Dragon Quest Treasures review for PC, Nintendo Switch

Platform: PC
Also on: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix/TOSE
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Even though there have been a few dozen entries in the Dragon Quest franchise since it launched more than twenty-five years ago, until very recently I’d somehow only played one Dragon Quest game: Dragon Quest Builders – which I enjoyed, but which I’m willing to bet didn’t give me a super accurate understanding of what the game games are usually like.

Now, thanks to Dragon Quest Treasures getting released on Steam, my total number of Dragon Quest games played has doubled (all the way to 2!). And while I still don’t think I have an accurate idea of what the mainline games are like, I definitely like Dragon Quest Treasures enough that I should probably think about giving the series a proper shot.

Mind you, I strongly suspect that Dragon Quest Treasures is tailor-made for people like me: people who aren’t too familiar with the series and looking for an accessible entry point. Moreover, I get the feeling that it’s also worthwhile for anyone (meaning: younger kids) new to the world of RPGs, given its characters and its designs.

(In other words, if you’re a longtime Dragon Quest fan, you’ll probably hate this review and/or find it completely unhelpful.)

In fact, I’d say that accessibility is the key word when talking about Dragon Quest Treasures. That’s apparent right from the get-go, when you notice a surprising lack of talk-heavy cutscenes. Unlike a lot of other JRPGs that go heavy on the lore, Dragon Quest Treasures seems to understand that you don’t need to do an exposition dump that takes up a few hours before letting you get to the actual game. Rather, it metes out its story in smaller (albeit unskippable, as far as I could tell) chunks – and, personally, I found that to be a refreshing change. It’s a lot easier to have the hours fly by when you’re not watching cutscenes and forwarding through lengthy dialogue sequences.

Similarly, the combat is pretty simple, even though it’s team-based. For one thing, it all takes place in real-time, so you don’t need to figure out menus or turns or any of them. Further, your monster teammates can hold their own in battles, so you don’t need to worry about reviving them or leveling them up – they just do it, which, again, is a welcome change from a lot of other squad-based combat games. This is especially useful in the beginning of the game, when your slashes and your slingshot barely make a dent in some enemy health bars.

On top of that, your monster teammates even have powers that are useful outside of combat – some help you reach higher points, for example, and others help you glide distances. While that’s hardly a startling innovation, compared to a lot of other games where your squad only shows up in battle, it’s a nice change of pace.

If there’s a criticism to be leveled against Dragon Quest Treasures, it’s that it can be a little quest-heavy – and not always in a fun way, but rather, in a way that feels like the game is just giving you items to check off a list. It means that rather than getting to enjoy the game’s world, you’re hunting for an arbitrary number of random plants and rocks, which can only be asked of you so many times before it feels a little repetitive.

Overall, though, I can’t complain too much about a game that I had so much fun with. It may not be aimed at Dragon Quest diehards, but if you’ve ever wanted to get into the series, Dragon Quest Treasures is a great place to start.

Square Enix provided us with a Dragon Quest Treasures PC code for review purposes.

Grade: A-