Although Dragon Quest XII is a sprawling game with an open world, it has some dire need of innovation, according to major game critics. The latest entry in the tradition JRPG game series came under the spotlight again with the announcement of Dragon Quest XII S Definitive Edition for the Nintendo Switch. While this version of the game is announced to be the final version of the game, some critics and newcomers to the series are questioning whether the new edition can bring enough change to the game to address common concerns.
While almost perfect for the series’ fans, Dragon Quest XII has some missteps that are hard to overlook: for one thing, it is apparently open world title, but this is misleading, as the game is very linear and each area must be unlocked, which means that the player is forced to follow the linear path set down by the game’s developers. While this may not be an important issue for hardcore fans of JRPGs, who may have been familiar with this from FFX and FFXIII, this is a serious obstacle for newcomers who may feel disappointed by the deceptive open world game design.
Secondly, the game surprisingly lacks some quality music, and the ones that are in the game are all midi soundtracks, which can become jarring considering that Dragon Quest is a long game, with a minimum of 70 hours play time to be spent for the main story alone. This become even more problematic when it becomes apparent that there is an orchestral score somewhere, but the developers want you to purchase it separately—hence the limited midi soundtracks and no orchestral score in the game. The orchestral pieces will be in the Switch version, however, which begs the question as to why they weren’t in the game in the first place.
Dragon Quest is a beloved franchise and this latest game is also a fascinating experience, however it is bogged down by some of these design choices. Will the Switch version bring enough to the table to warrant a second purchase? For long time fans, this might be a definitive yes, but for everyone else, the stakes are up.