Dragon Quest Treasures Review – Treasure Hunting With Friends
This year, Square Enix has been rather active in their game releases, and Dragon Quest Treasures is yet another spin-off based on the Dragon Quest IP. It is a tremendously popular IP in Japan, as seen by the sales success of Dragon Quest XI, and it even outsells Final Fantasy. As a result, it is not surprising that the series has received several spin-offs, and Dragon Quest Treasures is another new entry in the series after Monsters that seeks to deliver a different sort of gaming experience.
Dragon Quest Treasures is set in the same universe as Dragon Quest XI, therefore it serves as a precursor to the game’s story. Eric and Mia are the two main characters. They are still children in this story because the game takes place several years before the events of Dragon Quest XI. They desire to go treasure hunting, so one day they decide to flee the Vikings’ ship that had rescued them. They escape the ship with a magical cat and pig that the Vikings had imprisoned in a cage. They follow these to an island where they discover a set of mystical dragon daggers that allow them to converse with the monsters.
Eric and Mia are drawn through a portal that transports them to the Island of Draconia, where they decide to search for the seven Legendary Dragonstones. In their journey to recapture all of the magical treasures available on this Island, they uncover new allies and make some enemies. Overall, the plot isn’t the main draw for this game because it’s written like a filler for an anime, but the gameplay is engaging enough, and the cast is entertaining enough, that it ends up being fun.
The core concept of the game is that players may form a party of monsters and search for treasures concealed across the Island of Draconia. They can also take on missions and assist the Island’s residents with various tasks. The daggers they discovered during their quest enable them to converse with the monsters and assist them in locating the hidden spot for these treasures. The gameplay loop is repetitious, with story development thrown in to keep players motivated to venture out and explore the world.
Dragon Quest Treasures is not the only Dragon Quest series spin-off. There have been several in the past, such as Dragon Quest Heroes and Dragon Quest Monsters. DQ Treasures feels more like a new series geared at younger fans of the franchise. It’s not a serious story, and the gameplay is kept easy. The battles are monotonous and lack the complexity and strategy that we would expect from a mainline game.
The combat is real-time, like in an action RPG, although there are few combat options. In addition to Eric and Mia, there are a group of monsters recruited during combat. Although some of these monsters do have skills that may be employed in battle, and the main characters can also be supercharged based on their skill meter, there aren’t many ways to defeat the enemies. There is a slingshot with a variety of pellets to employ in and out of combat with varied effects such as improving the likelihood of recruiting a monster or inflicting elemental damage on them.
The game’s central objective is to locate treasures placed on the island. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Eric and Mia can use their daggers to gain a compass bearing on the location of the treasure. The monsters’ memories, also known as Treasure Vision, can reveal a visual of where to discover the treasure. The treasure is normally concealed at a position on the map with an X above it in these photos, however, finding them can also be part of the riddle. There are several incentives for finding these treasures. Some of them have a predetermined value, while others must be assessed to establish their worth.
Treasure hunting is only one aspect of the game; players will also be able to recruit monsters. They must first be defeated before they may be recruited. When a monster is ready to join the group, it may be discovered in the game’s main base and recruited by paying a price. The base begins as a simple train station to travel between the many portions of the island that are originally closed, but as the player discovers more loot/treasure, their base may level up, allowing them to uncover the location of the elusive Legendary Dragonstones.
One of my big concerns is the game’s technical performance. Dragon Quest XI looked and ran well on the Nintendo Switch, so I’m not sure why Treasures looks so bad, for lack of a better word. While the cutscenes are well-animated, the open-world exploration is riddled with pop-in, low-resolution textures, and blurry visuals. It looks terrible, yet the visual style may have preserved it more than the technical performance. Unfortunately, the restrictions of the Nintendo Switch hardware prevent this game from showing its real colors, and the graphic style looks confined in the face of the technological constraints put on it.
While Dragon Quest Treasures has an enjoyable gaming loop, the combat is a little dull and far too repetitive to give long-term value. However, it is still a really exciting action RPG with plenty of loot to acquire, and it is rewarding to fill our treasure vault with some of the game’s truly wonderful souvenirs.
Dragon Quest Treasures Game Information
- Price: $59.99
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher