Goodness gracious, it has been quite a spell since we’ve gotten a proper Dragon Quest game here in the West. If you’ve been itching for a no-frills JRPG, you’ll definitely find it here, complete with the lovely and quirky art of Akira Toriyama. If this is your first stint as a hero, then consider these 5 tips for Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age to be the best hero you can be.
1. GRIND RESPONSIBLY!
In previous Dragon Quest games, enemy encounters were entirely random, with no indication on the overworld that they’re coming. This has been changed; now enemy symbols roam the countryside, and you won’t get into combat unless you directly engage them. This means it’s entirely up to you when you want to fight (barring a few extenuating circumstances, of course). If you’re on a horse, you can gallop to run enemies over, so you don’t even have to go around them. It can be easy however, to get complacent when the threat of random encounters isn’t breathing down your neck. Don’t just run past every enemy, easy as it may be. Take the time to mop up a few on your way to wherever you’re going to ensure you stay properly leveled.
2. THE POWER OF PEP!
Sometimes, in battle, your characters may suddenly flash blue and gain a big boost to their stats. This is called being Pepped Up. When you’re Pepped Up, you can take more damage, dish more out, and even use special team-up techniques. Also, if you end a battle while Pepped, you’ll start the next one already glowing. Remember, though, there’s no surefire way to get into the Pepped state; it’s an invisible value that fills as you deal and receive damage. Don’t take Pep for granted and expect it to save you at the last minute every time. It’s less of a real power up, and more of a stroke of good fortune, and if you’re relying on luck alone, you’re doing this wrong.
3. SAVE YOUR POINTS!
Leveling up earns you points that can be used to unlock abilities on a character’s ability board. These abilities range from simple stat boosts to new skills and spells, but as you may expect, they begin to cost more as you go on. Every character has multiple paths they can focus points on; don’t feel like you need to pour your points into something the moment you get them. Stock ‘em up, and consider which abilities will best suit your playstyle going forward.
4. HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER!
A little while after meeting Erik, he’ll gift you with the Fun-Sized Forge. This nifty device can be used at campsites to craft new armor and weapons, as well as enhance the ones you have. When crafting, you need to hammer the individual parts of an item into shape. Every part has a bar with a green section in the middle that you want to try and get right in the middle of. The closer to the middle, the better the gear will be when it pops out. Don’t get greedy, though; if you’re already in the green and try to hammer it again, you’re more than likely gonna fly right past the middle into the bad zone. Learn to make educated guesses about how far the meter is going to go. Don’t worry, this’ll get easier as you go through the game and unlock flourishes, special techniques that move the bar in different ways.
5. KNOW YOUR LIMITS!
The first few hours of a Dragon Quest game have a tendency to separate the men from the boys. The reason for this is that health recovery methods in enclosed locations are limited, and MP recovery items are notably finite. Most early game shops don’t even sell phials. There may be a time early on that you’ll be in a dangerous area with low health and lower resources. If you reach the point where your only means of recovery becomes leveling up, it’s officially not worth it. Fall back, or use a Chimeric Wing to warp out. Having to re-tread an entire dungeon stinks, for sure, but being stuck against strong enemies with no reliable means of upkeep stinks more.