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Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince | REVIEW | Nintendo Switch

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

''ITS THE MONSTER MASH''


 



Developed: Square-Enix

Published: Square-Enix

Genre: Role Playing

Release Date: Dec 1st,2023

Platforms: NSW

*Review copy provided to me by Square-Enix


Dragon Quest Monsters The Dark Prince is another entry into the every growing Dragon Quest line up and it is developed and published by Square-Enix. With Dragon Quest hitting on all cylinders at the moment with fun tilte after fun title while we patiently await Dragon Quest 12, Square-Enix decides ''lets end the year with a bang'', and then proceeds to offer The Dark Prince. But was it wise to throw out another Dragon Quest related title this soon because of market oversaturation? or does this actually end up becoming beneficial to the franchise? Only one way to find out, so lets go!


STORY:


The hunt for high-ranked monsters takes Psaro through the ever-changing seasons of Nadiria and its unique environments, with rivers of bubbling lava, mysterious ancient ruins, and soaring towers of cake. Along the way, Psaro meets the kind-hearted elf, Rose, who joins his adventure to seek out ever-stronger monsters.



 

GAMEPLAY:


If you know me and have followed me on social media or have directly talked to me, you know that I love me some Pokemon and monster catching type of stuff of the same variety, and here in Dragon Quest Monsters The Dark Prince, the same holds true for you as the player as you capture and utilize different abilities from each monster that you acquire. I won't lie, catching some of my favorite monsters made me want to bust out the ''ElectoBuzz'' baseball team theme song from Pokemon and straight up be like ''lets all cheer electobuzz the strongest team of all'' and straight down to ''metronome, safe at home, hyperbeam too, electobuzz its YOUUUUUUUU''. Random singing aside, as you can tell, that mechanic appeals to me quite a bit. With Dragon Quest Monsters series not seeing a U.S. release outside of Japan since like 2011, it aims to shine brightly, and to hopefully give us a taste of what we've been missing for a very long time. As a game itself, Dragon Quest Monsters feels like the devs were in a board meeting like the board meeting meme, and were like ''ok! what do we do to make this a successful game in the west? any suggestions?'' and one lady is like ''add co-op?'', then next guy proceeds to say ''change RPG mechanics?'' and last guy was like ''Be Dragon Quest Pokemon?'' - only difference here, he wasn't thrown out of the window like the meme... this time... so he got to live. My point being, at the start of title, it felt like this title was kind of made for me, and type of games I like, even with the negatives, I have seen in it, the core idea of it overall? I saw what they were aiming to make. Its a game that removes a bit of the fluff of most RPG's and prioritizes its strengths and what aspects of those strengths makes the game as addicting as it ends up being. What I am referring to is the way you monster catch, alongside synthesis. Just don't mix too much together during synthesis and mutate your Pokemon like this is The Fly or something, or even worse, blow your experiment up like the tv show Dinosaurs and proclaim ''WERE GOING TO NEED ANOTHER TIMMY''. I'm sure lawsuits would be had. Well unless you got lucky and suddenly managed to create a Universal like Frakenstein monster, but I'm not counting on it.


As you start your game, you're introduced the character known a Psaro, who will be the main protagonist as your journey unfolds. What? you think that name sounds familar? well it should be, because he was the main that killed more children than Anakin Skywalker ever did, and the one man who is up there with Michael Jordan for the championship title of ''Eff them kids''. Yes that's right, Psaro is also a vllian and adversay of Dragon Quest 4, and not only that, has always been a mainstay in the Dragon Quest Monsters series for many years on top of it, so, yeah, hes kind of a big deal. But we can harp on and on about him being a cool inclusion and finding it awesome to be playing as him as a kid, but then we would just end up becoming a fangirl fanfic because of it and I'm not in the mood to be drawing him as a Furry, sorry. Once again at the start of the game, you're trying to be shown why you should care about Psaro and what hes been going through, such as Psaro's reasoning for getting revenge and wanting more power beyond just his Monster blood, so he can defeat the people that wronged him. On paper its a decent setup, but the overarching character story really doesnt hold up long term all game long and instead is every now and then placed on your lap with cutscenes that provide a little bit of feedback here and there that makes you go ''uhh...okay I guess?'' and then you poot and eat more beans. Luckily, at least for me, even with an underwhelming story, I can still enjoy a game to its fullest, as long as the gameplay of it isn't complete dog poop like something similar to The Day Before or a porn flash game that has you control the character with directional keys as you move through your ojective to get special items in order to unlock your next big H-Scene. Wait... hold up, I wasn't supposed to type that, just forget I said that and that I only mentioned The Day Before. I swear I don't play those flash games. My cleared browser history proves it!. Uhh.. but as I was saying, its gameplay over everything else for me and luckily in The Dark Princes case, it squarely focuses on what makes monster catching not only fun, but creating a pretty whimsical vibe as well with the way you battle and catch fellow monsters to your party to level up and grow.


 


''MY ALLERGIES WOULD BE KILLING ME''

 

The other core aspect this title relies on that's beyond just monster taming and growing their levels and abilities, has to do with actual monster breeding and mixing and matching to create new and different monsters. If you've played Shin Megami Tensei V, then you have a rough idea of how this process comes about. Sorry people, no sexy time shall be had, not even a sexy simulation helmet like in Demolition Man is needed. ''Ahh GeEeEz'' you say? I'm sorry to bum ya out.. but maybe next time we'll go to boobworld with Rick to make up for it. Sure, a wide ranged storyline with twists and turns are always a good thing to have in a game, but honestly, its not always needed, especially when you can thoroughly blend different forms of monstes together, which overall, can make every playthrough different due to the monsters skills and abilites that are gained or lost depending on the blend or fusion. Once you start getting the hang of the game and learn the mechanics and stop raging like me when I woud be trying to catch a super cute monster, only for one of my party member monsters to be like ''LOL TROLLED'' and then proceed to kill the monster before I had time to catch it and weaken it with a monster treat. No lie. that crap irritated me at first, so much in fact that I was going to give him the ''Fan'' treatment from Elder Scrolls Oblivion and leave him under a bridge. But I kept my composure and my friend was allowed to stay. Proceeding further into the game as you've acquired dozens of monsters at that point, you will then be able to take charge of your fate and participate in various tournaments that aim to test your skill as a trainer and breeder, to see if you have what it takes to be the best, like no one ever was, all while exploring new environments and regions that all have unique items to discover and collect, as well as a lot of side stories that diverge and connect to the plot of the main story, should you find them. Adding further to the immersion, the game also utilizes an active seasonal shift in your gameplay with the use of dynamic environemnts that change the weather around you, what enemy types you encounter and the overall landscape as well, giving you a new sense of appreciation for the environments around you. This helps keep backtracking tedium to a bare minimum... thankfully. The game got luckily, thats one of my cardinal sins.


Lastly, besides the game play of selecting your monsters, picking their ability to use based off the amount of MP you have at your disposal , assigning each monster their role, such as, if they should heal your party, defend or be aggressive and attack - you have the easy to follow and even easier to use, monster synthesis. Remember when I menioned Shin Megami Tensei V? well were back to that again because the process of synthesis for monsters here in Dark Prince, is overall in my opinion, even more straight forward. Here in Dark Prince, you can have multiple different kind of fusions per synthesis by combining two monsters togeher, all while seeing their overall ranking of a monster you have created in order to see if they're a dud of a mixture like a failed fusion of Goten and Trunks in Dragon Ball Z, or if they're completely overpowered and overwhelm their foes in strength. This is all determined by each monsters skill treees, up to 3 each to be exact, that determines what type of attacks, traits and abilities they will be able to use going forward, which if you take those breeded monsters and mix further with even MORE monsters, you will be able to transfer those same traits to an entirely new offspring that inherit that monsters overall skill points. So now you have a super overpowered monster with great traits, get even more strong the further you breed it again. This can make the process of breeding and synthesis take up way more of your time than the main storyline does, which can be seen as both a negative or a positive, depending on your perspective.


 


''ONE EYED, ONE HORN, FLYING PURPLE PEOPLE EATER''

 

OVERALL:


At the end of the day, Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince ends up being an enjoyable exeperienc overall, but not without its fair share of issues. For one thing, there are times when you see quite a bit of quality drop in the environments and even some substantial dipping in FPS during scenes that don't even involve anything going on. Its not a wide issue like all the time, but when it happens to you, you definitely see and feel it. Another gripe I had is the Psaro story. It really doesn't feel all that intriguing and feels a tad bit rushed. There are times when the story presents itself as ''omg did you see that? did ya see it?'', only for you to be like, yeah that's cool, but I guessed that was going to happen like way earlier in the game, so it left little to the imagination. Even so, those gripes aside, with the colorful enviornments, awesome gameplay mechanics with a party of 4 monsters that you can assign roles to, use treats to distract a monster to make it easier to catch, dynamic enviornment that make every area feel new again, and the awesome monster breeding that lets the players themselves feel like they're their own mad scientists.. with all that combined, it makes this title a really fun game that I feel Dragon Quest fans will enjoy, even if they want to wait for a price drop. I'm pretty confident in that. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW.



 


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