Already a colossal adventure clocking in at over 100 hours, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age just got even bigger, and, crucially, even better. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition adds to and reshapes the game with new character-driven stories, substantial gameplay features, and more. It's a bit like Persona 5 Royal, in the sense that this expanded re-release makes the original game pretty much redundant.
But before we get into it, let's touch on the fact that Dragon Quest XI S on PS4 is a port of the Nintendo Switch title. Its resolution has been boosted — as has the frame-rate, to 60 frames-per-second on PS4 Pro and PS5 via backwards compatibility — but the graphics are still a slight downgrade from the original Dragon Quest XI on PS4. Some foliage is less dense, and the draw distance on things like shadows has been scaled back. We're mostly talking tiny details here — the kind of stuff you probably won't even notice unless you're playing the two versions side by side — but that's just how it is.
Fortunately, all of the improvements that Dragon Quest XI S brings to the table are well worth paying the price of slightly worse visuals. For starters, Dragon Quest XI already had a fantastic cast of characters — and now you get to spend even more time with them. Each party member has been given their own side story, which take place at different points during the main adventure. Individually they're not that long — a few hours at most — but they provide additional insight into what makes the core cast tick. Some are comedic, while others are surprisingly emotional. You could argue that Dragon Quest XI is long enough to begin with, but the new character stories add another layer of welcome detail to this wondrous fantasy world.
Next up, you can actually play through the whole of Dragon Quest XI S in a completely different form, if you're feeling nostalgic for the 16-bit era of Japanese role-playing games. The entire journey has been remade as an optional old-school game mode, complete with 2D pixel graphics and its own music. It's one hell of an impressive bonus, and as you'd expect, it feels like a totally different title — at least, outside of the story beats.
The only problem with this retro mode is that it's hampered by awkward implementation. In order to access it, you need to head to the nearest church, where you can swap between the 2D and 3D realms — but doing so means that you'll be forced to restart your current story chapter. As such, it feels like you're being actively discouraged from jumping between the 2D and 3D versions of the game, which is a shame considering the clear amount of effort that's been made. As it stands, you're best off either saving the 2D mode for a second playthrough, or giving it a quick look and not much else.
Again, the 2D mode is a lovingly crafted extra, but to be brutally honest, you'd be missing out on a lot of what makes Dragon Quest XI special if you were to stick with it. As has always been the case with Square Enix's long running series, the story is a straightforward hero-fights-evil affair, but the charm with which it's told is unparalleled. The colourful world, the character designs, and yes, the now fully orchestrated musical score, combine to create a truly memorable adventure. Each and every narrative arc is well defined and offers something new, to the point where tearing yourself away from a mammoth play session becomes incredibly difficult.
Dragon Quest XI still feels like an immaculately written love letter to traditional RPGs. Its approach to exploration, with towns separated by picturesque countryside and monster-infested dungeons, is unashamedly old school but also timeless in terms of structure. Likewise, its basic turn based battles are bolstered with brilliant beast designs and addictive character progression. It's just JRPG joy from start to finish.
To round things off, let's briefly talk about the many smaller additions and improvements that Definitive Edition brings. We've got an optional Japanese voice track, new character outfits, more 'Draconian Quest' settings that make the game even harder (if you're into that), and the introduction of a 2D town called Tickington, where you can follow a surprisingly elaborate side quest that involves past Dragon Quest games. On top of all that, there are quality of life improvements all over the place, including the ability to summon your horse or the Fun Size Forge at any time while out in the field. You can even enable a turbo mode, which speeds up combat considerably. Convenient, especially when it's time to grind.
Dragon Quest XI remains a game to get lost in. We weren't entirely sold on the idea of playing through such a gigantic adventure all over again, but Dragon Quest XI S has only served to solidify our opinion that this is one of the best Japanese RPGs ever made.
Any questions let me know and I'll try to answer.
Gonna play it through Game Pass PC, either after I finish AC Unity or after I then play Code Vein. The graphics situation is absolutely baffling but at least it’s not totally noticeable.
I have this game on Switch and it's one of my favorite for the system and just a great game all around. I am happy that more people are able to enjoy this great game now. Since I have been playing the Switch version in 3D I think I will start a 2D playthrough on either the Xbox or PS4
Finished this on the Switch a year or so ago and I still have nightmares about the soundtrack.
Love this game but I'll wait until it's a lot cheaper before I buy it again with a few extra tweaks. Veronica is dope.
"One of the best jrpg's",eh...
I played through on Switch and loved it! Thinking of double dipping to get trophies this time
This is near the very top of my list for near games this generation...Er, last generation?
@Sissyrobyn996 Also you can’t compare this to TV. With TV you subscribe to something or other anyway like Sky, Virgin or whatever. Or you subscribe to a far cheaper streaming service. You don’t buy a TV Show or even movie for £50 each. I see a deal, I use it because I’m not in a financial position to buy every game full price that I want. I don’t give a toss about ‘the consequences’ because they’ll happen regardless if I play games that I want to play for a lower price or not.
Beat the game originally on PS4 when it released. Beat it again on Switch but in 2D mode. Chances of me buying it a third time and playing it again here? High. Very high.
Thank you for the review!
I was honestly bored all the time during my playthrough of the original version - and I still have nightmares about the music - but I tried to start the demo with most draconian challenges on and it really changes how the game feels for me. I have a reason to grind and use all the skills! Quick battles are also a big help.
Also I can’t be the only one thinking this looks better than the original, at least on PS4: sure it has a little less detail but it’s so fluid!
The music is still terrible 😞 the exploration and battle themes are so simple and repetitious...really just a curse.
I will be picking this up again ! And using Spotify
A port of a port...
Finished the original Dragon Quest XI on PS4. That is good enough. It is the exact same main story and world
@Sissyrobyn996 People play whatever way is most convenient for them. No need to insult anybody for having a different preference than you.
@nessisonett Hahaha 😘
@Feena Yeah, I personally agree on the graphics. I'd take slightly less detail in exchange for 60fps any day.
Great review a 9 dang thats impressive...a must buy for me...was going to try out Doraemon: Story of Seasons because it is reduced but feel Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is better.
@ShogunRok So you mention the PS4 Pro and PS5 running the game at a silky smooth 60fps. Does this mean the base PS4 version is 30 fps?
I'm tempted to play through the game again but in the fancy new 2D mode.
@Feena “ I was honestly bored all the time during my playthrough of the original version - and I still have nightmares about the music”
Pretty much where I’m at with it. I wouldn’t mind giving it another shot with the new tunes but still, I dunno. There’s just so many better RPGs to play. I’d give this game a 5 or 6/10. Honestly, I’d much rather play Persona 5 and I didn’t really rate that either.
Somehow ended up buying both the original PS4 game and the Switch game.
@JoeyTS Yeah, 30fps on base PS4 sadly.
The last thing I need is another excuse to play this game again. Stop tempting me!
Ok we'll stop using gamepass when you stop using PlayStation Plus, PlayStation Now. Netfelix and hulu
Great review aready pre-download and set to go on Xbox gamepass.
all the extra stuff makes me want to play it again , but with what time?! DQXI (base game) took me months to play through and finish - all the way to the true ending - highly recommended game if you're a JRPG fan.
LOVE this game on Switch. Any visual downgrades are totally worth all the improvements you get in exchange.
Great review, and you make it so tempting but....not sure i can do it again. I put over a hundred hours into the normal version, started the true ending stuff, but i just....stopped. i just wasn't enjoying myself, and i am not hearing enough to make me think this will change my mind, even if i love the sound of the 2d mode and tockington.
I can't face that music again. It just really wound me up for some reason.
It does remind me that i need to get back to Persona 5 Royal soonish though!
Well, I wasn't expecting this comment section to be so hilarious. Anyway, yeah, I think the downgrade concerns have been overblown, it still looks very nice, and an improvement upon the Switch version. Maybe not as pretty as the original PS4 release, but it's one of those things where it's not noticeable enough for you to care after you actually begin playing.
I'll have to take a look at how the graphics look on the dreaded Game Pass version to see how it stacks up to the PS4 (Pro) graphics I bought on day 1 that remain utterly gorgeous, and the Switch graphics I bought on day 1 that....honestly.....seem kind of sucky after seeing the original on Pro. Might as well dip in on all 3 platforms. It's Dragon Quest, after all. If this can improve over Switch and not feel like quite the dive that took, I can appreciate a soundtrack that doesn't make my ears water. But that original PS4 release was just so beautiful....
@Sissyrobyn996 Ok, that was a weird rant.... You could just go with "I don't like that service, because it doesn't offer value I seek." Or you could rant against Blockbuster and other rental stores and the doom they'll bring to the film and games industry like people did in the 80's. Or about copy machines in libraries in the 70's and the end of books. Retro is in.
I'm hoping to get this for Xmas. On the switch of course because I loved playing 9 on ds and 8 on 3ds. Playing these games on a handheld has always been more enjoyable so I won't get it on ps4. Plus it probably has a brutal trophy list 🤣
Honestly I’m disappointed that there isn’t an upgrade available to those who bought the original version on PS4... it just feels wrong to pay $40 for it. And that’s coming from a huge DQ/DW fan.
so many people getting ready to play this on either gamepass, PC or switch rather than Ps... Sony not giving people what they want by ignoring any portable system option amongst other things
I played it on PS4 already and double dipped for Switch. I’ll pass.
@Mad-Vampire That’s their fault for giving up on the vita. The switch is the only portable option
My only issue is the visual downgrade with this version. Talk about lazy... At this point. If you don't care about the extra stuff. It'll probably be a better deal to just buy the older version on sale. RIP Xbox gamers who don't have a choice other than this one.
Needs option to replace flamboyant dude...so annoying
I really find it hard to get into random guy who doesn't talk rpg games, really kills the character interactions when you're some dopey mute
@Sissyrobyn996 nothing worse then a dope pretending he's smart, and actually truly believing it, Gamepass is a great deal and easy to get cheap, it's the cost of 3 games a year and has a massive library allowing for tons of savings, if you only at 1 or 2 mainstream games a year then ya it's not good but how pretentious do you have to be to not comprehend that people have different desires and some people will easily play many games in a year more then justifying the price especially when it will has new releases like this and every Xbox first party game including all of Bethesda past present and future
I recently just got into Phantasy Star. Maybe someday I can do the the same for Dragon Quest.
It’s a good game I played it on PS4 pro, it’s massive though and I don’t want to invest anymore time in it again. I found it overly simplistic but fun and yes the music is terrible. Probably a solid 8 if I was going to score it.
@nessisonett jeez that's quite the rant there. I really don't think think he "should be ashamed" for using Spotify along with 320m other users, nor does it make him naive. I use Spotify and I've downloaded and streamed music by artists that I would not have given a second thought to otherwise, so it's definitely not anti music ! I've become fans of albums recommended by music press or word of mouth that I would never have tried.
Also it's s bit hypocritical to call him out on this when a post you replied to about GamePass where you say you use it because financially its good for you and you don't care about the consequences ?? Is Spotify not the same ? 🤔
@KingPev Oh wow, I didn’t realise they removed the original comment! I copied it word for word and replaced the Gamepass parts with Spotify just to illustrate my point. I use and love Spotify and it coexists with my vinyl and cassette collections. It looks stupid out of context now 😂😂
Such a great game! And the is a port of the best version. Ps/Xbox fans are in for a treat.
@nessisonett ha ha ...I must admit it did read like it was out of context ! Good old admins.lol. Yeah Spotify is great but there's an argument that artists don't get much royalties out of streaming too. Cheers man 👍
I stopped playing original PS4 version after 30hrs in, cause i was sick of the MIDI soundtrack and awful english dubbing. This is finally a version worth playing it.
@KingPev @nessisonett Just to be clear, we didn't remove it!
@ShogunRok Ahh ok, that’s fine, the user must have removed it themselves. Cheers!
@nessisonett what did spotify do that you hate it for so much?
@HammerKirby3 Please see comment above!
I was 2/3 done with the regular version when the enhanced version was announced!
@Steel76, probably because it was cheaper. Who knows why! Though i will say this is the weirdest port I ever heard of. It's like a upgrade/downgrade all in one.
The original has better graphics and yet the enhanced one has more features but downgraded graphics. It sound so backwards.
Glad to hear this version still got scored so highly, was worried about the downscaled graphics tbh.
@rachetmarvel is it not?
@ShogunRok I've never played a DQ game before, but I'm itching for a great rpg and have heard nothing but good things about this one. Can you tell me, would you recommend the original release or S? The consensus seems to be varied!
@NeoTokyo404 S is the better game. The only difference is that the original XI on PS4 has slightly better visuals. But S runs at 60fps on PS4 Pro/PS5 (compared to 30fps for the original XI on PS4) so to me that's not even an issue.
I say get S. More content, a load of user-friendly improvements, and more.
@ShogunRok Awesome. Thanks for your reply! S sounds like the way to go.
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