Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai Hands-On Preview

Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai is an action RPG set in the Dragon Quest universe, focusing on Dai and his exploits. Unlike its more well-known turn-based counterparts, this spin-off focuses heavily on the action, where you can control each character independently and rely on the AI to function according to its presets.

During our time at Tokyo Game Show 2023, we were fortunate enough to spend time with the game ahead of its release, and while franchise purists may not get the same experience similar to that of the mainline titles, Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai could scratch some of that action RPG itch.

In our time with the game, we were able to take control of the three main characters: Dai, a fledgling dragon warrior, along with his companions; Popp, the soft-spoken magician; and Maam, a feisty cleric. The build we tried out allowed us access to a couple of boss fights and a number of levels that we could try out to see what progression would look like.

Immediately noticeable is that Infinity Strash employs a sort of level-based progression where players do not actually get to explore vast fields and dungeons but rather just proceed to eliminate waves of enemies to proceed to the next level. This is quite a baffling design decision and one that goes counter to the strong exploration tendencies of the Dragon Quest franchise.

Additionally, the story of Infinity Strash is told through a mix of static images and cutscenes that don’t really blend well together. Considering that the story of the game is based on a number of chapters from the anime adaptation, a direct lifting of the anime to be used in the game could have done wonders. With the gameplay loop consisting of finishing a level and seeing these story scenes, things can get repetitive very quickly.

Infinity Strash Map

One thing that Infinity Strash does that could be a redeeming quality is its combat, which is a competent take on an action-based format and a surprising departure from its turn-based roots. Character control can be changed between the three characters (Dai, Popp, and Maam) at any time, with each having a distinct playstyle.

For the most part, Dai has his basic sword attack, a dash move that also becomes a quick dodge button if pressed at the right moment before an attack, a power melee attack, a secondary melee attack, and a magic projectile. The special attacks have a cooldown meter, as is standard RPG fare, and once you’ve built up your energy meter, you can unleash a charged attack or launch a special attack to deal massive damage.

The action can get too flashy to follow at times, and when all skills connect at the same time, the visual effects can be quite overpowering and result in flashes of light that can obstruct the ongoing action. Players can also equip what’s called Bond Memories, cards that have various properties, allowing players to build their characters a certain way, but only to a certain point.

Infinity Strash Story

The AI in Infinity Strash felt like two opposite ends of a spectrum, where the fodder enemies during normal levels feel like pushovers while the bosses are done properly, albeit with rather limited attack patterns and predictable moves. There’s almost no consistency here, and it almost feels like there’s something holding back the game for every feature that pushes it forward.

Should the levels prove to be too easy for players, Infinity Strash provides a mode called the Tower of Recollection that’s filled with roguelite elements. Players will be able to ascend the tower and conquer floors upon floors of monsters that get tougher the higher the players get. There’s a risk and reward system here, and players will be able to reap grand rewards the higher they get at the risk of losing it all should they perish.

Infinity Strash Gameplay

Infinity Strash is looking to be a new take on the Dragon Quest experience, although it somewhat feels too simple and straightforward for its own good. It has its redeeming qualities, but at least based on what we tried out with our limited time, it might feel like a hit or miss for franchise fans who are looking forward to a new adventure.

Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai launches on September 28 on the PS4, PS5, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam.

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