Dragon Quest XI S for Nintendo Switch: The ultimate guide

Dragon Quest XI is widely regarded as one of the best Dragon Quest games out there, and given the franchise's past friendliness with Nintendo systems, it only makes sense that it made it to the Nintendo Switch. Better still, the game launched as Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition, which includes all the content from the original Dragon Quest XI plus even more goodies exclusive to the hybrid system, making it worth the wait if you haven't explored the world of Erdrea just yet.

Here's everything you want to know about Dragon Quest XI S.

When can I play?

Dragon Quest XI S released September 27, 2019, so you can play the game right now!

What is the story of Dragon Quest XI?

Dragon Quest XI Nintendo Switch (Image credit: Square Enix)

Dragon Quest XI centers around an unnamed protagonist who is destined to become the Luminary, a legendary hero who will save the world of Erdrea from darkness. However, an attack that occurs while the Luminary is an infant causes him to be separated from his birth family and instead raised in a small village, not knowing his true identity. As a young adult, that identity is revealed early in the game, but the Luminary is instead accused of being something called the Darkspawn - a prophesied evil that will destroy Erdrea instead of saving it. The Luminary must then gather companions who recognize who he truly is, and fulfill his destiny despite the forces pitted against him.

How do you play?

If you've never touched a Dragon Quest game before, you'll find it similar to most other JRPGs. You'll explore towns and dungeons connected by a larger overworld, talk to various NPCs to receive quests and information, and enter battles with monsters when in dungeons or on the overworld.

Game mechanics are slightly different depending on if you're playing in the 3D mode or the 16-bit mode. For example, There are no random encounters in 3Das you enter battles by coming into contact with visible enemies. However all encounters are random in the 16-bit mode. In either mode, battles are turn-based, with four party members at a time fighting for you by using attacks, magic, and items to defeat enemies and keep your own party alive. Don't worry if you don't like the slower-paced battles, though. You can manually adjust the battle speed to zoom right through encounters.

Defeating enemies not only levels up your party, but also gets you skill points that can be used to improve character's stats and abilities using a skill tree that offers some degree of player choice in how they progress.

What's new in Dragon Quest XI S?

Dragon Quest XI was already out on other platforms long before it came to Switch, but that just meant that the Switch version got a ton of features not available anywhere else. For starters, there's new music in the Switch game - fully orchestrated, though you can switch between the new improved sound and the original tracks at will. In addition, you can swap between English and Japanese audio for character dialogue.

If you've played Dragon Quest XI before, an important addition in this version is the inclusion of more storylines, with one major quest for each of the characters in your party. These storylines not only make the game last longer, but also reveal more about the characters in your party, fleshing them out further.

One final major new feature that will be fun for retro fans is the ability to swap between the game's normal, 3D HD graphics and old-school 16-bit graphics reminiscent of the original Dragon Quest games. Of course, the graphics had to be toned down a bit for the Switch, but the cartoony artstyle doesn't suffer for this.

Is there any DLC for the Switch version?

Yes, there's a Champion's Pack that's free to download from the Nintendo eShop. This DLC includes the Vests of Success Set, Wolf Wear, Baby Boar Set, Trodain Set, and one Happy Adventure Set - a bag filled with helpful items for your adventure.

Down the road there will also be paid DLC that includes Dragon Quest VIII content, allows you to play Dragon Quest VIII music while playing Dragon Quest XI, and Voice Drama DLC with more story content. We don't know how much this additional DLC will cost at present or when it will release, but we'll update when we learn more.

What's the Switch version's frame rate and resolution?

As with the PS4 version of the game, the Switch version runs at 30fps. The resolution is different, however. The game has a resolution of 900p on PS4, which will be fine on the Switch's 1080p docked mode. However handheld mode operates at 720p, which is a decent amount lower. Fortunately, the cartoony art style looks good whichever way you play on the Switch. What's more, the Switch's small screen makes it so the low resolution isn't very noticeable in handheld mode.

Any questions about Dragon Quest XI S?

If you want to know more about Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition, ask your questions in the comments below!

Updated March 2020: Added language to reflect that the game has released.

Reb Valentine