Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below (PS4) Review

That’s a long title.

If you would have asked me six months ago if I would be considering putting a Dragon Quest musou game on my top ten of the year, I would have probably fell over laughing. This has been a year when I definitely learned to appreciate the genre more thanks to last year’s Hyrule Warriors, but I am still not a full-fledged super-fan.

Dragon Quest Heroes continues a pattern for Omega Force. When they step outside of the “Warriors” banner they seem to do some magical things. Hyrule Warriors, One Piece, and now Dragon Quest. Removing themselves from the traditional mold really showcases what these games can achieve, and Heroes does it better than almost any before it.

MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: PS4
Price I’d Pay: $59.99

Don’t get me wrong, Dragon Quest Heroes is still full of the typical musou style. Hordes of enemies are placed in front of players, and they combine button combos to dispose of them in a flashy fashion. What separates Heroes though, is its whimsical art style, and fleshed out mechanics. The game is gorgeous. The art design of Akira Toriyama shines on the PS4 more than it ever has. For me it was like playing an action version of Blue Dragon.

Character and enemy designs are fantastic. Massive bosses litter certain areas, and the special attacks are spectacular. There are some minor frame hitches from time to time, but never anything to break the action.

While the game opens up like any other of its type, it quickly starts to scratch itches from other genres. This feels more like a story-driven, action-RPG than other musou titles. The CGI cut scenes are comical and charming. I really like the characters. A few missions in, players will also obtain a sort of home base called the Stonecloud. This flying ship serves as a hub to travel to new missions, but new armor and equipment, and create new potions at the alchemist among other things.

As I progressed, I started adding more characters to my roster. Each one is unique, bringing their own skill tree and special abilities. Missions only allow for four characters at a time, so it was nice swapping them in and out. I could also switch characters in battle by simply tapping the L2 button. Each character has a set of special moves, some are ranged, while others focus on melee or weapon attacks. It is nice to have so much diversity on every missions, helps keep the button mashing interesting.

In addition to mashing combos, players also gain the ability to summon monsters shortly into the main quest. These appear in the form of tokens on the battlefield, and every monster has unique abilities. They work great when I needed to defend multiple areas from monsters, or just some extra firepower. It almost feels like a soft Pokémon style.

Dragon Quest Heroes is just fun. The visual style is gorgeous, and the game play hits all the right notes with some fantastic pacing. Fans of the genre should definitely check it out, but even those usually put off by it, should definitely keep an eye on it. It quickly became one of my favorite sleeper games of the year. I didn’t expect to even care, now I can’t stop playing. I hope Omega Force continues to step outside the Warriors franchise to deliver these unique experiences, there are so many franchises that would benefit from this type of game.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Visual style
  • RPG mechanics
  • Fluid controls
  • Side missions feel repetitious
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.