Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below Review

A dash of Warriors, a sprinkle of Dragon Quest

Dragon Quest Heroes

The Verdict

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below is a fantastic Warriors game, but it's also a pretty great Dragon Quest game. Like I've stated before, Omega Force shows great care and attention when it comes to producing spin-off games, and in recent cases, these spin-offs, such as Pirate Warriors 3 and Hyrule Warriors, are better than a majority of the core Warriors titles.

It's a must-play for Warriors fans and Dragon Quest fans alike, but I wouldn't discount fans of neither. This seems like a perfect gateway title for those who might want to give these kinds of games a shot.

Dragon Quest Heroes

The Positives

  • The look of the game is decidedly Dragon Quest. Akira Toriyama's character, enemy and world designs shine through brilliantly. In fact, if someone didn't know this was a Warriors spin-off, it might have been mistaken for a core Dragon Quest title, especially when roaming around the hub town or airship.

  • Likewise, the soundtrack composed by Koichi Sugiyama, the original composer for Dragon Quest, is absolutely stellar. Combined with original Dragon Quest sound effects, you could blindfold yourself, and easily recognize the franchise (at least, assuming you're already familiar with it).

  • The combat feels satisfying. Even though the two original characters are essentially clones of one another, one being ice, the other fire element, the rest of the cast has a wonderfully diverse pallet of attacks.

  • Magic was incorporated perfectly. Each character has access to four spells that can be leveled up, and cast if you have the appropriate MP. All you have to do is hold down either R1 or R2 (based on your settings) and press the appropriate face button. It's extremely satisfying to watch enemies get swept up in an icy tornado, or slammed down by a fiery sword attack.

  • Replacing Musou attacks is Tension, though mechanically it works about the same. Once the gauge fills up, with the press of the Circle button, your character powers up, allowing them to attack faster, and continually spam magic attacks without consuming MP. While the gauge is active, you can unleash a Tension finisher that for the most part acts as a screen clearing move. They look appropriately epic, and in Toriyama fashion, the characters almost look like they go Super Saiyan.

  • Since the characters have no sprint speed, nor mounts, it makes sense then that the maps aren't as huge as other Warriors titles. This makes traversing them less of a hassle, and you can easily cover enough ground in a short amount of time, even if you need to get to the other side of the map to defend a capture point.

  • You can take four characters with you in a party, and freely switch between them with the press of L2. This is fantastic as it allows for some strategic play based on each character's specialty.

  • While the roster of characters is going under the negatives section, the silver lining is that each of them feel quite different from one another, each one having a different battle focus. While Warriors games are generally associated with button-mashing, there is a whole lot of strategy involved based on each character's skillset.

  • Another layer of strategy comes in the form of Monster Medals. These random drops can then be used during battle, and provide either offensive help depending on where they're used, or as support items providing the party with various buffs. The Medals are invaluable in certain missions, as you'll often need to defend multiple places. Placing down an offensive Monster Medal will plant that monster there and defend that spot from oncoming enemies. It's sort of like a mini tower defense game.

Dragon Quest Heroes

  • In-between missions, you can walk around the hub, which at first is a little settlement, but then shifts to a castle-sized airship called Stonecloud

  • This is where a majority of the character interactions happen. It's cool to watch both the original four characters, as well as the cast of returning Dragon Quest veterans interact with one another. Doubly so for finally giving some characters voices who have never had them before, and also for returning voice actors for characters like Yangus.

  • It's a testament to both great character design and characterization that the four original characters can stand on their own, in a series that's usually dependent on crossing over popular characters.

  • Even locations get a nice sprinkle of lore when first uncovered by the Stonecloud. For example, upon Colissea, the two recruits then give a brief backstory, kicking off a banter with King Doric as he boasts about his victories in the coliseum. It's a small detail, but a nice one.

  • You can simply be a Dragon Quest fan, or simply be a Warriors fan to appreciate the game. Hell, I'd even wager this title is a good entry point for skeptics of Warriors games.

The Negatives

  • The character roster is much smaller compared to other Warriors games. In fact, there are only 13 playable characters, with four of them being original characters designed for the game. Such is usually the nature of new Warriors spin-offs, which the sequel, that was already announced for Japan, will most likely rectify.

  • The story might be a little too cliche, with a too-literal take on the Light vs. Dark. But hey, I guess that's DQ's more lighthearted tone.

The Dragon Quest series, though filled with many mainline entries, as well as an MMO, don't necessarily make a huge splash here in the US. It's a shame, since the somewhat lighthearted adventures would complement Final Fantasy's more serious nature. And yet, somehow, someone, somewhere greenlighted the Dynasty Warriors spin-off, Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below.

It's incredibly clear that Omega Force has a knack for crafting not only core Warriors games, but the spin-offs as well. In fact, the spin-offs seem to be outclassing the base games, not only in visual design, but also unique gameplay aspects. Hyrule Warriors could have just been a Dynasty Warriors game with a Zelda skin, but it actually married the two franchises, borrowing gameplay elements from both. Dragon Quest Heroes, which I will no longer refer to by its mouthful of a name, does essentially the same. You're still presented with the same core Warriors-style gameplay, dispatching hundreds, if not thousands of monsters in a given area, but infused with a Dragon Quest flavor.

What's unique about this spin-off is that the game doesn't rely on dimension hopping characters to bring them all together. While it is revealed that the locations where certain characters are from aren't part of the world you're in, there is no hint at inter-dimensional hopping.

Let's take a look at what Dragon Quest Heroes does well, what's lacking, and our final verdict.

The Positives / The Negatives

The Verdict