There's been a lot of great JRPGs this past decade such as Persona 5, Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The Witch and Xenoblade Chronicles, but we've made the argument that Square Enix's Dragon Quest XI S is the best of the rest despite them all being 10/10 masterpieces in their own unique way. One of the many reasons we adore the Nintendo Switch definitive edition so much is because of its incredible line-up of party members who we've decided to rank so we can gush about them all.
No video game is perfect and the same goes for Dragon Quest XI S as its nonstop music becomes an obnoxious form of torture and those without 100-hours to spare can rightfully argue that it's perhaps too long. However, in regard to the complaints about its length, when looking back on its messy, all over the place adventure it's hard to say that anything could or should have been cut.
And that's because each of its tragic to uplifting episodes are compelling from beginning to end, as well as because the party members are some of the best of any JRPG title. Yes, that includes the likes of Final Fantasy and Persona as well as past Dragon Quest instalments. In honour of the game's incredible cast (for which the English voice actors are all tremendous), we've decided to pit them against each other in a competitive ranking to see who is the best.
Spoilers beyond this point.
SQUARE ENIX: Why Dragon Quest XI S is the best JRPG of the decade
While we adore the cast of Dragon Quest XI S thanks to their conflicting personalities, abilities and appearances, the only one we're not so keen on is Veronica. She's great in the battlefield at first, but when you recruit Rab her lack of involvement becomes a classic tale of age, wisdom and experience prevailing over annoying youth.
The joke about her being mistaken for a young girl thanks to her unfortunate appearance quickly wears thin as too often she acts like a child-friendly Eric Cartman. She has her moments and the bond she shares with her twin sister Serena is sweet, but - in personality - she's definitely the ugly duckling of the blonde duo. That might sound a bit harsh, but there's only so much yelling from an infant you can tolerate before wanting to smother them with a pillow.
Aside from Vernoica, there's no one we really dislike in Dragon Quest XI S so the following rankings come from a place of love. With that being said, Serena is the least memorable of the remaining party members as she's too quiet and overshadowed by her annoying twin sister turned child.
In addition to being quiet and squeaky clean, Serena is also the least helpful on the battlefield. The only thing she offers is guilty pleasure eye candy in a belly dancer garment, but that's hardly going to help when fighting a badass with a red Mohawk referred to as the Lord Of Shadows. Again, she doesn't do anything offensive or annoying, but that's part of the problem as - while likeable - you can easily forget she exists.
Junpei, Yosuke and Ryuji from the Persona series are famous for being positioned as the MC's best mate, and Erik fills that very role in Dragon Quest XI S with Square Enix's girly-haired hero. Erik's appearance would be ridiculed in reality, but in the world of video games his Sonic The Hedgehog-esque blue hairdo is instead striking rather than off-putting and daft.
You could argue that Erik is rather tame and vanilla at the beginning, but he's given a lot more depth in the second act thanks to an eye-opening and emotional tale of struggling siblings who have drifted apart after suffering so much misfortune together. This episode in particular adds a lot to Erik's character to make him more than just the hero's sidekick.
As for the battlefield, Erik is pretty useful when equipped with two daggers. He's not an automatic starter in the line-up as the below members are all superior to him, but he's a lot better than the twins above.
People with sticks up their butts might argue that Jade is nothing more than a charming bosom used to captivate the enemy, but they'd be horribly wrong. Yes, there is more than a sprinkle of fan service when it comes to Jade seeing as she's the designated hotty of the game's brotherhood, but her over-the-top allure is light-hearted, in jest and tasteful. Plus, it isn't the only element that defines her character.
Complaints about her over-the-top sexuality would be completely warranted if she also wasn't a badass with legs that can literally kill. Not to mention she also has an interesting back-story that makes her affiliation with the hero date back to her childhood, and she has some of the more memorable lines in the game as well as interactions with the hero (such as jumping off a cliff to save his life).
In addition to all of the above, she's also a significant part of the game's best line-up thanks to her puff puff prowess, devastating kicks and ability to turn into a psychotic casino bunny.
Hendrik is perceived as one of the antagonists during the first act of the narrative, and this is because he's expertly positioned as the hero's menacing shadow. Plus he just looks like a baddie with his purple hair and goatee, coupled with his black armour and the Headless Horseman's black stallion. However, while positioned as a baddie during the first 40-hours, it's impossible to see him as anything other than the ideal fantasy hero when he unexpectedly joins your side.
The sibling-esque rivalry between Hendrik and Jasper is one of the game's most memorable episodes in its formulaic but still epic portrayal of light vs. dark. Granted, everyone has seen the monster created by the sin of envy before, but it's more effective in Dragon Quest XI S than it is in a lot of other properties.
As well as being a fantastic tale of redemption on par with Jaime Lannister from Game Of Thrones (up until season eight at least), Hendrik is also crucial to the line-up when battling tougher bosses thanks to his defensive traits and abilities.
There's not too many granddads with Scottish accents we can think of in video games so we feel pretty safe in declaring Rab as the greatest of all time. In addition to his wonderfully distinct colloquial speech, what makes Rab so endearing is his wisdom and experience coupled with his amusing fondness for Erdrea's equivalent to Playboy magazines.
The dynamic between Rab and Jade is just as compelling and unbreakable as the connection between him and the hero, and overall he's just a very likable granddad. There's not much else to say as describing him as a comforting and wise granddad is a perfect summary. He's also a must on the battlefield who spares you from having to see, use and listen to Veronica, so there's that aspect to making him a great character, too.
We can't speak for everyone when it comes to the portrayal of a flamboyant and camp character such as Sylvando in Dragon Quest XI S as everyone has different sensitivities, but we personally find the circus member to be the most entertaining and sweet of the game's incredible cast of goodies. Not only is he an absolute treasure who doesn't say darling nearly enough times, but he's also the heart of the game's band as he always attempts to help the misfortunate while the hero watches on in complete silence like a jerk.
Plus, while some might take issue with his representation, his story of being true to yourself in-spite-of others is an important one that doesn't come across as lame or overly sappy. Aside from his personality and overall importance to the plot and most scenes, another aspect that makes Sylvando the best is that he's fundamental to farming metal liquids to quickly gain XP.
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Dragon Quest XI S is available on Nintendo Switch.
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