No doubt about it, Square Enix is making something magical with Dragon Quest XI. You can dive into the technicalities of graphics and argue that photorealism trumps all, but with each trailer and screenshot showing how is shaping up, it’s hard for me to think that anything else can even compare at the moment.
It’s one thing to make a game like Horizon Zero Dawn or Spider-Man look good in today’s video game world because, let’s face it, everything looks good. Ugly video games just don’t exist on a mainstream level anymore. Those two blockbusters look great, but they also look like everything else that’s out there.
The only thing Dragon Quest XI looks like another Dragon Quest game. The challenge of taking a thirty-year-old art style and breathing new life into it, making it seem fresh all over again, is on an entirely different level than making just another pretty AAA game. That’s exactly what we have going on here, the most recent incarnation of Dragon Quest’s immortal art style elevated to unrivaled heights thanks to the powers of the PlayStation 4.
Dragon Quest XI is the best looking game in development not on a technical front, but rather, because there is nothing else like it nor is there any game that remains so faithful to its legacy. Tucked away in these screenshots is thirty years of trends, tropes, and design choices, all of which are far more brilliant than you’ve ever seen before.
First, we’ll just look at this trailer, which introduces us to how the hero of our game was born, and boy oh boy, is he a cute baby or what?
Then we have the first batch of PlayStation 4 screenshots.
And if these are not enough, then here are a few more screenshots for the Nintendo 3DS version as well. This version is a bit more charming than it is visually impressive.
Dragon Quest XI was released for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 4 on July 29 in Japan. A Nintendo Switch version is also in development. Square Enix will publish the game in the Western world in 2018.