1. In 1986, Dragon Quest was released in Japan, spawning the series that defined Japanese role-playing video games by Yuji Hori.
2. Erik is the first party member you meet. He’s spectacular.
3. There is a demo available right now on every platform (Switch, PC, Xbox, PS) that features the first 10 hours of the game. Your progress will carry over, so it is completely free for you to get excited for December 4th when the game releases.
4. Dragon Quest XI S - Echoes of an Elusive Age: Definitive Edition has appended both the “S” and “Definitive Edition” for the new release. While this might seem redundant, the “S” actually stands for “Switch,” being the enhanced Nintendo Switch version of the game as well as the Definitive Edition release.
6. The Definitive Edition/S release of the game features significant new story chapters, enhanced quality of life features, the optional orchestrated soundtrack, and:
7. You can play in the retro-loving, nostalgia-tugging 2D Mode.
8. The vast majority of my sweeping, grandiose statements are made with the silent agreement that you don’t take my words too seriously. Yet, I say this with the highest conviction of anything I have typed in my entire life: the cast of playable characters within Dragon Quest XI are the single greatest group of fictional protagonists that a video game has contained, patiently developed, and triumphantly flaunted. They might actually be perfect.
9. There’s a dedicated button to chill with them.
10. I have not spoiled the twists and spirals of Dragon Quest XI’s plot for you, and I probably never will. However, based on the target demographic of this article being people who are right on the edge of diving into the world of DQ, I can’t help but feel required to tantalize you a little with the most broad, unspoiler-filled wordage possible. Let’s just say that the “face value” superficially presenting the cartoonish, fairytale-esque friendliness present within marketing material is a delicate scratch on the wider surface of the full narrative.
11. According to an urban myth, Dragon Quest titles are always released on Japanese weekends to prevent the downfall of the national economy.
12. Toriyama’s Slime design perfected the design of the “slime” archetype, making the happy little blue guy into a globally recognized icon.
13. If you played the original release of Dragon Quest XI on PlayStation 4 or PC, you will love the aforementioned additions to the Definitive Edition. (It’s more than you think.)
14. If you have not played the original release of Dragon Quest XI on PlayStation 4 or PC but have previously experienced a Dragon Quest title, the friendly companionship of recurring themes in the series will welcome you with open arms to the latest entry. It is littered with homages to previous titles, and if you have played any of the first three numbered DQ games, it is possible that the mindblow resulting from DQXI might actually kill you.
15. If you have never played a Dragon Quest game at all, there is no better place to start than XI.
16. It’s so charming.
17. While each title is a self-contained experience, Dragon Quest thrives on familiarity. Because of this, it manages to retroactively implant nostalgia upon your soul. If you start playing Dragon Quest XI S now, you will experience unparalleled euphoria when playing the newest installment twenty years from now.
18. You can name the protagonist anything that you want. Seriously‒unlike many protagonists with mostly-canonical names, guilting you into naming your save file “Link,” the Hero of DQXIS can be named anything you want. You’ll probably use your own name, but you can call him Billy! (Many enthusiasts refer to the DQXI hero as “Eleven,” but that’s boring.)
19. It is a modern game transported out of the golden age of Japanese role-playing games. It’s familiar, confident, and intelligently designed, and plays off of the expectations that arise from these attributes.
20. The very first game revealed for the Nintendo Switch (codenamed ‘NX’) was Dragon Quest XI. I wield a rapidly vanishing memory. However, one memory remains from July 28, 2015; I played Splatoon for exactly 1 hour and 57 minutes. Within that span of a couple hours, I opened the Youtube app on my phone and scrolled down the recommended feed. I read “Dragon Quest XI Coming to Nintendo NX!” under a plain video thumbnail with a white background and temporary logos. My scrolling stopped as I consumed this instance of 2015 video game journalism and smiled internally as I set the phone down, picked back up the Wii U Gamepad, and dreamed of the idea of a new Splatoon game on the Nintendo NX.
22. It has spectacular cosmetics. And it’s not the loot box kind, it’s the real, fun kind.
23. Late president of Nintendo Japan, Satoru Iwata, was directly responsible for Dragon Quest XI landing on Switch, alongside the enhancements that the developers felt obligated to fulfil. Sadly, Iwata was not with us when the game ultimately released, but his personal request to Square Enix gave the Switch one of its best titles.
24. Playing Dragon Quest XI S can make you a better person. Game design with the rigidity of four decades of knowledge compounded into a modern turn-based video game manifests as a lesson in delayed gratification. Every increasingly minute detail of the spiraling, expanding, deceptively-simple game systems alongside the unraveling epic tapestry of a narrative is built to shape your unconscious into a better, more patient individual.
25. While collecting images for this article, it took one second of scrolling for me to stumble into a screenshot of the final boss. Spoilers spread like a patient plague. They will inevitably come for you. The only antidote is playing the game for yourself.
27. Acclaimed Japanese manga artist and character designer, most well-known for Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama, has maintained his stylistic magic on the series, nearly four decades in.
28. It’s launching immediately on Game Pass, the best deal in gaming! That means if you’re a subscriber to the service and own either an Xbox or a PC, the entire game is free! That’s zero dollars!
29. Tockles are little spirit-like, translucent, adorable armed-blobs that act in parallel to Breath of the Wild’s Koroks; they are everywhere.
30. If you’re playing on PlayStation 4/5 or Nintendo Switch and don’t have access to the Game Pass version, you’ll still get a killer deal as it is launching at $40. (The Switch version is still $60 MSRP, but when the new release is out, it will probably drop to $40 or below.)
31. “Dragon Quest XI is one of the best video games I have ever played. I would rank it somewhere beneath Super Mario Brothers 3 in terms of greatness.” -Tim Rogers
32. Finding Tockles around the world unlocks access to Tockington which contains time travelling storybooks that may or may not teleport the party to the worlds of every past Dragon Quest game.
33. No random encounters exist within the 3D overworld or dungeons of Dragon Quest XI S. You can avoid every enemy that you don’t desire to fight. If you’re a weirdo that enjoys random encounters because you miss being eight and having your biggest worry be that mirror you broke last week, the 2D mode features random encounters in classic RPG fashion.
34. There is a Japanese voice option if you’re into that kind of thing.
35. Serena and Veronica.
36. Casinos are featured within a few of the towns. Each gambling game might have as much complexity as the combat itself. At first, the casinos scared me due to the slot machine having several pages of instructions. After spending over ten hours in one casino area, they scare me even more.
37. The Dragon Quest series is the forefather responsible for every JRPG, laying the groundwork for the entire roleplaying genre. I’m not exaggerating when I say that your favorite video game more than likely drew a lot of design inspiration from Dragon Quest, either directly or indirectly. The Witcher, Persona, Dark Souls, and Earthbound wouldn’t exist without Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest XI S also wouldn’t exist without Dragon Quest!
39. Dragon Quest games are bedtime stories, you can play it before bed or after a warm bath. Each plot point splits the adventure into television episode-like chapters that gently suggest that you take a break until tomorrow. Because of this, you might enjoy the game most on the Nintendo Switch, but consuming your bedtime story will be pleasing regardless of the platform of choice.
40. I want you to! Imagine that I’m smiling at you right now, but not too aggressively. Just in a way that shows that I care about you and want you to experience the same joy that myself and the other millions of Dragon Quest XI buyers have.