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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Square Enix
Developed by: Eighting/Square Enix
Genre: Action
Players: 1-2
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: February 19, 2008
Screenshots: Link!
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

For more than a year, the Nintendo Wii has been riding the popularity train that has taken them all the way to #1 in the console race. With more than 20 millions units sold worldwide, Square-Enix decided to join countless other third-party companies in releasing content for the console. However, unlike the other companies, Square-Enix is bringing one of the most popular franchises to the console, Dragon Quest. Coming off the successful release of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King for the PS2, Square-Enix is looking to continue the success train with their latest installment, Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirror. While not as in-depth as previous DQ titles, this 10-12 hour first-person RPG is easy to play, while not too demeaning towards fans of the series.

Having played previous DQ titles, I decided to give this Wii title a chance to see what it is all about. After spending a 30 minutes playing the game, I've come to the conclusion that you can't expect this game to be of the same caliber as DQVIII or previous installment of the series. Realizing that, comparison to previous installments will be left out of this review.

Most of the action takes place within a sparsely populated castle and village, with you being on a fixed path the whole time. You are not allowed to look in any direction but straight ahead. The primary reason why Square-Enix decided on the fixed viewing is because they felt it to be impossible to retain the visuals of the game if they offered up more freedom. For those gamers who have played games like Myst, expect the action to follow a similar fashion. Upon encountering an enemy, you will put the Wiimote to work my swinging it from side-to-side. These motions allow you to attack and block on-coming attacks, but don't expect to see an oncoming hand or weapon like FPS titles. Next to your enemies, the only thing that pops out on the screen is your companion, and that's when you need healing. Not stopping there, you have no control over the camera. Once you reach a dead end, instead of simply turning around, the game automatically warps you back to the fork in the road prior to making that wrong turn at Albuquerque.

The game also features a weapon upgrade system via the Weapon Shop. While these may seem like an addition to add some depth to the game, it really doesn’t help the game at all. Throughout the game, your character will only utilize various swords, which can be tempered via the weapon shops. This includes adding elemental power to your sword’s blade. However, while this may be appealing to gamers, you most likely won’t get too far into the upgrade system prior to completing the game.

Looking at the controls, you can tell that Square-Enix spent some time perfecting the motions of the Wiimote, thus allowing various slashing, lunging, blocking and deflecting to pulled off with precision. This requires gamers to actually play the game rather than just mindlessly swing the Wiimote with slashing motions. Once you master the attacks and knowing when to block, you will be able to build your Master-Stroke gauge, which is a useful maneuver. This move is not something you really have to use to get through the game, but if you do, it deals massive damage. In regards to navigation, game requires the player to use the D-pad on the Wiimote. While I don’t mind the use of the D-pad, it seems that the movement could have been controlled much better via the analog stick on the Nunchuck.

Though the limited view is sure not to sit well with some, as a positive outlook on the game, the visuals are some of the best on the Wii console. The environments are rather impressive, with character models that are pure heaven, compliments of Toriyama. The battles are rather engaging as the enemies become more and more difficult to deal with, which will require the important use of item management within the game. CG work is also used from time to time to help move the story along and keep the gamer engulfed into the game. With the audio, Eighting did a pretty good job of putting in some engaging, yet enchanting tunes and scores that keep the action interesting. While most games of a similar budget wouldn’t of had this much thought and development time invested into the audio, they made sure to include subtle things like your character footsteps echoing out the Wiimote. The game also boast a solid delivering of VO. While in the same boat as Wild ARMs 5, Eighting makes sure that the gamer doesn’t get board with the cast of characters. Overall, a sound job was done to maintain the visual and audio presentation.

Dragon Quest Swords isn't something you easily compare to Dragon Quest VIII, which many will try to do. However, when you take this game for what it is, a one-sitting DQ RPG, you will realize that this game is a pretty solid title. Solid graphics, tight controls, and an interesting take on the first-person perspective makes this Dragon Quest title that is perfect for the masses.


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