Announced as an exclusive chapter for the Nintendo Switch, Dragon Quest Treasures ended up with the onerous task of celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of the series. A decidedly more complex goal than "simple" to represent the next evolutionary step of the famous spin-off series Dragon Quest Monsters.
Even with such a heavy task, the new Square-Enix production has proved to be far more than enjoyable, going to offer an experience that, I'm almost certain, will surprise both the historical fans of the series, and all those decidedly younger players who will approach Dragon Quest with this title.
A treasure for two
From the first moments of the game, Dragon Quest Treasures looks like a diamond in the rough (pardon the pun), showing the will to merge the bulky legacies of the JRPG canon series, and the distinctly more action spin-off Monsters, in a story that tries in every way to wink at the fans of the eleventh, wonderful, chapter.
Dragon Quest Treasures, in fact, tells the story of Erik and Mia years prior to their appearance in "Echoes of a Lost Age". More precisely, the new Square-Enix production recounts the two brothers' youth years, when they did their utmost to keep a Viking boat clean, dreaming of becoming treasure hunters.
Sea life turns out to be difficult, especially due to the treatment bordering on slavery Erik and Mia have to endure on a daily basis, but fate comes to their rescue... or rather a fortuitous encounter with two decidedly peculiar creatures. Going through a series of events that it would not make sense to anticipate, the two young brothers find themselves in Draconia, a land populated by monsters of all types and full of treasures ready to be found by the bravest explorers.
As much as the story of Dragon Quest Treasures tries to exploit some characters of the last "canonical chapter" to capture the attention of longtime fans, its distinctly disengaged tones, as well as a clear inclination to want to approach the younger ones, make the decidedly light and disengaged tones of adventure. Don't expect catastrophes ready to destroy the universe nor overly dramatic moments from Dragon Quest Treasures, because you won't find them.
Don't get me wrong, this absolutely does not mean that the story is badly written, on the contrary, but simply that Square-Enix has opted for a more frivolous narrative in terms of content, albeit packaged with the same care as the previous chapters. The relationship between Erik and Mia is represented through that romantic delicacy typical of fairy tales, as well as their characteristic features seem to have been transplanted directly from the first volumes of any shōnen.
Walking around Draconia
As for the gameplay of Dragon Quest Treasures, the title takes up the excellent foundations seen with Joker, the last episode of the Monsters series, presenting that hybrid form between an Action-RPG and a Monster Catching. The progression is managed through the canonical quests, divided as usual into main and secondary, which in most cases will require you to explore certain parts of Draconia in search of hidden treasures.
To explore the most hidden areas of the vast game map, you will have to exploit the abilities of the monsters present in your team, in such a way as to allow Erike Mia to fly, swim and perform all those actions that, normally, she would not be able to perform.
Obviously the constraint to be able to create teams composed exclusively of three monsters, and the fact that the creatures that can be recruited will not all be available immediately, forces to create different teams for the various types of mission that will be placed in front of the two young explorers.
I particularly appreciated the possibility of creating a team for Erik and one for Mia, being able to switch them almost instantly, but I liked less the fact that this switch never has any consequences in terms of plot. In the same way, the constant focus on the search for treasures, gradually more and more precious and complex to obtain, is slightly redundant over the long haul and reminded me of that vague hint of tedium I felt in the final stages of Dragon Quest Builders 2.
Different speech, however, for the combat system which, although very simple in dynamics, turns out to be fun and pleasant in every aspect. Although Erik and Mia have a pool of very basic moves at their disposal, and similar to any oriental-style Action-RPG, the possibility of exploit the abilities of the monsters present in the team to carry out actions, and create fairly interesting synergies, always manages to offer new ideas to vary the game action a little.
Obviously I'm not talking to you about who knows what strategic or role-playing depth, but the formula developed by the previous Joker works great and manages above all to entertain without ever being boring. As for the general difficulty of the adventure, however, you are never in real difficulty and the whole adventure flows smoothly, without never offer a level of challenge capable of worrying by no means a more seasoned player.
Dragon Quest Treasures su Nintendo Switch
Coming now to the technical sector of Dragon Quest Treasures, I can tell you that it is clearly a cross between the excellent optimization work carried out for the Definitive Edition of Echoes of a Lost Era and the technical uncertainties seen in Builders 2. I can't say that the title runs badly but, compared to other chapters released for Switch, I noticed some obvious smudges.
The FPS are not always stable as well as the environments, on many occasions, are excessively bare albeit well made in terms of texture (obviously always taking into account the platform on which the title runs). In general, the work done by Square-Enix is well made but after the commendable work done with the eleventh chapter, perhaps I would have expected a little more care, especially considering the current exclusivity of the title for the Nintendo hybrid console.
Nothing to comment, however, on the soundtrack and localization in Spanish. The various compositions that accompany Erik and Mia's raids are, as per tradition, able to enter the ears and remain there for a very, very long time, while as regards the localization, the work was carried out with the classic skill that has always represents the Dragon Quest series.