Don’t miss out on the DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition demo

A free demo for the critically-acclaimed RPG is out now. We take a look at some of the new features that make this download a must play.
By Duncan Heaney

The chance to revisit DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age was an exciting one for the team. Since the original release was one of the most well-received RPGs in years, the team was able to expand on the game with a number of new features and quality of life improvements.

The upcoming DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is the fruits of their labor - a dramatically expanded and enhanced release that makes an epic adventure even… erm… epic-er.

You can get a taste of these enhancements in a new demo - out now for PS4, Xbox One and Steam. This is no mere taster - it’s a whole course’s-worth of exciting RPG gameplay. Here’s just a few of the fantastic things you can expect when you download it:

An expansive story that has time to breathe

To be frank, calling this a demo is kind of underselling it. The download lets you play through the entirety of the opening chapters - a gargantuan chunk of game that could take you around 10 hours, depending on how you play.

This is a good thing, because you’ll be able to get a sense of how DRAGON QUEST XI’s story unfolds. The game starts with your floppy-haired hero and his childhood friend Gemma climbing Cobblestone Tor - a ceremony that marks their ascent into adulthood.

Things don’t go according to plan, and in the ensuing chaos, the Hero discovers that he has hidden power - and a destiny that can’t be avoided. He sets off for the city of Heliodor, to speak to the King and learn more about his newfound abilities.

Of course, if you’ve ever played a DRAGON QUEST game before, you know that this charmingly simple setup soon explodes into an epic adventure that’s deeper and more expansive than the Mariana Trench.

Even in this demo, there are twists and turns a-plenty. You’ll meet fascinating people, encounter beautiful sights and have your expectations subverted in some really awesome ways that we don’t want to ruin here.

In short, it’s a fantastic story that cleverly and carefully draws you in - and once it’s got its hooks into you, it’s impossible to now want to know what happens next.

The good news on that front is…

All your progress carries over to the full game

Everything you do in the (deep breath) DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition demo carries over to the full game.

You won’t have to replay anything you’ve already done (unless you want to) - your adventure will continue from exactly where you left off!

An awesome orchestral soundtrack

The new Definitive Edition of DRAGON QUEST XI features a fully orchestrated soundtrack as standard. It gives these classic tracks a beautifully rich, full sound that adds life and emotion to every scene and location. It’s rather wonderful.

That said, some people may favor the game’s original synthesized score - that’s included in the full game. It’s a sound that’s very specific to the DRAGON QUEST series, and long-term fans in particular may find that it’s their preferred way to play the game.

Regardless of which you like the most, rest assured that you’re never locked into one or the other. In the full game, you’ll be able to freely switch between orchestral and synthesized soundtracks via the menu at any time when you’re exploring the world.

Faster, flashier fights

Sooner or later (well, sooner to be honest), you’ll have to face off against some of DRAGON QUEST’s mammoth menagerie of monsters. These cool critters are as aggressive as they are awesome-looking, and you’ll need to take them down in exciting turn-based battles.

The good news is that battles are faster in this enhanced version of DRAGON QUEST XI than ever before. A new ‘ultra-fast’ speed option makes battles fly by in the blink of an eye - perfect for when you’re exploring for treasure or revisiting somewhere you’ve already been.

I will offer a word of caution though. While ultra-fast mode makes basic fights against the likes of slimes and cruelcumbers fast-paced and oddly addictive, it’s highly advisable you turn the dial down for tougher enemies and boss battles.

Information comes at you fast in battle, and you’ll want to make sure you have time to process it and react accordingly. Fortunately, you can change the battle speed at any time, even mid-fight, so feel free to mix it up as needed.

An improved crafting system that’s almost worthy of its own game

DRAGON QUEST XI has one of the best crafting systems of any RPG for one simple reason - you have to actually do the crafting. It’s not enough to simply gather a load of miscellaneous tat and jam it together in a menu, you have to make sure that it’s made properly.

Some way into the demo, you’ll gain access to the Fun Size Forge. This essential tool lets you create unique armors, weapons and more, and lives up to its name by both being small, and massively entertaining.

The actual process of forging is a grid-based minigame that requires you to carefully manage the pattern of the item and the temperature of the furnace to reach an optimum level of quality. It’s easy to understand, but tricky to master, especially as additional forging techniques are unlocked.

In the original game, you could craft at specific points in game, but in the Definitive Edition, you can use the Fun Size Forge at any time. That alone makes it much more useful as you can now get access to amazing gear - or even improve what you’re using - much more frequently - a seemingly small change that has a massive impact on the flow of the game.

You can switch to the Japanese voice-over

Many fans like to play games with a Japanese cast, but that wasn’t available in the initial release of DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age… including in Japan, where it released with text dialogue only.

That’s changed for the new version. There’s now a full Japanese voice-over, so if that’s the way you like to play your JRPGs, you now have that option.

A nice reward when you finish the demo…

It’s well worth downloading the demo because those of you who play it through to completion will have a little treat in store when you play the full game.

We don’t want to give it away, but let’s just say you’ll earn a few useful items when you transfer your save data…

And that’s just the beginning… here’s what’s in the full game

There’s a lot to sink your teeth into in the new DRAGON QUEST XI S demo - but the full game has so much more.

When they were revisiting the game, the team saw an opportunity to add a tremendous amount of new content into the game, from new story, to expansive side quests and even new ways to play. Here are just some of the things you can expect to see if you carry your adventure into the full version:

Entirely new chapters for each member of your party

DRAGON QUEST XI S features some of the most interesting and likeable characters of any RPG - and the Definitive Edition gives you a lot more time to spend with them. Which is awesome.

Many of your companions have entirely new side-stories - solo adventures that dig deep into their personalities and backstories. There aren’t quick vignettes either - they’re lengthy adventures that are worked into the main story and add a massive amount to the overall narrative.

Some are funny and uplifting, others are heartfelt and tragic, but all are absolutely worth experiencing, even if you’ve played DRAGON QUEST XI before.

You can play the whole game in 2D in the full game

Another big feature only available in the full game is the ability to play through the adventure in 2D. Yes - the entire game.

This essentially presents the game as a classic DRAGON QUEST adventure, with the wonderfully expressive and detailed pixel art those earlier games were known for.

This 2D mode doesn’t just change up the look of the game - it also changes how it plays. For example, the battle system in this mode works like a classic DRAGON QUEST game, with commands being selected for all party members up-front, and them playing out in sequence, rather than one at a time like the 3D mode.

Side quests that explore more than 30 years of DRAGON QUEST history

In the full game (actually very shortly after the demo ends), you’ll be introduced to the weird world of Tickington.

This 2-dimensional village is more than a charming new area to explore - it operates as an entryway into other games in the series. You’ll be able to embark on numerous side-quests that take you back to previous games in the series - all recreated in beautiful pixel art.

For a fan, it’s like being battered by a tsunami of nostalgia, and if you’re new to the series, it works as an introductory tour of some of the series’ illustrious past.

Either way, it’s a lot of fun and adds even more to an already epic adventure.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg - there’s so much more to discover in DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition. It’s a massive release that expands and enhances what was already one of the best RPGs on the generation.

To see for yourself, download the free demo now.

If you like what you play (and we’re pretty sure you will), then you can preorder the full game now:

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, follow the team on social media: