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Dragon Quest XI (Switch)- 3D vs 2D Comparison

With the initial release of Dragon Quest XI more than two years ago, the game is getting new life after being released on the Nintendo Switch this past Friday. Echos of an Elusive Age S Definitive Edition is currently in stores and downloadable through the Nintendo e-shop for $60.

I haven't played a Dragon Quest game since Dragon Quest VIII on the PS2 and wanted to find another solid JRPG I could spend dozens of hours with. While only a couple of hours in can tell the game caters to its fan base, with the familiar art style, combat, items, and enemies. If you enjoyed the music and voice acting from Dragon Quest VIII your bound to feel right at home with this game. I didn't expect drastic changes from its 3D counterparts but look forward to seeing how the story plays out and the characters I will meet along the way.

One addition that the Switch version brings is the ability to switch to or play the entire game in 2D mode, which pixelates the graphic and plays more like early Dragon Quest games on the NES and SNES. After playing about an hour on both modes, and debating which to play through I've decided to go through the game first on the regular 3D mode. Here are some things I noticed so far between the two that may also influence your decision.

Faster Battles While DragonQuest XI is still a traditional turn-based RPG the battles in 3D after more fast-paced than ever before and you can engage enemies by getting the first hit. 2D mode brings back random encounters, which is a love or hate mechanic. In 2D mode, the text seems to scroll slowly as it describes the action you just entered, and reminding me of a game like EarthBound with a much slower pace.

Environments While dialogue seems to largely remain the same, I big difference I saw was when I entered the first dungeon. In 3D mode, you can climb ledges, walk across tightropes, and areas just feel larger with a great sense of scale.

Voice acting Another thing that I know that I would miss if I played the game in 2D mode, is the voice acting. So far I've played it with the English voice-overs and while the protagonist is silent the other voiced characters sound good making the characters more memorable. For those that like to read and skip over cutscenes, I can see 2D mode being a good option, as I spent significantly more time on the 3D mode to get through the same amount of the story.

Menus/Map/Quality of life. Overall the 2D mode feels more like a stripped-down version of the original, instead of a recreation of the game in 2D. Most likely what was intended for the additional mode. Things like the menu interface, talking to your party, opening the map are a few of the quality of life changes that you may take for granted after playing through the game in 3D.

Since I probably won't have time to play the game twice, once in 3D and a second time in 2D. I know I will miss a lot of features or cool action scenes omitted from the 2D version. While the 2D version included in the Switch version will probably not entice players who already own or beat Dragon Quest XI on another console, it's a cool addition that gives players a new way to enjoy the game.

Let me know what you all think of the game. What is your favorite Dragon Quest game? Is 2D mode something that you're interested in?

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