Returning to a game you haven’t picked up in months can be a frustrating experience. Outside of feeling disconnected from the narrative of whatever game you’re attempting to hop back inside of, you have also likely forgotten a number of other aspects of the game: controls, attack patterns of bosses, and where you are in the game (literally, somewhere on a giant map unsure of your next step).
I wish more video games took a page from television serials and provided a “Previously on…” kind of recap. Dragon Quest XI, which I’m currently playing does just this and it’s a brilliant addition to an already stand-out game. I am glad the developers recognized that in a game that is potentially 120+ hours long, that it might be useful to have a short recap while your game is loading, explaining that your character was last on this island battling this evil demon and your next goal is to find maguffin A so you can restore order to the blah blah blah.
What often happens to me when I return to an older game is that I start a brand new save, so that I can re-familiarize myself with the game’s narrative/controls and then once I feel like I’ve recalled enough of the game, I will hop back into my older save which has more progress.
I do also wish that outside of a “Previously on…” type of feature, that more games would allow you to replay the introduction/tutorial because that would basically solve the problem of not knowing how to play the game after so many months (or even years) of inactivity.
And just like that, I’m back into a 200+ hour japaense role-playing game (JRPG). The irony of this is not lost on me when I was waxing poetic about not having time for games like this just last week and how I had settled on Roguelikes as my preferred gaming genre. And while that still holds true for the most part (just last night I took a break from DQXI to complete a few BoI challenges), there’s something about this genre that finds a way into my heart and soul.
DQXI is one of the most traditional JRPGs ever made. The Dragon Quest series is more popular than Final Fantasy in Japan. I tend to lean more towards DQ than I do FF. And this isn’t shade at the FF series, I’m a big fan. It’s just that I think DQ feels more like my kind of game. I like that the stories are a bit more reliant on fairy tale conventions and Dungeons & Dragons style party members. It just satisfies a different itch.
I’m about 15 hours into DQXI and I cannot recommend this game highly enough. I don’t feel like I could write a proper review, so I’m going to just recommend you read this one by Tim Rogers of Kotaku. He says everything I want to say, only better:
Dragon Quest XI is hugely long and chill as heck. It took me about 80 chill as heck hours to finish the main quest my first time. I would recommend this game to anyone who likes chill characters, colorful aesthetics, Akira Toriyama’s art, extremely old-school role-playing games, fairy tale stories, or ridiculously detailed video game towns.