Dragon Quest Swords Hands-On

Square Enix unsheathes its slick Wii Dragon Quest game. Slimes beware.

MAKUHARI, Japan--One of the centers of activity here at Square Enix's 2007 Party is a booth containing more than a dozen kiosks with a playable version of Dragon Quest Swords. The upcoming action game was announced last year and gives players the chance to roam through the rich Dragon Quest universe and stab anything that crosses their path. We had the chance to grab ourselves a Wii Remote and get our Nintendo-powered hacking and slashing on with the promising game.

The demo on display appears to offer players a chance to try one facet of the whole game experience, adventuring. Before the Square reps by every kiosk handed over the remote, they quickly zipped through what appears to be a large town with non-player characters to chat with and prime you to leave the settlement. Once you leave, via the massive town gate, you'll come to a 2D world map with points of interest. You'll use the Wii Remote's onscreen cursor to highlight a place and hit the A button to choose it. The demo level revolves around you making your way through a lush, enemy-filled forest and facing off against a golem boss.

Before you set out to do your slashing, you'll have the option to choose a secondary character to come along with and provide backup for you. The demo offered a choice of just two, a nobly dressed male and a sassily dressed female rocking herself some big RPG hair. From what we could gather, your buddies will lend a hand during certain points in battle and occasionally pop into view to say something we imagine is encouraging (the demo was in Japanese). Once you've settled on your partner, you'll head out for some adventuring. The game uses a first-person perspective and moves on a set path through locales. Though you'll come to some forks in the road where you can choose which way you want to go, getting around is a pretty linear affair.

The action in the game revolves around using the Wii Remote to take on the assorted critters that cross your path, usually with intention to cause you some fatal harm. Your only means of defense is the nunchukless Wii Remote, which you'll wield for offensive and defensive actions. The game's simple control makes using the remote a breeze thanks to an intuitive setup. You'll move around with the D pad, which will let you move forward and backward on your path when exploring. In the city it looks as though you'll be able to use it to freely maneuver around, so you can explore every odd nook and cranny in your surroundings. Combat is handled simply; you'll just slash the Wii Remote to attack. In the demo it looked as though there were about three major motions that resulted in different slashes: a simple horizontal cut, a simple vertical cut, and diagonal slashes from either corner of the screen. These basic attacks can be specialized by using the A button to lock an onscreen cursor onto a set part of the screen, making it the focal point of your slashes. This gets pretty important as you take on multiple enemies who come at you from various angles. Besides the different slash attacks, the game has as a thrusting attack that you'll perform by pulling back and thrusting the controller like a fencing sword. The attack seems to be key when it comes to dealing with certain enemies prone to blocking your attacks.

When facing superaggressive foes you'll need to defend yourself and block their attacks. Holding the B button switches your onscreen cursor to a shield that you'll use to block attacks by holding it in front of incoming projectiles. The demo helped us out some by alerting us to incoming projectiles and slapping a marker on the part of the screen you need to have your shield in to block. As you take on more and more enemies you'll fill a sword gauge beneath your life that, when full, can be used to trigger a powerful special attack by hitting the 2 button. The powerful attack we tried in the demo required a two-part action to be triggered. Hitting the 2 button shifted the action to a dramatic camera angle and onscreen icons that helpfully noted what needed to happen to perform the attack. The first part required us to hold the remote upright, while the second part had us slash the screen a few times. The dual actions were greeted by a flashy scene and a copious amount of damage dealt to any foes onscreen.

If this all sounds too simple, don't fret--the game has some depth to its systems to keep things interesting. You'll find different items ranging from health or mana restoration to equippable gear. In addition, you'll be earning experience and gold from defeating enemies, which we expect will come to affect your character's attributes.

As far as the presentation goes, the visuals in the game are gorgeous and sport a clean, detailed look in the same vein as Dragon Quest VIII. So far, the characters are large and colorful with solid animation. Special effects to punctuate the combat action are shiny and well done. As far as the environments go, the forest we journeyed through featured impressive color gradients and lighting. The audio appears to be a dramatic mix of simple tunes and suitable bombastic rock that suits the action well.

Based on what we played, Dragon Quest Swords is shaping up to be a cool Wii title. The game's mix of simple gameplay mechanics and light RPG elements makes for a solid, accessible experience. While fans of the series will get the most out of the title, even non-DQ loyalists will be able to appreciate exploring new places and stabbing things. Dragon Quest Swords is slated to ship this July in Japan for the Wii, with a US release to follow later in the year.

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Discussion

97 comments
karrasxk
karrasxk

As always, a delayed review from gamespot means it will be a bad review. They just wait to tell you because they are pressured from the developers to allow you time to make impulse buys instead of waiting for the horribad review.

shig
shig

an on rails Dragon Quest RPG.........wow....this is an embarassment to the great game that was DQVIII

Razgard4612
Razgard4612

awesome an good sounding rpg for the wii! cant wait!

hellpolice
hellpolice

Wow a DQ game on the Wii. Excellent because I enjoyed Journey of the Cursed King And I still do.

Tiny_Titan
Tiny_Titan

I am in need of RPG goodness on the Wii, this might just do the trick. Go Enix!

WIERD-O
WIERD-O

Wow, this game looks fun.

Sunrie
Sunrie

Awesome! The Wii just keeps getting better and better with new titles that offer interesting new ways to play them. I can't wait to see this game on the shelves and in my hand.

lahoor
lahoor

this game vary good or what ?

frostybubbler
frostybubbler

Interactivity with the Wii remote can only get better... Here's hoping they tweak the heck out of this game so that it reaching a broader audience.

cenobyte21
cenobyte21

I was expecting a Dragon Quest game for the wii, but i was not expecting this. Very surprised and very anxious.

lahoor
lahoor

wow new party i love this game vary cool

omegabyte
omegabyte

It sounds like a light gun game, but with swords! An interesting concept, will be interesting to see how it turns out.

yeahdogg
yeahdogg

This title will be well worth the wait! I'm excited.

diablobasher
diablobasher

This should be pretty awesome, i mean... it has slimes in it! Slimes rule!

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Well this will probably end up being pretty good I think. There haven't really been many horrible DQ games, and DQVIII was awesome..

doubledareus
doubledareus

I'm hoping Nintendo wises up and brings back EARTHBOUND!!! Imagine real time rpg controls...one player attacks, the other uses an item, the other uses magic to heal the party members, and the other paralyzes the enemy with psi, all in real time!!!! You get to beat up on hippies, bums, rabbid animals, prostitutes, and your next door neighbor who is posessed by an alien from another planet!! I loved that game when it came out, and a sequel on the WII, not VC, would make us RPG-ers happy as a pig in sh!+ But do me a favor... NO GAMECUBE GRAPHICS!!! Nintendo should be at the forefront of making kick-ass graphics on the WII, so why are other companies making games with graphics the more than trump anything that NINTENDO HAS TO OFFER SO FAR?

Kenshin112345
Kenshin112345

and sony has any better stuff? FF-FF13 VS? hmmm......

sonygirl23
sonygirl23

the wii sucks all the do is keep remaking games with that censing crap.and yall have the nerv to say sony does not have any good game.niether does nintendo.

weijie86
weijie86

i kinda dislike the idea of playing dq games in a first person view..oh well,anybody here can at least tell me how this game will eventually look like? the Wii looks like its gonna have more and more promising titles though,which may even make me get a Wii sooner....

Darkside2501
Darkside2501

I've been a bit worried about this game, it looks like it might still make a good rental though.

lew_0911
lew_0911

The hero looks like... hero from DQ8. Without a bandana. Looks like a good reason for me to by a Wii (haven't stepped yet into the next generation as I am still content with my DS/PSP/Old-faithful-PS2.

Payback7
Payback7

Looking forward to seeing what this one's like. Time will tell :) VIVA LA NINTENDO!!!!

efrench9
efrench9

Journey of the cursed king was one of my favorite titles of the last 3 years, I'm hoping this one delivers as much if not more!

Platyphyllum
Platyphyllum

It has potential for sure! I just hope Square Enix makes good use of that potential! Oh yeah, and those "partner" characters look awesome.

7arek
7arek

This game seems to be continuing the trend on the wii of experimenting with new ways to play traditional games, and so far i haven't been so disappointed in them that I'm running out to buy a 360 or PS3, so i have faith in this game, it looks cool.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

to Neoyamaneko i doubt that this is this is the same game to be used a plug and play game it looks a lot better than the quality of those type of games, and even if it is, it looks like a fun game nevertheless

Neoyamaneko
Neoyamaneko

This game used to be a standalone game that came with a sword, sensor box (which worked for crap) and a proprietary memory card some years ago in Japan.

Extra_Life
Extra_Life

I'm looking forward to it, hope it gets a UK release. It seems like an interesting off shoot of the DQ franchise, in the same way that Pokemon Snap was to the Pokemon games.

SirBob3
SirBob3

Fan of DQ VIII (story, gameplay, graphics), but this seems like a knockoff game with a little story (kind of like Rocket Slime).....though, it is the wii....

Jedi597
Jedi597

yeah i dont know about this one. i loved DQ8, but this is quite different from the regular rpg-ness

jaanusd
jaanusd

Final Fantasy is the on-rail RPG king, this may be good

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Rail sword-RPG, not a good mix. I don't think this game will do to well.

americaonline
americaonline

This game IS an RPG. Its just a different concept for a role-playing game. for those of u who dont think its a real RPG you should play the actual game when it comes out, you cant tell everything about a game just from footage. think about it, using the wii remote as a sword, upgrading shields and being able to see them as you block with it. getting new items. going into a town and slashing at a chest youve found to open it. the games potential is almost unlimited. definitely a buy ill be making and so should other wii owners, like myself. this game is gonna b awesome!

lajdawg
lajdawg

i think this has potential. i like a good fun action/rpg (man did I love Secret of Mana for SNES...), the only problem is it is too easy to ignore gameplay and story on them it seems...hopefully since it's a dragon quest they will make it a quality title.

CowmanSr
CowmanSr

Looks like it would be difficult to make this into a game that is fun for very long. I'll probably at least try it for its novelty value. They certainly could pull off more than the obvious and make this a great game. I keep up hope 'till it comes out!

Zacek
Zacek

This game will be great!

Grouchu
Grouchu

Looks a lot like Kenshin Dragon Quest, a game that hooks up to the tv and you use a sword to slash the enemies. Now, instead of the sword, it's the Wiimote.

misterwong
misterwong

Sounds like a good idea. I've been dying for a decent RPG for my slowly rusting and dusty Wii... Poor poor little wii wii. I love it.

slayer1090
slayer1090

i loved the one on the DS. Keep it up square enix.

viggggo
viggggo

I think it sounds interesting. But I really think it's to early to say anything; Hoping for the best, of cause.

LorenaLarue
LorenaLarue

This doesn't sound like its going to be very good so far, sounds repetitive. I do hope there is far more variety and challenge to the combat.

CoMeCloSer
CoMeCloSer

I hate people who always says anything wii is gimicky.. bfs.. gimicky doesnt sell that much systems.

Alaskan_Ninja
Alaskan_Ninja

this better be better then red steel.......wat a big disappointment

haesuse
haesuse

while honorable idea, if u read in between the line DQS seems to me to be a short lasting fun gimmick for Wii. Over utilize the remote play at the expense of depth and gameplay...now thats original!!!