first_img Interview: Dragon Quest XI’s Developers On How They Created a Living WorldGeek Plays: Dragon Quest XI I’m a fan of Japanese Role Playing Games but I’ve never gotten around to playing a Dragon Quest title. This is shameful considering how important the series is to the JRPG genre. This oversight has been corrected now that I’ve played Dragon Quest XI. Though I initially didn’t have it on my radar, it has become one of my favorite games of 2018. Ni No Kuni II and Octopath Traveller are fantastic, but this title gives me exactly what I want from the genre. Dragon Quest XI is not only the best JRPG of the year, but one of the greatest JRPGs of all time. As far as I’m concerned, it is a modern-day classic.Dragon Quest XI features turn-based combat, level-based progression, a world rooted in Medieval/Feudal fantasy, and a story about good versus evil. Basically, things you’ve seen in JRPGs a thousand times over. However, these tropes are delivered with a level of confidence and conviction few others can match. In a world where RPGs have grown ever more complicated, it’s refreshing to play something which focuses on the basics. As a guy who loves Budweiser beer, vanilla ice cream, and plain pizza, Dragon Quest XI’s simplicity is right up my alley.Like previous entries, Dragon Quest XI stars a silent protagonist destined to save the world from an all-powerful evil being. During his quest, he finds eccentric allies who share his goal of restoring peace to the world. This is the de facto hero’s journey tale, and one you’ve seen or read many times over, especially in other Dragon Quest games. This isn’t a problem, however, given how expertly this well-worn tale is presented.What Dragon Quest XI lacks in originality, it makes up for in personality. This is by far one of the most charming games I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I use the word “pleasure” on purpose because that’s exactly what I feel when playing. The most obvious thing that makes Dragon Quest XI so appealing is the distinctive art style of Akira Toriyama. I cannot forget the sweeping orchestrations of Koichi Sugiyama, which just add to the overall warm and inviting atmosphere. The presentation just makes you feel good.Unlike the original Japanese release of Dragon Quest XI, the Western version features full voice acting during cutscenes and cinemas. All of the actors do a wonderful job of bringing their respective characters to life. Every one of them feels like a real person. It’s clear no one phoned in their lines. English dubs of Japanese RPGs aren’t always pleasing to the ear but Dragon Quest XI‘s voice acting is exemplary.Dragon Quest XI uses Unreal Engine 4 to bring its world and characters to life. Visually, the art style is both simple and detailed. Characters, NPCs, and monsters are all cell shaded. However, they don’t have the simple textures found in other cell shaded titles. You can see details like the stitching in clothing, scales on a dragon’s hide, and even individual hair strands. The clean but meticulous art style makes for one of the most unique looking JRPGs out there.The same attention to detail applies to the overall world. From dense forests, sun-drenched deserts, snowy tundras, towering mountain tops, and vast oceans, the world is a visual marvel. Each town is also carefully constructed. I love how they’re all based on real-world cities, just with a JRPG twist. Town is further brought to life thanks to the citizens inhabiting them. Every NPC feels like they have a place in the world, and thus make the towns feel believable. Trust me when I say my words do not do the world of Dragon Quest XI justice. It is stunning to behold.Exploring the world is quite enjoyable. The reason is the amount of options available to players. They can jump on top of objects or climb ledges and ladders. Some areas are only accessible when riding on top of a monster. I don’t think I need to explain why using a defeated bad guy as a mount is awesome. Exploration in RPGs isn’t always simple since your characters have limited movement. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here. The game wants you to actively explore and gives you the tools to facilitate that.In most RPGs, monsters are simply things you kill for experience. You don’t exactly grow an attachment to them. That isn’t the case with Dragon Quest XI. Every single enemy: from adorable slimes to fearsome dragons, is a joy to look upon. It’s clear the art team went out of their way to give monsters distinct designs and animations. I always look forward to visiting new areas just to see the types of creatures inhabiting the land.Like its predecessors, Dragon Quest XI features turn-based combat. This might seem odd to some, especially since most modern RPGs have real-time battles. While real-time combat has its merits, I’m a fan of turn-based battles myself. There’s a level of strategy native to turn-based gameplay that real-time simply doesn’t possess. Given how Dragon Quest gave birth to the modern JRPG genre, it’s no surprise Dragon Quest XI’s turn-based battles are a thing of pure perfection.Despite the turn-based nature, battles feel incredibly dynamic. This is due in large part to the way the camera moves during combat. It zooms in, pulls back, and pans in a way that emphasizes each attack and action. The camera, both literally and figuratively, places you in the middle of the fight. Even though you’re taking turns, there’s a wonderful sense of tension and momentum in each encounter. The character and enemy animations also make every battle feel alive and vibrant.In addition to attacks and magic, every character has “pep” abilities. Pepped characters gain bonuses to strength, agility, magic, and so forth. If multiple characters are in pep mode simultaneously, they can unleash powerful attacks or give each other beneficial boosts. On top of that, there are the character-specific skills one can unleash. The various attacks and abilities one has to choose from keep things engaging. At the same time, players will never feel bogged down by an overabundance of options.Unlike most RPGs, you do not battle in an approximation of the surrounding environment. You fight enemies in the same spot you initiate combat (or close to it). What I like about this is that you can clearly see what’s around you. There were many times where I spotted a treasure chest or other points of interest during battle. You can also see other groups of enemies in the background, helping you strategize which foes to fight next. The large draw distance makes all of this possible. It’s probably a small thing for most, but being able to ascertain my surroundings during combat is a huge plus.In addition to earning levels, you also gain skill points. With these, you can select from some different skills to use in battle. Each skill has its own branching path. A character may have skill trees for swords, greatswords, magic, and so on. You can place points in every section, or you can focus on particular abilities. I find it best to have characters specialize in two or three categories. This way, you can better utilize their abilities. If a certain character is needed for a specific encounter, you can swap them in at any time. There’s no need to make anyone a jack-of-all-trades when specialists are substantially superior.If you’re not happy with the way a character is progressing, you can always go to a church and reallocate skills. This gives players an incentive to experiment with different weapons and abilities to see what suits them best. One must pay gold to reallocate abilities, but money isn’t exactly hard to come by. A lot of games force you into distinct roles for characters or punish you for not selecting the right skills. I appreciate how Dragon Quest XI truly lets players come up with their ideal builds. In keeping with the simplicity of the overall mechanics, redoing skills is relatively hassle-free.You’ll need to buy armor, weapons, and accessories to survive battles. Like most JRPGs, each town you visit has better (and more expensive) equipment than the last. It makes one wonder how the citizens of the final towns manage to afford living in them… but I digress. Like with other aspects of this game, selecting the items you need doesn’t require a master’s degree. If it has better stats, then you should probably buy it. There’s not a lot of thinking involved. However, like character progression, you can get more in-depth with equipment types if you want.Early on, you’ll receive the Fun-Size Forge. With it, you’re able to craft all kinds of items. It doesn’t require money, but you will need different materials and recipe books. Recipes are usually found within red books sitting on bookshelves. The forge is straightforward. You select what type of weapon, armor, or accessories you want to create. If you have the necessary materials, these items automatically go into the forge. Then you must “bang” the steel until it takes on the desired shape. The associated mini-game is interesting since you have to make sure you don’t strike a section too many times and create a dud. As you level up, so do your forging skills.Players who want to craft the very best pieces of equipment will no doubt love the Fun-Size Forge. While I definitely see the appeal of this feature, I rarely used it to make weapons. I found it easier to simply buy whatever I needed. Even though the Fun-Size Forge is very user-friendly, I personally saw no need for it. But like I said, if you want to make custom weapons and accessories then the forge is the way to go.Level grinding is an essential part of most JRPGs. If you don’t want powerful monsters wrecking you, then you’ll need to spend time fighting weaker creatures to become stronger. This is also true in Dragon Quest XI. Thankfully, level grinding doesn’t feel like a chore. Every new area has monsters which give you a decent return in experience points. It usually only takes an hour or two to gain three to four levels. Individual battles never last long, which makes grinding efficient. You also have the option to forgo level grinding (especially in the beginning) if you just want to play through the story. If you do need to gain more levels to progress, characters will let you know.RPGs, especially old ones, aren’t always user-friendly. That isn’t the case here. There are various quality-of-life features implemented to help streamline the experience. Players can save in churches found in each town. In the field, they can save by praying to statues and use nearby camps to restore HP and MP. When entering new locations, the game autosaves. One can instantly travel to previously visited areas by using the Zoom ability. Long cinemas are skippable, and when level grinding, you can set combat to Auto-Battle. None of these features are substantial on their own. Combined, they make life easier for the user and prevents things from becoming needlessly frustrating.Outside of the main quest, there’s a number of diversionary activities to partake in. You can spend time at a casino or participate in horse races. Each town has citizens who ask for favors, and there are dozens of hidden Small Medals to collect across the world. Completing side quests earns you gold or unique items. While there’s a good number of optional content, it isn’t an overwhelming amount. The focus is on the main adventure, after all. But if you want to indulge inside activities, there’s plenty to find out there. Keep in mind that additional quests open up after the credits roll. Needless to say, you’re getting your money’s worth regarding content.I’m very happy Dragon Quest XI was my introduction to this classic series. It really is one of the most pleasurable gaming experiences I’ve had this year. Amplifying this feeling is the fact I wasn’t expecting even to play it. I know previous Dragon Quest installments won’t give me exactly what this title delivers, but I do at least want to see what I’ve been missing. If you’re a long-time fan of Dragon Quest, then I don’t need to convince you of this game’s excellence. However, if you’re like me and have never played a title in the franchise, then I implore you to try out Dragon Quest XI. It is truly a special title.Dragon Quest is a beloved franchise both here and abroad. We visited a Dragon Quest convenience store in Akihabara. And Japan has honored the game with its own monument in Sumoto. If you own a switch try out Dragon Quest Builders, you’ll love it more than Minecraft. Plus follow all the Dragon Quest updates here.Buy it now!Nintendo SwitchProtect Your Nintendo Switch With These Awesome CasesLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetlast_img read more

first_imgSouth African Tourism appoints FCB South AfricaSouth African Tourism today announced the appointment of FCB South Africa (PTY) LTD as its Lead Marketing Agency in the execution of its mandate to market South Africa as a tourist destination of choice to both domestic and international tourists.FCB South Africa’s appointment is on a non-exclusive basis to provide SA Tourism with the development and execution of integrated marketing services, media buying, planning and coordination services globally for a period of 3 years effective 1 October 2015. The contract is extendable for a further 2 years at the sole discretion of South African Tourism.The tender process was completed having full regard for all laws and regulations governing supply chain management in the public sector with specific reference to Section 51 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), Act 1 of 1999.South African Tourism’s Internal Audit unit played an oversight role during each of the stages of the tender process to ensure that roles, responsibilities and processes were executed in unison of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and National Treasury Regulations to ensure that all relevant aspects were addressed and complied with.Thulani Nzima, SA Tourism’s Chief Executive Officer says: “We are very excited as SA Tourism to have FCB South Africa come on board as a Lead Marketing Agency at this critical point when we are aligning our international and domestic marketing strategies to speak in uniformity to the South African Tourism brand. We are operating in a very competitive environment that requires a well-defined brand that has global appeal and affinity, is consistently and seamlessly communicated and marketed, and has the impetus to attract tourists to our beautiful country.FCB South Africa is widely regarded in the industry for building some of South Africa’s iconic brands and we are excited of our new partnership in taking tourism forward.”Thulani concludes: “We are thrilled with the new partnership that we envisage will strengthen our brand, making it more recognisable and appealing to both domestic and international tourists. We believe that the strength of our brand will attract more tourists to our shores and contribute to the growth of our economy and job creation.”Source = South African Tourismlast_img read more