TGS 06: Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker Hands-On

We go head-to-head with a Square Enix TGS booth attendant as we check out this monster-battling game for the Nintendo DS.

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TOKYO--Square Enix's Dragon Quest Monsters (aka Dragon Warrior Monsters) series is set to make its Nintendo DS debut in Japan toward the end of this year, and Square Enix is showing a near-finished version of the game at its Tokyo Game Show booth this week. There are two demo areas for the game showing the single-player adventure mode and the head-to-head versus play, respectively. We opted to check out the wireless two-player mode on this occasion, and then spent a few minutes watching other TGS attendees enjoying the single-player game.

In the story-driven single-player mode, you'll assume the role of a young boy who is attempting to become the world's best monster trainer. The environment that players were exploring today was a large island that counted picturesque beaches and cliffs, dark caves, and towns among its features. As you run around environments like these you'll encounter monsters that, much like Pokemon, must either be defeated or captured. Monsters that you capture can fight alongside you in subsequent battles, and can also be used against your friends in wireless games.

We had a tough time figuring out how to play the head-to-head game, not because it's overly complicated, but simply because the five minutes we spent playing wasn't long enough to learn to read Japanese. After much fumbling around with the DS's face buttons, though, we did manage to assemble a team of three different monsters (including a slime, of course), and defeat those belonging to our opponent by doing little more than hitting the A button every time we were presented with a list of options.

Regardless of the fact that we learned very little about Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker today, we're really hoping that the game will be confirmed for a North American release at some point in the future so we can check it out in English. The game's crisp, cartoonlike visuals look great, and had we been able to understand what we were doing there's no doubt that we would've wanted to spend more time with it today.

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