Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Almost got me

I think that I have played all of Dragon Quest XI that I am going to play. This was a lot, but not all of it. 65+ hours was not all of it. Games that have stolen than many hours from me do not come along often - The Witcher 3. Elder Scrolls Oblivion and Skyrim. Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2. Most Tales games and Final Fantasies cap their main quests around 40 hours. Dragon Quest XI go to the first ending in around 55.

Generous, yes, but I have some issue with the post-game, so....

SPOILERS!

At the end of the main quest Mordegan (the big bad who you see twice) is dead at the hands of the luminary. The world is saved but at a terrible price. Once of the main party is dead along with thousand of others who were either killed when the world tree fell or later eaten by monsters. It's a bittersweet ending, one that I was fine with.

And then...

Right out of the gate the post game gives the player a new main quest, to investigate an old ruin that they skimmed over the first time. Some hoops are jumped through and it is revealed that the luminary can go back in time and try to defeat Mordegan before he destroyed the world tree, thus saving the party member along with everyone else. This is literally bringing Aeris back to life (if Aeris were a red mage and in the body of a child).

Time travel is right up there with quick time events on my list of things that I don't like in games. It is almost never done well. That being said, DQXI comes close. The luminary goes back, kills Mordegon earlier, saves the world sooner than expected only to find out that Mordegon had, in the process of conquering the world, prevented something worse than himself from coming back. This was actually foreshadowed earlier in the game when Mordegon destroyed a giant glowing ball in the sky for no apparent reason. That giant glowing ball was the real monster.

The lesson here is to not fuck with the timeline. Take your happy-ish ending and run with it.

Up to this point the post game had all been original content - new areas and no real enemies to fight. When the new boss is revealed the post-game comes clean as to what it really is: the normal JRPG post-game that sends the player back through powered up areas, palette swapped enemies,  ending with a comically over powered monster to fight.

I tried, really I did. I gave it around five more hours after the credits rolled. If it were not October, if there were not other games coming out and other games literally sitting on the a shelf waiting for their turn, I might give it a little bit longer.

Dragon Quest XI is a finely tuned if a bit simple JRPG. No game exists in a vacuum. When compared to others in its genre the silent protagonist becomes a serious problem. Translation - the story in Tales of Berseria, as weird as it was, was better, because the protagonist had personality. She had it in excess. The luminary is the Gordon Freeman of JRPGs.

So that's it. Fall is upon is and the list grows longer. First I will race cars, then I will be a cowboy. Somewhere in there I will raid tombs and do was a spider can, not to mention assassinate some creeds and call someone named 'cthulu.'

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