The Backlog - Dragon Quest Heroes and DOOM

Disclaimer: I actually got around to DOOM a while ago but that fell into the pile of "games I've played and liked and will eventually get around to but actually just get so busy with video games that I forget about talking about it entirely" which has actually grown to be quite a few games by now.

Alright boyos and... girlos? Girlirls? I don't really know where I'm going with this but I'd like to be as inclusive as I can, and also saying stupid words sounds fun. Even if I'm typing them out and not actually saying them aloud. But that's semantics. Anyway, I've got a tooth ache like Michael Jackson has a corpse, so let's break the silence and talk about some video games I've played from The Backlog.

 First up:

Dragon Quest Heroes

One of my favorite games of all time is Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King. I believe I've talked about it before, but the rough summary is: It played like Final Fantasy, but looked like Dragonball? Fucking unbelievable. Turned based games even more so now, but back when I was a kid was my favorite type of game. Outside of MGS and otherwise stealth based games, turned based RPG's were my shit. And Dragon Quest VIII combined so much of what I like about those types of games into a package that JUST SO HAPPENED to be art-directed by the father of Dragonball. So I was fucking psyched.

But then that was really the last kind of Dragon Quest of its kind, right? It went different directions, and also most importantly it went in a more Nintendo direction which left me alone in the dark, as I was too poor and quite frankly, thought the idea of mobile gaming was stupid. I want to sit at home in my bedroom and play the fuck out of some Dragon Quest, not ride the bus and shit. I was young and stupid, but at that point the love affair between me and Dragon Quest took an unfortunate break. The love was still in my heart, but DQ was too busy riding around with exciting strangers who like public transportation and shitty graphics. So we drifted apart, as sad as that is.

Eventually this cool little game called Dragon Quest Builders came out and I fucking LOVED that game. There was also this game called Dragon Quest Heroes that released somewhere around that time that took the gameplay of a Dynasty Warriors hack-n-slash type of game where the entire screen is dominated by fields of enemies you have to go clear them out. BUT it was a little different as it featured characters from other Dragon Quest games, including Jessica and Yangus from Dragon Quest VIII! I thought, ho-boy! A chance to relive some of the good ol' days by seeing some of my favorite characters in a whole new adventure! Exclamation point!

So a few weeks ago I got my hands on the game and began my playthrough. I actually liked the idea of creating some new characters to center a story around instead of it being entirely old characters, and I especially liked the new characters you get to hang out with. I thought the idea of a kingly character who also jumps into the fray to beat foes with his kingly staff was awesome, as well as his nickname "The Royal Rumbler".

Quickly your party of 3 expands as you discover additional new recruits as well as some old Dragon Quest characters, like the brooding Terry, is who supposedly a lone-wolf, which I was only able to infer because he fucking never STOPS TALKING ABOUT HOW HE HATES TEAMWORK AND TEAMMATES JUST SLOW HIM DOWN AND WHOA LOOK AT ME I'M TERRY I'M SO FUCKING COOL I DIE A LOT AND SO YOU'LL NEVER ACTUALLY BRING ME WITH YOU. Although he does a lot of shock damage so he is quite handy against the robots.

The story of the game is as much trite anime bullshit nonsense as you can possibly imagine, although it was endearing to me because of the amount of heart behind it. It was sending the typical message that "friendship is power!" so much so actually implying to the main bad guy that he only lost because he doesn't believe in the "power of friendship". Usually this is the kind of stuff that makes my head explode in furious anger, but in this game, what with a lot of these characters being whisked away from alternate dimensions and ending up being strangers in a strange land, yet somehow all coming together(Except fucking Terry and his lone wolf bullshit), it's quite nice. I mean sure, it never really amounts to anything and there's never any real depth, fullstop, but it was nice.

The gameplay is pretty much straight out of Dynasty Warriors. For the most part, your job is to fucking kill and don't stop killing. DON'T STOP KILLING. And the game makes you feel it. I'm going to be honest, maybe the first 10 or so hours of the game was this awesome experience where I get to see DQ heroes old and new meet up and beat down, but somewhere around that point it became a tireless grind. It's not just the main missions that send you into these missions that can sometimes end up 25+ missions long, but once you die, there is no checkpoint so you've got to do it all over again. That goes for missions where the objective is to protect/escort something/someone, and boy does this game love escort missions.

I legitimately wanted to stop playing the game during this one escort mission. I had to protect someone, this person was usually a party member but for this occasion she had to escort you. She became an important NPC while also taking up a party member slot, which in my opinion led to a series of bad design decisions. This meant that if she fell in battle, the mission is over, even though normally you could revive your teammates. But this mission in particular pissed me off because I was doing a pretty good job of protecting her, and then out of nowhere she gets one-hit-killed by something I didn't even have time to register. I have no idea what happened but something fucked her right the fuck up and so I had to repeat the mission. I wanted to put it down, I was so sure I'd never actually want to play it again after that frustration. But I ended up getting over it and playing it again the next day.

The side missions, and there are attempts at "side quests" like from more traditional DQ games. However, they are all wrapped up in that same bow of "This is a hack and slash game so fucking hack and slash". So while occasionally you'll get a mission to find and kill a specific boss enemy in a specific mission, the most common side quests are something along the lines of "Hey, I don't fucking like this particular type of enemy, be a bro for me and kill 90 of them! Thanks!" or "Hey, I want some leather but I don't want to fucking pay for it, so howsabout you collect some for me, thanks! I need 3 of them and they drop from FuckingMonsters!" which sends you off to fucking grind the christ out of this game until you get what you need.

It's very frustrating because when you complete side quests you get pretty decent rewards, but they are ALMOST ENTIRELY grind heavy quests. So it was almost detrimental to my enjoyment of the game to keep accepting quests. "Oh here's a quest that gives me a great reward, I should do it - oh I have to grind out a certain amount of enemies, nah I'll just keep playing the game". I really only kept playing to see the story through, because after a certain point the gameplay does nothing for me. I quite liked how a lot of the characters played, specifically Alena which I kept in my party 100% of the game. She's a very powerful character who fights with martial arts and her special moves make her multiply into 3 Alena's which increases your damage output quite high. Thanks to her I was able to chew up some pretty hearty bosses with ease.

I ended up actually played as Alena more than I did the "main" character just due to how easy she was to control and because of her sheer DMG output. At some point though the game clearly runs out of ideas and starts throwing boss enemies into the waves of enemies you have to fight. So what would normally be you clearing out a wave of enemies is more like you fighting 5 different boss monsters and holy fuck this is actually going to take forever. And it does. It becomes a series of "This thing has a billion hitpoints, just keep hitting it until your eyes glaze over and you hope to god you can finish this before Persona 5 comes out", and that's exactly what I did.

I feel like there were a lot of neat ideas with Dragon Quest Heroes, and I hear the second one is a much better game in conception and execution, but I won't be playing that for a little bit so I won't know for sure, but as for the first game, it left me wanting more. A lot more. I felt very frustrated that the Dynasty Warriors formula has yet to be "cracked", and that it still just requires you to mash buttons for a half an hour until you can get to the next stage and do the same. The only difference here is that Lu Bu doesn't show up to fuck your mother.

Maybe next time, Lu. Maybe next time.


The one thing no one told me about getting this game is just how huge it is. I think it was something like 60GB to install, but it also had a 29+GB patch I had to download as well. It took me a whole day of downloading just to get the game ready to go. But as it turned out, it was more than worth it because DOOM is, quite frankly, the shit. I know everyone had already agreed on that a long time ago, but it's definitely true.

The unfortunate, or maybe it's not so unfortunate truth is, while I absolutely adored DOOM, I don't really have much to say about it. I was gonna do a whole big write up about it being this awesome thing, and how the gameplay mixes with the action on screen to make battles feel so fucking electric, but I feel like people have already done that a lot better than I could have. The one thing I will say is: DOOM is great. I like the world, the story, the characters. I like how Doomguy gives no fucks about anything and does his own thing. I also really love the idea of corporations being so desperate for the next source of energy that they built a fucking tunnel to HELL. I mean, really, that's just awesome. The whole thing gets me so pumped because the entire concept is just so rad.

Maybe it's just me though but I've read up on the DOOM lore from what I could find both in game and on the internet, and it seems like this great powerful person had designed Doomguy's armor, but it's all cybernetic and shit but HELL seems pretty... outdated? Classical? Gothic, maybe? So I'm just left wondering where the hell this guy got his sick and somehow also timeless armor. I don't know, maybe Doomguy doesn't need a big backstory to explain who he is. He just shows up and kills Demons, for he is the Doomguy.

The game sold well, everyone loved it, I'm sure the sequel is going to be fucking awesome but we'll see where that goes. In the meantime, DOOM is a great game that I am glad to have played.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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