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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Dragon Quest Treasures Gameplay Overview Trailer

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'd much rather play this than a certain other thematically similar RPG that will release in November.

I would like to apologise for not providing consistent coverage on DRAGON QUEST TREASURES. As far as I know, Samantha Lienhard has done a decent job with that on her site, writing about the world and story as well as the gameplay loop. These are based on updates from SQUARE ENIX. Well, a summary is that you can play as either Erik or Mia, and they're the young kids (and siblings) portrayed in the DRAGON QUEST XI flashbacks. They don't want to be with their Viking masters and would instead want to go on their own adventure to get treasure. However—and it's unclear if DRAGON QUEST TREASURES will be a canon game—two magic creatures named Porcus (the pig, who likes Mia) and Purrsula (the cat, who likes Erik) appear to take a dreamy Erik and Mia to Draconia, a treasure-filled world that's separate from Erdrea.

Here's a brand-new trailer that explains gameplay (and some story):

I see it as quite a bit like Pikmin where you need to command local creatures with different exploration and combat abilities for the purpose of finding and collecting treasure and bringing it back to your base (and read fun descriptions of the treasure). It'd be way closer to Pikmin if you could switch between Erik and Mia and they're both existing in the overworld at the same time and you need to use them together to solve puzzles, but that's not part of the gameplay depicted in the trailer or any other information. So I guess I gotta get that off my head—the trailer specifically refers to DRAGON QUEST TREASURES as an RPG, not as a strategy game. What is present is charming and likable.

I find what's presented to be similar to Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet's multiple story objectives, though DRAGON QUEST TREASURES never claims its stories are separate or that it's an open-borders game. But the former does have a treasure-hunting focus alongside a beat-the-villains focus, and DRAGON QUEST TREASURES has that rival gang at the end. And there's seven Dragon Stones and eight gym badges, you know.

Dragon Quest Treasures Madame Chez Blancmange welcome bite to eat pink slime
Allegedly, “Bienvenu, chéri!” means “Welcome darling!” Madame Blancmange is more authentic than Jean Armstrong, at least.

Back to my Pikmin comparison, I think something different about DRAGON QUEST TREASURES is that I'm pretty sure there's an infinite number of treasures available and you can keep grinding for treasure, including higher-quality versions of the same treasure. With Pikmin, the world is carefully crafted with a finite, defined number of treasure. I'm not quite sure how I feel about DRAGON QUEST TREASURES's approach. It's probably one of those “you can play forever and there isn't a real ending where you stop” type of deals? Or maybe the game will actually make you go along with the plotline closer than the trailer presents. It might actually be like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon where there is a gripping storyline but you can screw around with infinitely occurring missions and player-defined quests in-between and after the story beats to keep increasing your rank and prestige.

If I'm going to spend this whole article comparing DRAGON QUEST TREASURES to other games, the part of the trailer (and this seems to be a core gameplay mechanic, though I'm not sure what's supposed to be so compelling about it) with the monsters’ treasure visions reminds me of the hidden stars in Super Mario Odyssey that you needed to use Switch News articles to find. I never successfully found any of those and I absolutely hated that was ever a thing. I'm sure these treasure visions are going to be handled better, though I'm not sure what the visions add to the game to begin with.

DRAGON QUEST TREASURES comes out December 9 this year. I really want to see them touch on how Mia and Erik interact in-game, since they clearly do so in cutscenes but you only control one of them. I liked the party chats in DRAGON QUEST XI—maybe that'll still be a thing.

DRAGON QUEST TREASURES isn't a must-have must-play game for Ludwig, but he can't help but be interested in what is a spin-off of his favourite RPG on the Switch. He probably isn't going to get it on release day though, but it can be in his list of things to buy eventually.

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