Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Square Enix
Omega Force
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
October 13, 2015

If you’re short on time but you still require an explanation for the score, here’s a tidy little summation: The game in question is Dynasty Warriors with an attractive Dragon Quest skin. It’s an unsatisfactory and flawed blend of strangely linear exploration and fast-paced combat, with a mediocre story and merely average pacing. The developer is Omega Force, known for their work with Warriors but not known for role-playing games, which is why Dragon Quest Heroes is little more than an action game with a fair amount of depth. That being said, its attractiveness and generally accessible – and even entertaining – gameplay might be enough to keep you playing for a while.

The aforementioned skin is indeed appealing, all the more so if you’re a confirmed Dragon Quest fan. Of course, if you are an ardent follower of the legendary IP, you’ll likely be none too pleased with the gameplay but I’ll get to that in a minute. From a graphical standpoint, this is undeniably DQ. It has a distinct charm and cuteness that you don’t often see in large-scale productions these days, and that alone makes the game a little more interesting. It also helps that we see so many familiar faces from the past, which considerably increases the nostalgia factor. The only downside is that it’s not exactly polished or especially impressive; it’s really a visual display that might’ve been possible on PS3. This may or may not matter to you, however.

The sound is a little better, thanks to some surprisingly decent voice performances and those quaint (can’t think of a more fitting adjective) battle effects that complement the cutesy graphics well. The soundtrack is okay even if it isn’t especially inspired and when facing down hordes of oncoming enemies, the effects take center-stage, anyway. I think what most fans will want to know is, “does it sound like Dragon Quest ?” Yes, the audio is just about right, provided your expectations aren’t particularly high. For instance, while several of the primary characters have good actors, there are some lesser characters that tend to grate. This is common with just about any JRPG experience, though, so I can hardly say the target audience will be disappointed.

Before anyone even bothers with the ridiculous assumption that I – or any traditional JRPG fan – thinks every single modern JRPG should be turn-based, let me clarify: I don’t care if you wish to update or try a new mechanic. Even the most established franchises have to innovate if they wish to stay relevant in a wildly competitive marketplace, which has indeed shifted its focus to the West. I’m not “bashing” Dragon Quest Heroes because it doesn’t use the old-fashioned turn-based system; I’m criticizing it because the real-time system it uses simply isn’t very good. Nothing about the combat is polished or deep enough to warrant a lot of praise and as fighting is the focal point, it’s hard to recommend a game with such obvious drawbacks. This isn’t about being “stuck in the past” but simply evaluating a modern product that doesn’t excel.