DRAGON QUEST HEROES: THE WORLD TREE'S WOE AND THE BLIGHT BELOW
By Kevin "Methodone89" van Dongen on October 16, 2015
Behold, the kingdom of Arba; A peaceful place, where humans and monsters live together in harmony. That is, until one day, an evil magician casts a terrible curse on the kingdom which turns all monsters into evil counterparts of their usually friendly self. So one minute, you'd be having a polite conversation with a white bat-like creature and the next, you're desperately trying to keep him from biting off your nose. Every monster (except for Healix, your monster friend who was hiding in a hat at the time of the curse) in the kingdom seems to have gone mad. It's total chaos, I tell you...TOTAL AND UTTER CHAOS!
But, when situations seem most dire, savior is usually at hand. And to this universal rule, Dragon Quest Heroes is certainly no exception! With the kingdom in disarray, two heroes rise to face the newly-turned-evil monsters, strike them down where they stand and restore peace to the kingdom of Arba. Their first course of action is to fight their way towards the castle and protect the king. But, as it turns out, the last thing the king needs is saving. When we arrive in the throne room, the monsters seem the ones who need help. The king is happily bashing skulls with his mighty mace. After dispatching the last of the attacking monsters, our heroes set out to rid the kingdom of this horrible curse, but will they succeed in pulling off this mammoth undertaking...
There you have it; the basic premise of the latest installment in the Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest Heroes, which isnít your normal Dragon Quest game; itís an all-out battle created by Dynasty Warriors developers, Omega Force. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe And The Blight Below is the love child of Square Enixís long running Dragon Quest franchise and Koei Tecmoís studio Omega Force, which is the driving force behind the Dynasty Warriors series. While Omega Force delivers good or even great games. I had a great time with the recently released Samurai Warriors 4-II! They shine even brighter when they develop third party games, games like One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, Hyrule Warriors and now Dragon Quest heroes. Also, keep in mind they are currently developing an Attack on Titan game which looks amazing.
Omega Forceís formula is simple; they give us a few heroes to control and a thousand enemies to destroy. While this formula can be repetitive and sometimes even downright boring it still works for some of their titles. Dragon Quest Heroesí formula is a bit different and offers some good gameplay, with some limitations. Dragon Quest Heroes is built upon the long running Dragon Quest franchise which means: great characters, story, environments and monsters.
The story of Dragon Quest Heroes is quite simple and not that meaningful, it still is enjoyable though. As explained earlier, humans and monsters live together in harmony, until this dark sorcerer turns the monsters against humanity and lets friends battle each other. You, the hero or heroine of this story, will venture forth to return peace and harmony to our lives, while meeting new and strange friends. What truly amazes me from the start is the fact that you and your companions are pretty eager to destroy the monsters while just a minute ago you were having fun and were BFFís, this felt kind of strange but letís be honest, we have a job to do: save the world from these cute monsters by killing them all. Iím going to miss you, my monster BFF...
Battling these monsters is quite simple, although the monsters arenít as keen on dying as you are on killing them. You have the square button and the triangle button at your disposal, now mash them, thatís all youíll need. This works fine at the beginning of the game, since the monsters are low level and arenít eager to fight you. Instead, most of them donít attack you; they seem to be mostly there for the dying part, good old fashioned cannon-fodder, so to speak. Once you have cleared the first few stages youíll discover that thereís more to Dragon Quest Heroes than just mashing the square and triangle button. You also have a selection spells and skills at your disposal, which you will actually need when you meet the first boss: a dragon. Itís in that moment that youíll discover that monsters can fight back pretty hard. Unlocking your Tension ability comes in handy with this boss battle and relieving Tension is the best thing to do.
In between stages youíll travel to your base, where you can buy equipment, save your game, spend skill points, create items, accept quests and more. And although this is exactly what you need at certain points in the game, it might feel redundant sometimes. Especially the skill-tree feels like itís just there to have a skill tree, without really doing anything meaningful besides unlocking the first three skills youíll need. Even the equipment you can buy isnít that special; itís pretty obvious which one is the better choice to buy and you can easily go a long time without buying new gear and still be a mean, lean, monster-slaying machine!
In the end, Dragon Quest Heroes is pretty enjoyable and some of the characters in your team are really funny and do offer worthwhile companionship. The different stages are easy to clear and not very time-consuming, just stop the portal spammer and/or destroy the boss. However, there are a lot of these stages and treasure maps can be found almost everywhere. These maps will even further increase the time youíll be spending on Dragon Quest Heroes. It looks and plays great on the PS4, so you'll enjoy hacking things to pieces even more! And although gameplay might be somewhat repetitive, that wonít stop you from continuing to play this game. It grows on you and even puts you in a monster-slaying state of happiness.
I you're interested in seeing some Dragon Quest Heroes Gameplay and Boss Battles, just check out this playlist.