Dragon Quest Treasure Review – All About That Shine
Booty. Few words in the game have such power. A sick loot promise is a siren song that drives many players to take on daring challenges and rethink their objectives. Games, regardless of era or platform, are fundamentally about the satisfaction of obtaining loot, but few would admit it. It’s the rare game that bluntly states that accumulating is all about the point. And if you can live with some of its gameplay and technical shortcomings, you can also experience the satisfaction of having something like Scrooge McDuck. A gold vault (although I have never swam in it).
Dragon Quest Treasures is the story of young Erik and Mia first introduced in Dragon Quest XI. After being adopted by marauder and party-loving Vikings, the disgruntled duo decide to escape the ship and set out on their own to become great treasure hunters. Along the way, they come across the Dragon Dagger, an enchanted weapon that releases a duo of strange winged creatures and transports them to the realm of Draconia, where treasure hunting is a way of life. There are legendary Dragonstone artifacts, and Eric and Mia are trying to get them all.
Unlike the turn-based and menu-driven mainline Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest Treasure is an action-RPG.Play as Eric or Mia (functionally identical) and explore one of several large open-world islands , defeat enemies, complete quests, gather materials, and most importantly, discover those sweet, shiny silver and gold treasure chests. The more treasure they find, the more notoriety they gain, and their base, originally a dilapidated magical train station, is converted into a ridiculously ornate headquarters. Gameplay elements open up to reveal hints about the location of the elusive Dragonstone. Progress is locked.
Draconia is no small territory either. The area you can travel to is surprisingly large and filled with unique geographic features.It contains only a handful of unlockable fast travel points in the form of train stations. The treasures you find are randomized, encouraging you to revisit familiar areas or venture into new locations. Both limited loot carrying capacity and high-level enemies limit exploration capabilities, so it usually takes several attempts to fully explore an entire region. The game runs at a solid 30fps, which is impressive most of the time, but it comes at a price. Environment geometry tends to look very simple, and textures are visibly pixelated and muddy.
Eric and Mia are at a disadvantage because they don’t have a sixth sense for finding treasure like the native Draconians do. Luckily, they can ask the locals for help. As their emerging treasure-hunting gang gains momentum, the monsters they encounter can apply for membership and be recruited as members of the NPC party her. Monster recruits are very important. They fight alongside you in combat and help you navigate the environment using their special “specialty” skills (gliding, high jumping, underground infiltration, etc.). of treasure. Eric/Mia doesn’t use the compass much to find the approximate location of high-level treasures, but when really close to the prize, the monster can provide “treasure vision” of its exact location. (However, things can still look pretty weird, as monsters’ vision isn’t quite the same as humans. For example, a monster’s vision with muddy hands looks like it’s been sprayed with a gooey film. However, Living Armor can only be seen through flesh). Helmet vents.) They can also find the exact location of mid-tier treasures as you wander around. You’ll have to fend off rival gangs that attack you on your way out to save you.
Gradually exploring a large and varied environment and ever-growing vault of valuables makes for a very enjoyable gameplay loop. It’s satisfying to watch your headquarters grow and expand, while monster ranks swell with high-level recruits and display cases fill with the most legendary items from the Dragon Quest series. This appeal is further enhanced by the warm and inviting atmosphere that pervades the entire Dragon Quest franchise, including localizations packed with witty lines and groan-worthy puns. Dragon Quest Treasures simply feels good to play.
Unfortunately, one element of the game does its best to spoil the mood. Combat is the worst part of Dragon Quest Treasures, an unavoidable part of exploration and progression. You and all your CPU-controlled monsters participate in real-time battles on the world map. Erik and Mia are armed with Dragon Daggers. Dragon Daggers only provide basic attack combo strings. MP is stored, but magic is only used to heal yourself. Instead, the special attack comes in the form of a long-range slingshot, which can be loaded with ammunition (in the form of pellets) and fired. Pellets are the only way you have access to the various forms of elemental damage, and fumbling through the pellet menus trying to find the one rock to hit an enemy’s weak spot can be tedious. You can also heal or buff monsters via Aiming stacks of rocks at the constantly moving monsters in combat to heal them or boost their defenses makes me want a more traditional Action/RPG skill system.
Your monsters act of their own volition and can only issue basic ‘attack’ and ‘retreat’ commands, though these are not always heeded. Their AI is generally decent, but very frustrating when it fails. One major drawback is the lack of a lock-on system for everyone to target specific problematic enemies. The big problem, though, is that watching monsters roll, smash, wobble, and cast spells makes you realize just how limited and dull your own combat abilities are. It always feels like you’re having more fun with your CPU buddies, and that feeling of weakness never quite goes away. Even with a special “wild side” skill that increases speed, damage, and crit chance, it’s not as cool or effective as the monster’s special cinematic “Unleash the Dragon” attack.
It’s a testament to just how powerful the other elements of Dragon Quest Treasures are, and despite the frequently unsatisfied combat, the game keeps players eager to return for more exploration and treasure hunting. A bright, adventurous atmosphere and a challenging core gameplay loop go a long way towards completing the game. It may not be the richest game, but for the length of its run, Dragon Quest Treasures makes you feel like a king of thieves.
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