Dragon Quest XI has me ready for a JRPG Renaissance

There are times when I regret not ever having a Super Nintendo all those years ago. Whenever the games Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI get mentioned, I feel like I’ve missed out on a crucial moment in gaming. With so many older titles available online, it’s easy to go back and right my wrongs of the past. Yet going back to play older games continues to be a challenge for me even now. There are new mechanics that I expect out of games, whether they be for fun or for mere convenience. Time does keep moving forward after all.

DQXI_InGameScreenshot_March28_C07.pngI’ve been lucky to get ankle deep with the Dragon Quest series. My copy of Dragon Quest VIII is around here somewhere, but it’s the remake that’s available on 3DS that has secured my attention this past weekend. Being able to grind away on slimes while I handle household chores and chase my daughter from room to room is exactly the experience I’ve been in the mood for since I became a father. It’s not unusual that I would play an older version of a game from a series about to launch its next title in the States, but it serves as a reminder of why I should even be excited in the first place. In a time where video gaming has its eyes on virtual reality, big-budget sequels, and indie darlings, I still have a soft spot for a nice turn-based role-playing game.

It’s not just Dragon Quest VIII either. I’ve been grinding away again on Persona 5, one of my top games of 2017. The core of its gameplay might be text navigation and turn-based battles, but it’s drenched in so much charm and style that it feels like I’m the director of a movie being projected onto my television screen. When I have a moment to let my brain relax and forget about life’s worries, I think about how much I love the characters in these games. I laugh and struggle with Ryuji, view the world differently with Yusuke, and remain open to new experiences with Makoto. It’s both weird and normal to view these characters as friends, or at least extensions thereof. It’s honestly more refreshing than blasting the head off of another space monster for the 10,000th time. (Don’t get me wrong, that’s fun as hell.)

DQXI_-_E3_-_13_bmp_jpgcopyI’ve read some reviews of Dragon Quest XI and I think this is the ideal moment for it, at least in my household. I have the desire for its world, the longing for its characters, and the unpredictable attention span for tapping a button over and over again to get mostly positive results. Years from now, when gaming is even more convenient and polished, I’ll be happy to look back at this time and know that I didn’t miss out on games like this. Even if they do get remastered two or three times.

I’ll be back with impressions of Dragon Quest XI after I put some hours into it. Until then, I’m loving these JPRG waves.

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