering them! I search every bookcase, every well, every pot, and every treasure chest in search of them. In previous entries, I kept tapping the "A" button in an attempt to find random ones scattered on the ground. The mini-medals can be traded to a collector for (usually) difficult-to-find items. However, I have only very rarely needed these items. I only do it for the joy of collecting these tiny coins. I missed collecting mini-medals in DQ1 and 2, so when they have added to the iOS version of DQ3, I was overjoyed.
8. The Individuals:
People in Dragon Quest are even stranger than monsters. Almost every NPC you encounter has a unique personality, strange backstory, or random eccentricity. For example, in Dragon Quest VII, you may come across a man who is simply peeing in a corner. Why? That is why there isn't one. In Dragon Quest III, you may encounter a powerful father willing to perform (the still mysterious and explicit art of) puff-puff on your hero. 'Cor Blimey, certainly.
9. The Towns:
Towns in Dragon Quest are always interesting. The fact that each town has its own distinct storyline, characters, and the vibe is one of the series' highlights. Perhaps the Demon King has taken control of the village, or perhaps everyone has turned to stone, or perhaps there is a mysterious love triangle that only our heroes can solve. The towns feel distinct and intriguing even at the start of the series.
One of the series' mainstays is the ability to visit towns with their own problems and cultures. Many cities and towns have distinct dialects or accents. Dragon Quest VII does it so frequently that it becomes overly complicated. The most recent entry, Dragon Quest XI, nails it. Each town feels massive and distinct, with its own culture ranging from art to cuisine to architecture.
10. The Creatures:
The antagonists in Dragon Quest are well-known. Its iconic Blue Slime serves as the series mascot. It's as synonymous with Dragon Quest as chocobos and Pikachu are with Final Fantasy and Pokemon, respectively. The other Dragon Quest foes are just as memorable. Sand golems, drackies, and metal slimes are all mentioned in Dragon Quest.
Over the course of the series thirty-year run, the antagonists haven't changed much. Why? Because they're memorable and enjoyable. Many of them appear strange, and the majority of their names are amusing puns. If you don't snicker at least once while reading the name of an enemy in Dragon Quest, you're a robot—possibly even a cyborg—or you're a sand golem.