Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition (PlayStation 4) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 20.01.2021 2

Review for Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4

In essence, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is a port to PC and other consoles from the Switch version of the title, which in turn was a port of the PC/PS4/Xbox One version. In bringing the polished and refined Switch version to other platforms, Square Enix is clearly aiming for parity among all versions of Dragon Quest XI that are floating around in the wild. The original version being removed from online stores in favour of this one makes it abundantly clear that this is ultimately the Dragon Quest XI that the developer wants immortalised.

Cubed3 gave Dragon Quest XI an 8/10 when it first released, whilst the later port to Switch got a 9/10 for making some welcome improvements. This was always a charming title whose simple and safe gameplay was nevertheless a delight to experience, making it feel like a classic JRPG with a modern skin. The Definitive Edition doubles down on this and includes the quality of life improvements and additional features that were introduced with the Switch version and is ultimately better for it, even if the Switch's diluted visual style has been ported along with everything else.

Players can now skip cutscenes, a feature that was most welcome when introduced on the Switch. Furthermore, dialogue boxes can now be played automatically and the menus have seen some improvements made to navigation and layout. The Fun-Size Forge allows the hero to craft weapons, armour and accessories on the fly - which helps adventuring feel a little more streamlined - and there are new battle speed options that essentially fast-forward fights without compromising the party's abilities or player's involvement. Speaking of the party, the chosen members now also follow the hero around in the overworld. This is purely an aesthetic addition but one that showcases how committed Square Enix was to improving upon a much-loved title in even the smallest ways. For those who found the original soundtrack grating, it can now be toggled from the classic "Symphonic" arrangement to a "Synthesised" one. Furthermore, the option to use the Dragon Quest VIII non-battle music adds further dynamism to the soundtrack.

Screenshot for Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4

Included also in this Definitive Edition is a handful of new bosses that were previously only present in the Japanese 3DS version of the game - which never made it to the West - as well as additional Draconian Quest options to customise the gameplay and difficulty should players choose to add extra layers of challenge. Perhaps the most exciting component included here is the option to experience the entirety of the story in either 3D or 2D, both of which look and feel distinct from each other even if the story remains unchanged. Thanks to this option, Dragon Quest purists are promised practically double the 100-hour runtime should they choose to experience the title in both formats.

Overall, this is the same beloved experience with more content and a few vital changes to streamline what is already there. While some critics have been vocal about the inferior Switch graphics that have inexplicably been ported back into the versions available on superior hardware courtesy of the Definitive Edition, the visual changes are marginal at worst and won't detract form the overall experience. Aside from some adjustments to lighting and character models that were initially implemented to get the title to run on the Switch, as well as the occasional muddy textures, there are no major downgrades.

However, what truly is disappointing is that there's no new content in this re-(re)-release; it's pretty much just the Switch version for other consoles. This would be easier to overlook if the Standard Edition wasn't removed from the PlayStation Store and other virtual storefronts to make way for this version. While this should be frowned upon, the unmatched joy that Dragon Quest XI offers can nevertheless not be faulted.

Screenshot for Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Dragon Quest XI remains one of the best entries in the series, and thanks to this Definitive Edition - which boasts all the new content originally included in the Switch port - it manages to feel more polished, more streamlined and more enjoyable. The fact that this is an incredible experience is only marginally diminished by some controversial graphics alterations and a less than savoury removal of previous versions from virtual storefronts in favour of this edition. Still, the content that is on offer here is superior to the original version of the game and more than justifies a re-entry into this endearing, fantastical tale.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

Comments

I find it weird they didn't reinstate the better graphical features for the bigger consoles. I have it on Switch, it's a killer RPG!

Sandy Wilson said:
I find it weird they didn't reinstate the better graphical features for the bigger consoles. I have it on Switch, it's a killer RPG!

Yes, I agree! Somewhat mind-boggling and a large factor in the final score's dip from the 9/10 Switch version. Doesn't make the experience any less charming though tbh!

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