In the world of remasters and remakes, it’s nice when a revision of a game adds a little more love. Dragon Quest XI originally launched in 2018 on PS4 and PC. It made quite the splash as a rock-solid classic RPG, and now it’s back for another round with this version on Switch. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition is here and it’s one of the best games you can get for the little hybrid that could.
The world of Erdrea is under siege! Monsters are appearing, people are terrified, things just aren’t going too well. Good thing we can rely on the Luminary to save the day! Yes, that’s you, the Luminary – he who will stand against the darkness and save Erdrea. There’s a couple issues with this plan, though. First, the whole Luminary thing isn’t exactly common knowledge these days; most people think of you as the Darkspawn, a bringer of evil rather than good. Second, you’ve got an entire kingdom out to get you as a result. You’re going to have to gather companions and fight against the odds to save the world.
So what’s new in the Switch version? Plenty! Perhaps most importantly, you’ve got an entire 2D version of the game sitting right in the same package, allowing you to swap back and forth between 3D and 2D versions at save points. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a seamless change like you’d expect from the Halo remasters. As mentioned, you can only swap over at save points, not to mention you’re made to revert to certain key plot points in order to do so. This means that it’s not really possible to do something like play one day in 3D, another in 2D and so on; without some planning it’s difficult to tell when a new key plot point allowing for swapping will open up.
Still, it’s a pretty cool idea. You can play through almost the entire game in this mode, encountering redesigned maps and a somewhat different combat system as you do so. There are points where you’ll switch back, such as minigames that only take place in 3D, but generally speaking you can enjoy Dragon Quest XI as it was meant to be played back in 1995. That’s neat.
Other upgrades center largely around quality of life. You can drastically speed up battles to cut down grinding, for instance, and you can now craft items and call for horses wherever you’d like. These are all nice additions, though I did find one particular change – the ability to simply pay gold for the materials needed for crafting if you’re short – to feel a bit on the cheaty side. Still, you not only don’t have to use that feature, you can actively turn it off with the Draconian Quest difficulty options, so it’s not the end of the world. There are a few other new bits as well, like side stories aplenty and a new set of sidequests set in the 2D world of Tickington.
Really, though, along with the 2D mode the most impressive aspect of the Switch version is how great it looks and how well it runs. There are infrequent framerate drops here and there, but generally speaking this is a glorious game that runs just fine on a console that doesn’t seem capable of handling it. Seriously, don’t feel like you need to play in 2D because 3D’s going to run poorly – that’s simply not the case. This is a technical achievement.
As before, Dragon Quest XI is an absolutely fantastic game that’s loaded to the brim with things to do. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition on the Switch only makes things better. If you’re an RPG fan at all, you absolutely need to play this one; it’s a must-have game for the Switch and one of the best entries in the console’s library.