Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below Review: Monster Mash

It’s been nearly ten years since Dragon Quest fans have had a proper sequel to its main series on consoles, although we’ve seen seen a number of spinoffs and remakes across a variety of gaming platforms. Dragon Quest Heroes is yet another spinoff, although it feels like a love letter to the iconic RPG series as popular characters, enemies, and locales have been recreated for an all-new adventure. The result is a treat for longtime fans, though the total package certainly shows room for improvement. 

Children Of Light

Dragon Quest Heroes begins in the peaceful city of Arba where humans and monsters live side by side--or at least it was peaceful until a wizard cast a magic spell causing monsters to attack all humans. Players assume the role of one of two Captains of the Royal Guard who are tasked with protecting the king, which then turns into protecting the entire country of Elsaize once it’s discovered the incident has reached outside the walls of Arba. During their adventure, Luceus and Aurora add a number of great warriors to their cause, all of which have their own unique play style and abilities.

There are a total of twelve playable heroes that come from a wide variety of Dragon Quest games. Each character is accurately represented in Dragon Quest Heroes as they both fight and interact with one another the way they would in their game of origin. For example: Terry is still an egotistical loner, Alena is still as tomboy-ish as ever, and Jessica still needs a scarf. Each hero plays differently from one another, which offers some nice variety to the understandably repetitive gameplay. It also helps Dragon Quest Heroes has four heroes available to battle with at once, which I was able to select who I wanted to fight as with a simple button press. I just wish there was a way to directly select a hero instead of having to continue jumping between them to get to who I want to fight as.

As I progressed through the game, I was able to make various improvements to my stable of heroes. I could upgrade their abilities, stats, and special moves, purchase new weapons and defensive orbs, and use alchemy to produce unique accessories, among other things. Upgrading heroes becomes necessary as I progressed through the game as monsters became more difficult with each quest I completed.

Monsters As Far As The Eye Can See

Just like in Hyrule Warriors, Dragon Quest Heroes swarms players with countless monsters to combat. As a long-time fan of Dragon Quest, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a number of my favorite monsters in the game, like Slime, Golem, and Healslime. Larger enemies, like Green Dragon and Gigantes, were also included and require a bit more strategy to defeat. These large-scale bouts are made even more difficult when standard monsters decide to join the fray. Thankfully, monsters can be used to my advantage.

As I defeated monsters, I was randomly presented with a monster coin. The monster coin allowed me to summon the defeated monster to fight for me. Monsters either helped to defend a certain point in the map or they performed an attack when summoned and would disappear. Monster coins were extremely helpful when attempting to bottleneck a wave of monsters’ advances, although once the game introduces a monster’s abilities, I couldn’t find their information again later on in the game. Considering how many monsters coins there are, I would've appreciated a reference area for monster abilities so I could use them effectively.

Thou Hast Done Well

Koei Tecmo has done an incredible job of bringing the world of Dragon Quest to current gen. The game’s visuals are very impressive, the action is fast-paced, and the sights and sounds of the Dragon Quest series are all there. I was instantly able to recognize the fanfare that would play when a battle would end or when a hero would level up.

While Dragon Quest purists may not enjoy the action-RPG feel of Dragon Quest Heroes, I still was able to enjoy the experience a great deal as a long-time fan of the series, regardless of the few issues I had with it. Considering we’re probably a few years away from a proper Dragon Quest main series sequel, Dragon Quest Heroes will quench my thirst for the upcoming game.

This review is based on a PlayStation 4 retail copy provided by the publisher. Dragon Quest Heroes will be available in retail and digital stores on October 13, 2015 for $59.99. The game is rated ESRB

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Dragon Quest Heroes

very good
  • Heroes are accurately represented
  • Combat is fast-paced and rewarding
  • Monster coins adds much needed assistance
  • Dragon Quest sights and sounds are all here
  • Unable to call back monster coin information
  • Scrolling through heroes to select the right one can be costly