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A Good Outlook On Dragon Quest

Reviewing: Square Enix Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen And The Tower Of Mirrors  |  Rating:
Kevin Roman By Kevin Roman on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 5 | Gaming Expertise:
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If you played Dragon Quest 8, you've seen this game before graphically. Cel-shading, maybe a touch sharper, but they recycle enemies and characters more times than I could possibly imagine. The only different characters are probably main ones (the townspeople and enemies are exactly the same as Dragon Quest 8). The music is forgettable although the battle theme is not bad.

The story is pretty mediocre. Basically you are pondering why the Queen is acting weird until you find a mask that changes the way she acts. The characters are really dull but at least the scenes don't drag terribly.

The gameplay is fun. It's nice using the Wiimote to battle enemies. I do have a couple of problems though: you cannot counterattack; the enemies attacks will register instead of yours if you attack a split-second before they do, so you have to use your shield to block. It's a little hard to get off your master strokes (specials too, but the stupid name sounds so perverted), and targeting enemies can take a while to get used to. Basically you have to point at an enemy before you attack and target him. If you block, you gotta do it again, which can get annoying as not targeting will make you attack the middle of the screen with your slashes (vertical, diagonal, and horizontal) or thrust. The master stroke has you pretty much raise your sword to focus (I sometimes can't get this off when I'm doing the right movement but fortunately later master strokes work well), and then attack. At least the fighting controls work for the most part otherwise though sometimes it'll feel like you get a slash when you motion for a thrust.

Fortunately, the game has a lot of replay value; you can go to different forks in dungeons that you missed (it's practically on rails meaning you can't really backtrack unless you hit a dead end) and you have rankings that you can play for, which give you items to let you temper your sword. After you beat the game, you can fight optional bosses as well as redo dungeons to get materials needed to temper better swords.

The game plays in first person and at least is nice enough to let you save after your dungeons (rather than always go back to the Church). I would've preferred to use the nunchuck controller (even Castle of Shikigami 3 can let me use that so I can move diagonally easier than the Wiimote) to walk around in towns since the control is stiff; you can only move forward, backward or turn.

I'd say this game is worth a try if you don't like Dragon Quest. The transition to real time does make things more fun to play and the story is at least tolerable. Just don't expect it to break any really new barriers if you're used to the whole motion sensors for the Wii. I do admit it was nice to figure out that I can reflect arrows back at the opponent when I slash them.