The Overlooked Version of DQX Online - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Overlooked Version of DQX Online

While the English speaking world hasn’t had the opportunity to try out Square Enix’s MMO Dragon Quest X Online, many gamers are certainly aware of the endeavor. Originally releasing on August 2, 2012 on the Wii in Japan, the series now has a home on many different platforms including the likes of the Wii U, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, mobile and even browsers (and is region locked to Japan). What you may not know, or may not know in detail, is that a cloud based version of the game was also released on the Nintendo 3DS.

Background & Release
Before we get into everything, I just want to note that I am by no means a long-time player of Dragon Quest X or of any MMOs for that matter. The purpose of this article is to let you know whether or not this is a viable way to play Square Enix’s MMO. With that said, let’s dive in…
Dragon Quest X Online originally released on the Nintendo 3DS on September 4, 2014 as a packaged game. The game did not ship on a cart and the package itself was just a cardboard box containing a digital code for the the game that could be claimed on the 3DS eShop. Additionally, the package also included a 60 day play ticket, a poster and a ticket for some in-game items. When originally released, gamers could not just simply download the Dragon Quest X Online app from the Nintendo 3DS eShop. They could only access it via a download code from Square Enix, either bundled in this package or by filling out an online form via Square Enix’s website. The latter of which was only available during specified times, such as when a free trial of the game was available. The game did eventually see a proper release on the eShop on December 1, 2015. 

As I mentioned previously, Dragon Quest X Online on the Nintendo 3DS is a cloud based game, meaning that it doesn’t not run natively on the system. Cloud provider Ubitus, the same team responsible for cloud versions of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Control and Hitman 3 on the Nintendo Switch, were the ones to make this game a reality on Nintendo’s handheld. With that said, and being online in nature, it is a little difficult to play this game on the go unless you tether to a cellular device. 

Collector’s Corner
As for the box itself, I managed to actually pick up one of these well after the initial release via a re-seller here in Japan. All of the coupons were used, and even with that, the previous owner felt it necessary to physically cut out all of the codes from the leaflets, which I found mildly annoying. At any rate, the box is made of cardboard and has a pocket/area on the inside for all of the leaflets to fit inside. The outside features the artwork for the original version release of Dragon Quest X and your typical explanations and screenshots on the back. 

Playing DQX in 2021 on 3DS
I did manage to play the game back in 2015 during a free three hour trial. I talked about it way back in August of the same year on The Famicast 62 - FAMISPLAT SEASON in detail. If you want to hear my complete thoughts from the time, I suggest going back and listening to the episode here. If you can’t be bothered, I’ll paraphrase. At the time, there were a lot of gamers in Japan that complained about this version of the game on Amazon Japan, talking about having issues logging in, issues with the streaming aspect of the game and just overall poor experiences. My experience at the time wasn’t ideal, but the game was functional. It looked like (quoting myself here) “watching a Wii game that is sub DVD quality” and was at times grainy and choppy. Since then, and for the topic of discussion today, how does this game look all these years later?
To be honest, remembering my experience from years ago, I wasn’t expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised with how the game ran. Additionally, before you dive into the game, you are able to check out previews for each of the current available expansions of the game (Version 1 - 5 at this point) as well as mess around with settings and purchase play tickets. 

After setting up my character, I was let loose in the first village. Overall, the game ran very smoothly and I can’t really think of any times where the streaming aspect of the game was noticeable. I wandered around the town, talked to some people and even did some battles. Everything was great and worked better than I expected it to. Of course, visually speaking, the game is pared back. It looks fine, but if you’re looking for a visually pleasing experience, playing on more powerful hardware would be the way to go. 

Although the game did run smoothly for me in my short time playing in preparation for this article, there were a few things that I did notice. The initial load time before getting into the game was a bit long and there are instances of assets popping in/loading while making your way through detailed areas (foliage, buildings, etc). Also, while playing the game, you are unable to use the Home Button while logged in. It kind of makes sense given the always connected nature of the game, so I can overlook that. 
It is nice to have a soft keyboard always available on the lower touch screen of the 3DS, however I think it could have been better served housing the map, perhaps giving gamers the ability to flip between the two as they please. As it stands right now, the map is available on the top screen in the corner of the screen but it is relatively small. The press of the Y button does increase the size, but it takes up a significant portion of the screen making it a bit difficult to see what is happening around you. When it’s all said and done, if this is the biggest complaint I can come up, things here really aren’t as bad as I thought they would be. 

It has been interesting to go back to the streaming 3DS version of Dragon Quest X Online all these years later. While it’s obviously not the most ideal way to play, this version of the game still serves as a functional way to try out Square Enix’s MMO. It seems to be only a matter of time before the 3DS version of the game gets canned, and as of June 2021, the game is still up and running but could be de-listed or discontinued at any time. If you’re in Japan, speak Japanese, have a Japanese 3DS and/or are just interested in the game, give it a try. For all others, I hope you guys enjoyed the look into this oddity of a release.


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