First Impressions: Never has killing colloids been this entertaining.
Square-Enix's Dragon Quest series has been a hallmark of the RPG genre since its NES debut in 1986. While immensely popular in Japan, the series has never achieved the same degree of success in North America compared to Final Fantasy and Bioware's RPGs. Nevertheless there is a fervent fan following in the United States that Square-Enix clearly hopes to expand via not only the main series but a number of Dragon Quest-related spin-offs. One of the most notable of the latter is the upcoming Wii release, and nominee for the longest title in video game history, Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors.
With Dragon Quest Swords, Square-Enix has simplified the series' explorative elements in favor of focusing on battle. The game, like many Dragon Quest titles, takes place in first-person. Similar to arcade shooters like Time Crisis and House of the Dead, the player's character is fixed to a set path. You move along this path by holding he A or B buttons. The path is fairly linear, only allowing for deviation in certain circumstances like when you come upon a fork in the road.
As the character treads down the path, enemies pop out and engage you in battle. These battles, as the title states, involve the use of the sword. The player freely controls the sword with the Wii remote (the nunchuck is not used in the game), which in turn approximates your hand's movement. For example, pushing the remote forward causes the player to jab the rabid Slime about to maul them. A swipe from right to left causes a horizontal slash that can damage more than one enemy in certain situations.
The player utilizes a shield to block incoming attacks. To use the shield, you hold down the A button and then move the shield to the in the correct on-screen position to deflect the attack. For example, if a Slime launches his flaming goo at you from the upper right, then don't panic. Just move the shield to that space on the screen and you can save yourself a good chunk of change in cleaning bills. The shield is translucent to help the player see the scimitar being lobbed at them.
There are also a number of magic attacks available to the player. The player fries enemies in the distance by using magical projectiles. The player activates these by selecting the appropriate baddie and tapping the B button. Like many RPGs, Dragon Quest Swords also features a special move meter that builds up as the player gains hits on enemies. Once full the ?1? button activates the move. Before unleashing it, the player charges up yet another meter by swinging the remote in circles. As you probably expect, the more the meter is charged, the more powerful the attack. A menu system is also featured which pops ups via the minus button. From here the player can select items to restore his or her health points.
Screen-shots and videos released thus far show colorful graphics that make good use of the Wii's hardware. The exact story is unknown, although it is safe to say it involves a masked queen (Cher?) and a Tower of Mirrors. Likewise any plans for an online component are unknown at this time.