Dragon Quest 11 – Review Chapter 1 – Beautiful Visuals
Thanks to our good friends at Square Enix, we received a review code for Dragon Quest 11 on the PlayStation 4. According to the PR firm for Square Enix, the adventure should take us roughly 70-100 hours to complete – depending on the side quests we engage in – and as the review window for this game has passed, we are looking to take a different approach to reviewing this title. Every few days for the next week or so, we will look at a different aspect of Dragon Quest 11, whether we think Square Enix did a good job with that particular decision, and overall how we are feeling about the game as we get deeper and deeper in to the experience. Up first: the visuals! How well did the development team do to bring the world of Dragon Quest to life once again? Let’s dive in!
From the first few moments of climbing the Tor to the heart thumping escape from the dungeons and sewers of Heliodor Castle, the visuals in the first few hours of Dragon Quest 11 are top notch. Sure, there are times where you look at something and wish that more detail was present, but the game’s cartoony graphics work well with the story that is being told, and the vibrant colours more than make up for the lack of details in minor areas of the game. Things can become a big bland if you wonder way off course in the open world rural environments, but major city centres more than make up for that.
When walking around the city of Heliodor, I was fascinated by the things I saw, and the exploration I was able to enjoy. So many buildings around town are detailed inside and out, and while most places only have a few jars or barrels to break, or a book to read, the developers still took plenty of time to craft interesting and varied environments. I entered a number of personal homes around Heliodor, and found them to be varied enough to feel different. Sure, the same dressers appear in each, and other furniture around the homes will look familiar as well, but the way the houses are laid out, and the colours used inside, still make each feel unique.
And I completely believe we shouldn’t fault Square Enix for asset reuse. Doing so in video games is incredibly common, and when you think that most open world RPG’s don’t allow you to visit almost every building in a city, what Square Enix has done here is incredibly impressive.
The colours used are what wow me the most, however. Everything is coloured perfectly to set the mood, and generally these colours are incredibly vibrant. When muddled textures and dank colours are required, Square Enix isn’t afraid to pull out the grey, brown and black brushes. But the use of colour is thoughtfully planned throughout. The most beautiful areas of Heliodor are colourful beyond belief, with deep rich blues, vibrant reds, and shimmering golds. The slums of city, however, are much drearier, cueing to the player that they are no longer walking with the rich, but rather walking amongst the poor.
It is this attention to detail that I’ve appreciated most about my first few hours with the game, and if they are any indication of what is to come, I’m in for a fantastic experience! Have you enjoyed the visuals in Dragon Quest 11?