Last year’s Hyrule Warriors showed that replacing the normal Dynasty Warriors characters with characters from the Zelda series could be a lot of fun. Sure, the formula was the same, but the location, items and characters changed enough to make it enjoyable to play.
Now, the same formula has been applied to Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below. While some parts of the game have been slightly modified, fans of the DW series will know exactly what to expect here, and fans of the Dragon Quest series may be slightly disappointed in what to expect.
One thing they won’t be disappointed with, though, is the artwork. Akira Toriyama still had a hand in the designs here, with characters and enemies popping off the screen and looking quite impressive. Sure, it’s the same slimes and skeletons and golems seen throughout the years, but they all have small details, such as the dancing around or skeletons rolling their heads back and forth.
The story itself is standing RPG fare. An evil has turned all monsters against humans, and it’s up to your team to set out and purify the land/eliminate the evil. The story is fairly weak, serving only as a reason to destroy another few hundred enemies. I expected a bit more from the story, considering the background of the series.
As you go through the story, you’ll find out that combat is easy to pick up and go with. There’s two control schemes: the normal DW style and one that lets you just button mash to form combos with and without magic. There are quite a few combos to learn and use depending on your situation, so learning them early is a good idea to get you through some of the tougher boss encounters.
There’s also different type of weapons to use in the right situations. Swords can parry attacks, boomerangs can hit enemies from a distance and allow for hit-and-run tactics, staffs can clear areas and more. In addition, there’s a dodge that can get you across the field in a hurry and the normal Musuo mode that can cause massive damage and ends with an area attack.
Another interesting element added is the ability to kill monsters, collect their coin and summon them in battle to defend an area or give a special one-time use attack. You can also toggle between party members during combat, which is good because the AI is hit or miss. Sometimes, they can help weed down the enemies, while other times they’re disappointing, running into walls instead of fighting.
The dialogue in the game also served to be a disappointment. There’s a lot of puns based around the slimes and “goo,” but it just seems bland and uninspired. I found myself just skipping through bigger sections of text that used voices just to get back to the action and to silence some of the more grating voices in the game.
Besides the main story, there are also plenty of side quests to take on, items to find and synthesize into new gear, weapons to buy and upgrade and skill trees to unlock new abilities and stats. It’s good that there are quite a few side quests, as the story is more linear with a few small areas to clear enemies from before moving on. Boss battles, thankfully, are varied and interesting to come across.
What may be the biggest issue in the game, though, is the complete lack of multiplayer. Considering you always have a party with you, the inclusion of at least split-screen multiplayer or online multiplayer would have been great. Without it, it’s still an enjoyable game, but one that could have been made better with friends.
Overall, Dragon Quest Heroes is a fun action button masher. It will give fans of either series plenty to unlock and clear, and the art style is great to enjoy. As long as you don’t mind going it alone, there’s a lot here to like.
Final Score: 7.5