This is not the Dragon Quest game you are looking for, wait, before you stop reading this review let me explain what that sentence really means. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below (which might just be one of the longest titles in history) isn't your typical Dragon Quest game but there is enough Dragon Quest lore in here for any fan to still appreciate it. Still not making sense? Then keep reading our review of Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below
Omega Force is best known for its work on the famous Dynasty Warriors franchise, so if you take the concept of a Dynasty Warrior game and add the Dragon Quest lore to it you are close to what Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below includes. Now add music by Koichi Sugiyama and the beautiful art of Akira Toriyama and you are close to figuring out what this game is all about.
Before this release there was another known franchise that got its Dynasty Warrior gameplay slapped across it which was the Hyrule Warriors, which took the Zelda franchise and added the gameplay of Dynasty Warriors to great success, so Omega Force knocked heads and figured the best way to go from here was to include the Dragon Quest franchise into the mix and see how well that turned out. And here we are, Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below is a hack-and-slash, single-player action game with Dragon Quest elements sprinkled on top.
Monsters and humans have coexisted for years in the land of Arba until one day, during a outdoor party, when a black cloud suddenly blows through the town and in the process turning the previously friendly monsters into...well... monsters! But evil ones! So you get to choose from two characters right off the bat, Luceus the strategist of the group who never seems to stop talking, or the straight-into-action Aurora who usually are well into battle before Luceus is finished strategizing what they should do next. On top of that you get King Doric on your team to help out.
As you progress through the story, more and more of the gameplay aspects, characters and special moves are unlocked, and it is nice to have such a upbeat unlocking process of different elements in a game that basically consists of you entering a map, and having to plough through multiple hordes of enemies to either clear the map or guard something in the process. As you unlock new characters the game gets more interesting as you can swap out your party members before battle and switch back and forth between them during combat.
However, it is hard sometimes to get behind a story when the story makes absolutely no sense, this is the case with this release, because when you boil it down, the hacking down of previously friendly monsters without any form of guilt is kind of weird. The story aspect of the Dragon Quest series is its bloodline and why it has managed to gather such a huge following but the story and the reason behind what you are currently doing is so bare-boned that it makes absolutely no sense and there is no real push to follow it through.
But since this is a Dynasty Warrior version of the world the story has never been the backbone or the reason as to why people love those games so if you look at it like a Dynasty Warrior game it makes sense and can be enjoyed a lot easier, however if you are coming for the Dragon Quest part of the game you might be disappointed as the story is not, by any means, the reason to play the game. If I had a saying in how this product turned out I would focus less on the Dynasty Warrior part of the game and more on the story related to the Dragon Quest series, but it is what it is.
The problem however with lacking a good story in a game like this is that it not only gives us a reason to keep fighting even though the combat might become repetitive, because we want to see the story through but when the story is lacking it sadly becomes a chore at times. And when it comes to the world and how you explore it there is little to no room for that here, as exploration isn’t really all that rewarding. You usually get a chest when you finish a mission but besides that enemies drop coins or items which annoyingly doesn’t get vacuum up by the player and usually ends up with you missing a bunch of the loot simply because you are too busy ploughing through hordes of enemies, whenever you kill them all though you can choose to go back and pick them up before they disappear but when you take into consideration the amount of backtracking you already are doing in the game it usually becomes another chore.
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below is more of an homage to Dynasty Warrior fans than Dragon Quest fans, so if you are a huge Dynasty Warriors fan then you might want to check out some gameplay of the game, however if you are all about Dragon Quest then you might want to do some research before you throw your money at the game thinking with a name like that it has to live up to the name, because sadly it doesn't. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below is a mixed bag and it all boils down to what you are interested in, if the answer is Dynasty Warriors then check it our, if the answer is Dragon Quest then you might want to hold off until the next numeral release in the series drops.