Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen & the Tower of Mirrors (Wii) Preview

By Adam Riley 04.01.2007 10

Over in Japan the Dragon Quest series is the largest selling RPG series behind Pok

There have been eight Dragon Quest games in the main series so far, six on Nintendo formats and the latest three spanning the PSone and PlayStation 2. Each one has been led by the master behind the franchise, Yuji Horii. The man himself has so far managed to avoid touching any of the plentiful supply of spin-offs that have poured forth from Enix (and now Square Enix). However, this time round, for Dragon Quest Swords, he is firmly on-board and ready to bring a whole new experience to Nintendo's new generation Wii console. But exactly what are we to expect from the game

Screenshot for Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen & the Tower of Mirrors on Wii

There is a TV-based infra-red game that was released by Square Enix a few years back by the name of Kenshin Dragon Quest: Yomigaerishi Densetsu no Ken. It was a plug-and-play device that allowed gamers to swing the plastic sword it was bundled with around and the movement of the infra-red beam was picked up and mimicked in all its on-screen glory. Watching old You Tube videos of the game in action, it certainly looks very much like an early Wii prototype, so it is certainly no surprise that Dragon Quest Swords looks to be a spiritual successor to Kenshin DQ. The main difference is, of course, that Hori-san was not involved with the TV game at all...oh, and it looks to have come on in leaps and bounds in terms of graphics!

Official lines have stated that DQS is set to be a 'relaxing RPG' that only supports one player, but after seeing the Wii game in motion, and some of the gestures required to pull off different moves, it looks anything but relaxing. But perhaps the overall story, gameplay and even soundtrack will help add to make a relaxed atmosphere all round. Incidentally, the composers listed for the game are Kouchi Sugiyama, who is the veteran musician of the Dragon Quest world, and Manami Matsumae, who mainly worked on compositions for arcade and action games developed by Capcom and Sunsoft.

Screenshot for Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen & the Tower of Mirrors on Wii

Rather than rush the completion of the game to squeeze it out in time for the Japanese Wii launch in early December, Square Enix sagely delayed it until Spring 2007 to firstly miss the launch stampede, and secondly spruce the whole thing up a little more. And from people's hands-on impressions late last year, it seems to have paid off. The game itself is a self-contained, on-rails adventure. The main character cannot deviate from the path set ahead, other than to head backwards from whence you came, alternating directions by use of the 'A' and 'B' buttons on the Wii controller (which, by the way, was the control option in the demo version shown, although whether the nunchuk has now been implemented is unknown at this time). Thankfully there is a little more interaction to the game than that, as you can search for hidden items as you move around, simply by pointing the Wii controller at surrounding foliage and giving it a quick flick with your wrist, plus there are plenty of characters to talk to along the way.

Once you have travelled so far in one direction and end up reaching a diverting route, a killer7-like choice appears on-screen, leaving you to choose which way you wish to go in next. Just point and click the desired path and away you go once more. As you trundle along, as expected in an RPG you are faced with numerous enemy battle encounters (thankfully not of the random variety). The various creatures jump out from all sides and the screen turns into 'battle-mode' and as they begin to take pot-shots at you it is your opportunity to literally go head-to-head with them as you must physically swing the Wii controller to act like your in-game sword. Swinging from side-to-side results in horizontal slashes, vertical movements are mimicked by the appropriate actions and even thrusting the Wii controller forward does the same with the character's sword. It certainly does take a short while to get used to, but it quickly becomes more natural in its feel than Zelda's sword fighting.

Screenshot for Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen & the Tower of Mirrors on Wii

And it really does help that this game is damn gorgeous as well. Square Enix has, as usual, created a sumptuous affair, this time on its first time out on Wii. But anyway, other attack moves include spells that can be launched at enemies by holding down the B button, as well as being able to defend yourself suitably by pressing A. Spells are extremely handy since your sword can only reach so far, whilst defending is actually great fun, as you must actively move around the see-through shield that appears in order to block attacks and gain the upper hand in different situations. And, of course, you are aided all the while by a pointer on the screen that indicates just where you are aiming, which will be very useful in preventing 'blind swinging'.

The demo version that was on show had two levels, one in an open field area and the other in an enclosed, dark cave. At the end of each there were bosses to despatch using different techniques, and once a stage was fully completed a grade was handed out to show how well you did (perhaps this will be linked with levelling up?). Whilst in battle mode, you can access a special attack move, but this can only be done once you have filled up the on-screen gauge (repeat hits help fill it quickly). Pressing '1' then brought up another meter, which you needed to fill up by swiftly rotating the Wii controller above your head like a lasso and then stopping at the right time to unleash one of the special moves (in this case a powerful swipe of the sword). Thankfully from just the small demo shown there seems to be variety in the way you must despatch bosses, blocking then attacking, mixing magic with sword attacks and working out different combination moves. With a menu screen also already being in place (via the minus button) that gives access to items and statistics, it bodes well for a more developed game appearing later this year.

Screenshot for Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen & the Tower of Mirrors on Wii

Final Thoughts

Considering the plug-and-play Kenshin Dragon Quest managed to sell over half a million copies in Japan without as much hype, it is would not be far-fetched to assume this can eventually reach the million mark with ease on Wii, especially if the rumours of a special bundle turn out to be true. And from what we have seen so far, this is definitely shaping up to be a 'one to watch' for the near future...

Developer

Genius Sonority

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Nice one Adam, I fell in love with this the moment I laid eyes on it, totally gorgeous and looked to be good fun too.

Then I started to get a tad worried that the gameplay was going to be far too simple and would be come dull and repetitive rather quickly.

Then I read your preview and I am all interested again!

Though it may be too early to tell just how deep the game will be once it's released it does sound like it should shape up well even if it is a little simple, I just really want to get my hands on it!

I'll definitely be on the look out for new details. :D


Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

It's looking extremely tasty at the moment. Okay, maybe there are still doubts about its depth, but I can't help but feel with Eighting, Genius Sonority AND Yuji Horii on-board...surely it can't go wrong? :Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

"allowed gamers to swing the plastic sword it was bundled with around and the movement of the infra-red beam was picked up"
This can be misunderstood as the Kenshin Dragon Quest emitting the beam. It's actually just reflecting it -- the sword uses no batteries.

Also, in my opinion the graphics on Kenshin Dragon Quest were way cooler than this. And I don't just mean new technologies, but design and apparent usability. This game looks way more mediocre in this way than Kenshin Dragon Quest.

it's spelled "dispatch" :Smilie
is leveling really spelled levelling? well I'm not sure :P

anyways, interesting read. I'm looking forward to try this game a bit. I'm looking forward to the DS golden game Dragon Quest IX much more tho :Smilie

thanks for the preview and I certainly got more interested in the game by your preview.

It's spelled "dispatch"

While I personally would agree and spell it that way, that's not necessarily the truth. You can spell the word as either 'dispatch' OR 'despatch' and be correct. Everybody has their preference. Same with levelling I believe, though it could be that different spellings are used for different contexts in the world of business.

Anyway. Nice work Adam, I really like the looks of this one. Looks like it could be simplistic, but I think it'll be a blast.

For reference, both 'despatch' and 'dispatch' have exactly the same dictionary meanings. Perhaps one is an Americanism, who knows, but either is normally used frequently in British writing. As for 'levelling', that is spelt correctly - just like jewellery. In British English it is double 'l'.

karawapo, fair point - I can see how people might misunderstand that. Thanks for clearing it up for readers.

After watching the video of Kenshin here: http://www.cubed3.com/news/6229/ I'm REALLY glad the style has been updated, as Kenshin (whilst fun in appearance) looked dated even back then (IMO).

After watching the new trailer I'm even more hyped for this game!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

This game looks great! Its a shame it probably won't be out in Europe for a while but hey, when it does, it should be good :-D

(Hopefully I won't have to flail my arms around too much...I've already sprained my wrist in Super Monkey Ball

I have no doubt that since Rocket Slime is coming here we'll get this as well...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

This game looks simply amazing. I can't wait!

MSN: steffenisene@hotmail.com
Xbox Live Gamertag: Steve Vice
Nintendo Wii Friend Code: 0662 4893 5734 8819

Same here. Hopefully the translation process won't take too long and we'll get this in Autumn 2007.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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