Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors
Prepare for tired wrists!
As I walk through the forest and undergrowth in search of the Masked Queen I feel strong and capable with my sword and shield. I see a path off in the distance and turn to move towards and... but I can't. My feet are stuck to an invisible track and I am forced in one direction. I look down and I am not holding a weapon, but rather a Wii remote and as I look around my living room and back to the TV, I start wondering if Dragon Quest is truly an RPG.
- Brilliant environments, refreshing take on RPGs
- Extensive use of the Wii Remote, repetitive action
Though I had to put the game down to rest my arm and recover from all the sword play, The Masked Queen is a unique blend of game genres that actually pulls off each one nicely. I am puzzled as to why game developers can't allow players to choose between relying on motion sensing controls to get through a game, and using more traditional control mechanics.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
A big problem with many current games is that it's hard to see them for what they are. Many gamers have grown to rely on genre classification to make purchasing decisions... ah, the monster of marketing.
Seeing the forest for the trees
Dragon Quest is a well established series; its eighth instalment on the PS2 was one of the best selling games of 2006. If you're looking for a traditional role playing experience, The Masked Queen is not it. However, if you let that stop you from picking this title up you'll miss out on a fun and unique experience, however, that does not mean that it comes with out faults.
The biggest failure of The Masked Queen is that it is on the Wii. That by no means suggests that it does not look brilliant — the graphics are stunning at times, but rather means that the reliance of the play mechanics on Wii Remote quickly becomes tiring, as it does in many Wii titles. The repetition of hacking and slashing through round of monster after monster left my arm sore and thinned my patience.
When monsters attack
In many ways The Masked Queen is a rail-shooter wrapped in an RPG package. Instead of using a gun to shoot monsters or zombies, you are equipped with a sword and must slash, parry, and stab enemies as they jump out from the wild and attack. As the game progress various members join your party (hence the RPG element), but they are limited to supportive roles of casting offensive and defensive spells. The only really big problem with this set up is that you have to mimic the sword moves with the remote.
The city of Avalonia serves as a central hub for a story that sends you out on various quests. While in the city you have the freedom to move about, but when you head into the wild, movement is restricted to forward and back along the set path. This 'limited-freedom of movement' was frustrating for me, resulting with me wanting to go where I couldn't and not wanting to go where I could. The game world felt slightly empty and painted.
What is in the game world is unmistakably from the universe of Dragon Quest, and serves up a plethora of ambiance that helps to make this game, however trite the controls got, a joy to be in. The instance I heard the music I knew I was in for a ride. For anyone who played DQVIII and remembers the Pom Pom club, just know you'll quickly be reminded of nestling you little faces in slimes.
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