It’s a great time to be a Dragon Quest fan. Square Enix is hell bent on exposing the general gaming public to the brand and is doing so by releasing countless spin-offs (like the recently reviewed Dragon Quest Treasures) to the main series. From Monsters, to Joker, to Builders to Warriors and now to Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai, which itself is based off an anime spin-off to the series.
Don’t be confused…just think of it this way. It’s a game based off an anime that’s based off a game. Circuitous route indeed. Having tried the game a couple of weeks ago at Tokyo Game Show 2023, I was honestly looking forward to playing the full version.
So, how does the latest Dragon Quest spin-off fare? Is it a worthy play or something that’s better off left in the garbage bin? Or at the very least, until a heavy sale comes along.
Find out by continuing onwards!
What is Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai?
Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai is a third person action RPG that adapts the complete manga (and anime) Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai into video game form.
It’s available now on the Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch consoles, as well as on the PC.
Our copy was provided to us by the kind folks at Square Enix!
To say that Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai is a slavish adaptation of the anime is understating it. While it’s admirable, the utter dedication to summarize events of the anime into video game form doesn’t really translate well.
That’s mainly because the game relies too much on static cutscenes with voice overs to tell the stories. You’ll spend so much time watching these that the gameplay stages feel almost like an afterthought.
I’m dead serious.
If I’d wanted to watch static screens from the anime play out, I’d just have watched the anime instead!
To be fair, pivotal moments in the story are done via the in-game engine (and these are wonderfully done) but they are rather few and far between, especially in the early game. It would’ve been much more interesting if all the cutscenes where done this way instead of the slideshow presentations that are in the game.
While I do like the game’s plot, it’s too dependent on long winded exposition cutscenes instead of letting you experience it through gameplay.
When you do get into the game proper, you’ll find that Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai is a rather basic action game.
I thought it’d be akin to Dragon Quest Warriors, but alas, it’s not. The fighting is sadly much more barebones. Tapping X multiple times does a three hit combo, with Y, B and RB being customizable skill shortcuts. LT is different for every character, with RT being mapped to a character’s ultimate move.
The fights are serviceable, but they don’t really command much of your attention.
It’s just button mashing, hoping your CPU allies intelligently chip in or heal you as needed.
You can swap between your CPU allies at any time and each character does play differently, but Dai is pretty much all you need to play as to dominate the game, as his ultimate skills (such as Avan Strash) and LT skill are immensely powerful when powered up fully.
Stages in Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai fall into two categories; boss fights or linear levels.
Both are similarly short in length, though at least the boss fights can be rather challenging. The linear levels are unfortunately too short to be entertaining, though the gamut of monster types that you fight does tickle the fancy of the Dragon Quest fan in me.
The game really needs to make its stages longer because while the battle system isn’t particularly deep, it is fun enough to smash enemies with.
There’s an attempt made to infuse depth to the RPG system, though it’s debatable on how successful it is. You can raise the levels of your skills, as well as Bond Memories.
Think of these as cards that depict pivotal moments from the story, that give beneficial effects when equipped. They come in three rarities, and you can only equip a certain number of each.
While you can get most by story progression, the more powerful (and rare) ones can only be obtained via the Temple of Recollection.
It’s a randomly generated endless dungeon (which starts you off at Level 1 for every attempt), with rooms with a specific bonus given when cleared.
You can choose your route and the bonus you get after clearing a room, which makes the mode one of the best ways to experience the game’s combat system and get good Bond Memories. It’s a shame that the XP you gain in the temple doesn’t transfer to your main characters.
I honestly had more fun playing in the temple than running through the stages in the main game because it lets me play the game, instead of sitting through cutscene after cutscene to advance. The irony here is the plot is rather good, but I want to experience that plot through gameplay, not slideshows!
Owing to its anime lineage, the visuals in the game are actually rather good. Characters look like their anime counterparts and animate well. The in-game cutscenes (not the static slideshows) are especially stellar, with some really cool battles!
I didn’t encounter any slowdown or bugs so that’s another plus point too!
The Bottom Line.
Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai is a good game…when the cutscenes allow it to be. That’s easily evident as the Temple of Recollection shows what the game can do when it’s not bogged down by plot. It’s mindless fun true, but it’s fun nonetheless.
Unfortunately, cutscenes are literally the majority of the game. You can’t skip them because then you wouldn’t be able to follow the plot, but watching them in sequence will bore you right out of your mind after a while.
So the choice is yours. Do you love Dragon Quest enough to sit through hours of cutscenes to get to minutes of gameplay?
If you can stomach being bombarded by slideshow after slideshow, you’ll find a decent game underneath it all.
- Fun gameplay
- Characters all play differently
- Decent plot
- Temple of Recollection
- Decent visuals
- Too many cutscenes
- Boring static exposition
- Stages too short