Dragon Quest 3 HD-2D
Image via Square Enix

Preview: Dragon Quest 3 HD-2D Remake Is Cute and Colorful

Square Enix has been coy concerning information about Dragon Quest 3 HD-2D Remake, with very little information coming out since the announcement of the remake in May 2021. However, it recently invited Siliconera to give the game a spin and see what playing this HD-2D remake of a classic Dragon Quest title would be like.

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I was able to sit down and play Dragon Quest 3 HD-2D Remake during Summer Game Fest, and I was not disappointed. Granted, I have never played Dragon Quest 3, so I’m coming at this from the perspective of a newcomer. A majority of the Dragon Quest games I did play were a part of the Monster series, and knowing that Dragon Quest 3 HD-2D will be the place to start for those unfamiliar with the series was a relief.

Chronologically, Dragon Quest 3 takes place before the first Dragon Quest game, which Square Enix stressed. It would make sense that this game would be given the HD-2D treatment, and then subsequently released on modern platforms. Players assume the role of a nameless hero who is accompanied by a small party as they set out on a quest to defeat the fiend Baramos who is intent on destroying the world.

The section of the game that I was able to play took place at the beginning, which allowed me to explore one of the starting villages and really soak in the visual changes in Dragon Quest 3 HD-2D. Generally, I’m not a huge fan of HD-2D, since a lot of the finer details of pixel sprites are often hard to see through bloom and other visual effects like blur, like in Octopath Traveler, but the game is gorgeous. There is just the right amount of detail and saturation to make the sprites pop and the bloom effect isn’t overwhelming. I spent some time wandering the town and talking to NPCs, trying to buy weapons and armor I couldn’t afford, and meandering for a bit before I decided to make my way to the overworld map.

Fields of green were dotted with tightly condensed trees to make up small forests, which were home to a variety of monsters, including the iconic slime. Combat takes place from a first person perspective, with the menu allocated to the upper lefthand side of the screen. The monsters are pulled forward in perspective to give the background some depth, and their designs look great in the HD-2D style. Now, the game was a bit harder than anticipated. But we were warned that Dragon Quest 3 isn’t the easiest game in the franchise by far. So I more or less just spent my time battling slimes and other creatures, getting the hang of the turn-based combat system and just soaking in how pretty the game was.

It was a good enough taste of what Dragon Quest 3: HD-2D Remake will be like on release, and has me excited. The game is gorgeous and the combat is cut and dry enough that it seems approachable to newcomers. Overall, I think Square Enix made the right decision to choose this art style for the HD-2D remake and that in choosing to remake Dragon Quest 3, that this could be the perfect place for those new to the franchise to jump in.

Dragon Quest 3: HD-2D Remake is currently in development and will come to the Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC on November 14, 2024.

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Image of Kazuma Hashimoto
Kazuma Hashimoto
Senior staff writer, translator and streamer, Kazuma spends his time playing a variety of games ranging from farming simulators to classic CRPGs. Having spent upwards of 6 years in the industry, he has written reviews, features, guides, with work extending within the industry itself. In his spare time he speedruns games from the Resident Evil series, and raids in Final Fantasy XIV. His work, which has included in-depth features focusing on cultural analysis, has been seen on other websites such as Polygon and IGN.