Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest – The Adventure of Dai isn’t the first video game based on the popular anime series set in the Dragon Quest universe, but it is the first that’s made its way to consoles with a mainstream release. And, like similar anime video game tie-ins, you don’t need to be familiar with the series in order to enjoy its adventure.
However, whilst it does offer a decent action-RPG experience, it doesn’t always live up to the high standards player might expect of the Dragon Quest franchise.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest – The Adventure of Dai (I think I’m just going to call it ‘Infinity Strash’ from this point on) gives a re-telling of the story from the anime, with the titular hero Dai on a journey with his friends to destroy the evil of the world. Ok, I’m really simplifying it there, with plenty of enigmatic characters to meet along the way as well as dazzling scenarios befitting of the colourful world of Dragon Quest, but ultimately it’s a good old fashioned tale of good-versus-evil.
Oh, and it tells the story in the whole ‘the hero has lost his memories and is re-living them’ kind of way that’s befitting of anime video games, so it really does feel like a recap of the series. It ensures that Infinity Strash’s storytelling caters to those who are completely new to the anime, so don’t be put off if this is your first experience with the title. Of course, those who’ve watched it might appreciate certain events or the appearance of specific characters more, but it’s suitable for anyone. And believe me, the game goes into a lot of depth with its storytelling (which spans both illustrations and cinematics), so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on narrative detail. I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of the anime, but the game still did a good job of completely investing me in the story.
When it comes to the gameplay, Infinity Strash takes a level-based approach, which helps streamline the storytelling and makes it easier to follow the events of the anime without giving the player too much freedom. You won’t be traversing a vast-open world but instead more linear spaces, though they still offer a decent amount of exploration as you venture off to find secrets that are scattered around or face off against enemies. Unfortunately, some of the more uninspired aspects of the level design do become a bit more obvious as you progress, which can make the game feel a bit repetitive. Some levels are VERY simple too, with them consisting of little more than a battle. I dunno, I guess I just wished that the levels became a bit more interesting as I progressed through the game as opposed to following the same formula throughout.
“Whilst Infinity Strash doesn’t play like a traditional Dragon Quest game, it still looks and feels like one, which might be enough to make players more forgiving some of its flaws.”
When you break it down, combat is pretty straightforward, with your basic attacks just requiring a little bit of button-mashing to pull off and your defensive manoeuvres seeing you dodging out of the way of attacks or blocking them. It’s quick-paced and fun, with each of the playable characters having different methods of attack that ensures everything in combat feels snappy. Characters also have their own fighting styles and special abilities that make them feel unique to use, with each offering a range of buffs and attacks that really do look impressive in battle. The variety helps ensure that clearing out hordes of enemies remains enjoyable, whilst boss battles can be real spectacles that put your combat skills to the test. Infinity Strash really leans heavily into the over-the-top anime stylings with its combat and it helps ensure that each battle is a real treat on the eyes.
It’s just a shame that it never really evolves as you play, with players using a lot of the same combat strategies at the start of the game that they would by the end. Whilst you can equip Bond Memories that boost your stats and tie into the events of the anime (and they are pivotal to your success), it’s not a particularly interesting system to invest in. Meanwhile, you’ll face some bosses a few too many times, with players facing off against the same foes on multiple occasions without much changing from a gameplay perspective. Whilst this does make sense from a storytelling viewpoint and to stay true to the anime, it could get a little tiresome facing the same foe multiple times. It’s a shame because the boss battles themselves can be fantastic… I just don’t want to do the same ones over and over again.
There was one thing that I really, really liked in the game though: the Temple of Recollection. This dungeon-based area is separate from the main story, with it offering a roguelike experience that sees players facing off against different variations of layouts and enemies with each attempt. You’ll start at level one each time you visit, but unlock a wide range of boosts that can be permanently applied to your characters as you progress. It’s a good way to grind and improve your skillset, but it’s also satisfying to play through thanks to the ever-increasing difficulty and randomised nature of the obstacles in your path. It’s like a more unique and rewarding way to grind, which, as a long-time RPG fan, is something I can DEFINITELY get on board with.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It’s also worth noting that Infinity Strash has that undeniable sense of Dragon Quest charm about it. The visuals are wonderful and full of colour, whilst the recognisable art style of Akira Toriyama is seen across both the characters you meet and the familiar enemies that show up. Whilst Infinity Strash doesn’t play like a traditional Dragon Quest game, it still looks and feels like one, which might be enough to make players more forgiving some of its flaws.
Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest – The Adventure of Dai Review
Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest – The Adventure of Dai can feel a little uninspired, but has enough interesting ideas to ensure it’ll appeal to fans of the series. I had a lot of fun with the combat and the Temple of Recollection stands out as a highlight, but the repetitive level design and lack of evolution as you play could make the game feel a bit dull when compared to other action-RPGs. There’s nothing bad about it, but it doesn’t offer the thrills seen elsewhere in the genre.
Still, with a genuinely impressive recollection of the narrative of the anime as well as that undeniable Dragon Quest charm, there’s still plenty to like about Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest – The Adventure of Dai. Just don’t go expecting a thrilling RPG experience that lives up to the high standards seen in the mainline titles.
Developer: KAI GRAPHICS
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC