Dragon Quest Heroes: The World’s Tree Woe and the Blight Below

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World’s Tree Woe and the Blight Below Game Poster Image
Deep, fun, gratifying action RPG with cartoonish violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Trying to protect a kingdom from evil forces is positive, but much of gameplay centers on combat.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters you play as are noble, heroic; party members all seem friendly (if not impatient at times), want to defeat evil together. 

Ease of Play

Not too difficult but not the easiest to control; has a somewhat convoluted story. There's a mandatory tutorial to get familiar with controls, camera, gameplay elements.

Violence

Fantasy role-playing game focuses heavily on combat. Players use weapons, such as swords as well as magic attacks (such as fireballs) to kill thousands of enemy monsters including skeletons, blobs, dragons, golems. One enemy is a bloody hand emerging from the ground.

Sex

Some female characters wear low-cut skirts, tops, reveal ample cleavage. One of the items you can obtain is fishnet stockings with garter belt; accompanying text reads "Sexy suspenders to stun friend and foe alike" and "Titillating tights that show off a lady's legs."

Language
Consumerism

All downloadable content (DLC) in this game is free for North American players, already included in the game. Based on the popular Dragon Quest franchise -- a huge hit in Asia -- which includes multiple games, books, apparel, and more. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below is an action-heavy role-playing game, which features a lot of hack-and-slash combat against fantastical enemies. Players will use swords and other bladed weapons, along with magic attacks, to destroy monsters who mysteriously turn on humans. There's some blood in the game, but it's related to mostly unrealistic violence against blob-like creatures, golems, gargoyles, slime, skeletons, one-eyed ogres, and so on. Female characters frequently wear skimpy clothing, with items that have sexually descriptive text. This is the latest installment of a massively popular franchise, and players may find themselves interested in checking out older games in the series.

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What's it about?

DRAGON QUEST HEROES: THE WORLD TREE'S WOE AND THE BLIGHT BELOW is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) that plays out in real time opposed to turn-based RPGs. The introductory video tells of a time when monsters lived in peace among people, but the tide turned instantly when a dark shock wave swept through the city of Arba. As a member of the Royal Guard looking to restore order in the kingdom, you must choose to play as the hero Luceus or the heroine Aurora, each with their own personality, weapons, and skill set. By joining forces with other fan favorites from previous Dragon Quest titles -- such as Maya, Alena, Yangus, and Bianca -- you'll need to traverse the land, fight monsters big and small, and turn back the clock to a more peaceful time. It's a tale of good vs. evil, friendship, and facing insurmountable odds.

Is it any good?

Though you likely need to be a fan of Japanese RPGs to get something out of Dragon Quest Heroes, its "hack and slash" real-time combat, wide variety of enemies, and strategy-oriented battles is sure to please gamers itching to play something fresh and new. There's a real sense of adventure and excitement here, as you'll build your fighter's abilities, take on many missions (that don't seem repetitive or redundant), and slice and dice through thousands of cartoon-like enemies on big battlefields (along with huge boss monsters). It's key to swap between the right characters at the right time and to execute the right kind of attack to defeat the horde of creatures. You'll see each fighter's hit points and magic points on the screen, so you can decide who might be ideal for the job and when it's time to level them up, as well as seeing a small map in the upper right-hand corner with color-coded characters so you can see what you're up against.

It's also fun to collect monster medals to transform enemies into allies who can fight alongside you in battle, with up to two dozen teaming up with you at any one time. These big set pieces are complemented by gorgeous graphics, smooth animation, and a high-quality soundtrack. There's nothing major to complain about here, but as previously mentioned, those who aren't fans of this genre might not "get" the gameplay as much as someone with a soft spot for these Japanese RPGs. Still, this is a fun fantasy brawler with more depth than meets the eye.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the depiction of female sexuality in Dragon Quest Heroes. How does the game balance a brave, strong heroine with a focus on cleavage and tight outfits? Does this make any sense?

  • Talk about the violence and action focus of battle in this game. Is the violence acceptable because it's over the top, or is it harder to deal with because the action focus forces you to constantly cut your way through enemies?

Game details

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