Among the other big name developers pledging support to Nintendo’s duo of top-selling systems is Square Enix, who is bringing two games in the popular Dragon Quest series to the DS and Wii.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker stars a young hero whose goal is to be the greatest monster battler ever. The premise is similar to Pokemon only instead of cute, plushy monsters, he’s out to capture and use iconic Dragon Quest monsters. This includes low-level monsters like slimes all the way up to more powerful monsters like golems. One of the neat additions to DQ Monsters' monster capturing system is that it will make use of a day and night cycle – so certain monsters will only come out at certain times.
Battles play out similar to most turn-based RPGs, only instead of playing an active role in the battle, you order a party of three monsters. One twist to combat is that you can either call out individual orders to certain monsters or give general tactics and allow the monsters to determine how they’ll handle battle. For example, you can order an all-out attack or tell them to stick to only a few move types. You switch between the two order types at anytime, which should offer lots of room for varying tactics and should keep battles entertaining.
The types of commands at your disposal will, of course, depend greatly on what type of monsters are in your crew. Snagging new monsters isn’t as easy as trapping them in a Poke’ball; instead you need to impress potential party members. Some are impressed by the types of attacks you use, while others will judge you based on other monsters in your party.
Though DQ Monsters will boast an extensive single-player quest, it will also include head-to-head multiplayer using the DS’s WiFi capabilities. Not only does it allow you to battle your friend’s monsters, but the game also features a mode where you’ll be able to challenge any other players in the area.
While DS players will battle monsters with their own kind, Wii players will be able to stick to good ole’ fashioned steel with Dragon Quest Swords.
Dragon Quest Swords takes a different approach by combining the elements of an RPG with the action similar to an on-rails shooter. As you travel from town-to-town and through dungeons, you’ll follow a set path (you can move forward and back using the D-pad) littered with monsters intent on making your journey a rough one. When in battle, you swing the Wii-mote like a sword using one of three slashes; diagonal, horizontal or vertical. You can also lock on to a particular region of the screen, which will become useful when taking on multiple enemies. Defense is handled similar to attacks, only you hold down the (B) button when attacking.
Though combat is one of the game’s major focus points, it isn’t the entire game. Dragon Quest Swords also includes role-playing elements like experience, equipment and a deep story.
Whether you choose to jump right in and handle your own fights or would rather others do your fighting for you, Square Enix has something for both player types. Look for Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker for the DS and Dragon Quest Swords for the Wii later this year.