Be it an obvious truth or just a mere coincidence in design, no system could be better suited for first person shooters than the Wii. The very essence of turning every corner and coming face to face with what bumps in the night is perfect for the little console, if not for its limited hardware, then for its utterly unique control design. And with a game like Dragon Quest: Swords, the pairing couldn't be more perfect.
Yes, much like every DQ game in existence, Swords puts players in the role of an unnamed, silent protagonist. But this time, you really feel like you're inside him (no funny jokes there), with the entire game viewed from a first person perspective. Turns out it’s your birthday tomorrow and after some sparring practice against the town’s renowned senior swordsman, you set out on a quest to become a man by fighting off some demons in a cave. Yes, it’s that simple. Anyway, reigning victorious, you rush back to the town castle to receive the blessing of the queen, though she’s mysteriously unavailable (and has been for quite some time). And with her worrisome son on the lookout, your dad gives you a gentle kick out the door to give the worrywart a helpful hand (or sword, technically). And so begins this charming first person perspective on motherly love.
Don’t expect the RPG roots to be any different because they’re in first person, as Swords still has the staple town merchants of weapons, armors and items at your disposal.
Don’t expect the RPG roots to be any different because they’re in first person, as Swords still has the staple town merchants of weapons, armors and items at your disposal. There’s even a pretty little church on the steep side of the town’s hill to save your game. Most players will soon realize that it’s the only town in the game. Traveling in and out of the town to different locations is quick and snappy, though visiting the same town for resources over and over again might get old. Though it may be more action-oriented than the common Dragon Quest game, you still level up after every enemy falls before your feet, with herbs and the occasional weapons and armors as nifty little treasure loot.
The controls are the most intuitive yet cumbersome part of the package, with slashing the screen with the Wii Remote as your only means of attacking in the entire game. The rail-like progression of the game scarcely throws enemies in front of your path every so often, and when they do, get ready for the carpal tunnel syndrome to kick in. Attacking is as simple as holding the Wii Remote in a completely and perfectly straight position without ever faltering by a single degree. It may sound ridiculous, but trying to slash three horizontally-lined up Slimes only to hit one diagonally because your arm isn’t slashing at a flawless angle is ridiculous.
Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors feels exactly the way a rich, engaging Dragon Quest game should. If not for the expected Akira Toriyama art direction, then for the ridiculously long and pointless title names should be enough of a prime example. It’s really short though, clocking in at 9 to 10 hours if you really do everything. It isn’t the prettiest title for the Wii, but if RPGs tickle your fancy, it’s still worth a try. Dragon Quest Swords is a game you’d have to see with your own eyes to believe. Or...slash with. Whichever.