So Dragon Quest XI was on a half off sale on Steam this past weekend. I bought it and then proceeded to play for nine and a half hours. Initial thoughts:
- DQXI is a fun silly traditional JRPG romp that is super fun without getting needlessly complicated
- Silent protagonists are usually not a good idea, in DQXI this type of Main Character is just awful
There are plenty of games that go the silent MC route and often times for good reason; a silent protagonist allows the player to project him/herself into the world of the game and the character they control. Their decisions are the character’s decisions and as far as their playthrough is concerned, canonical. This works well in non-linear games like the Elder Scrolls series.
In an on rails narrative JRPG however, it is beyond a terrible choice. The player can’t project into the main characters because there are no decisions to make. They story is happening and the MC is transformed into a vehicle in which the supporting cast who actually has character rides. Essentially, the developers just decided to not write an MC for their story, which feels… dumb. It feels dumb.
…but sometimes having a silent MC is too.