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Default Dungeon Encounters - Review @ Eurogamer

October 29th, 2021, 20:21
Eurogamer has reviewed Dungeon Encounters:

Dungeon Encounters review - all-star team assembles for one of Square Enix's best RPGs in an age

The man behind FF6, FF9 and FF12 makes his long-awaited comeback.

Hiroyuki Ito returns to the helm for the first time since Final Fantasy 12 in another brilliant examination of RPG fundamentals.

There are some names in the realm of JRPGs that are next to royalty: Yuji Horii, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Nobuo Uematsu and, if you're of a certain vintage, Hiroyuki Ito. Okay, so perhaps Ito's not so much a household name, but a look at his CV should assure you of his credentials; this is the man who invented the Active Time Battle mode that's been a mainstay of the Final Fantasy series and more than that this is the director of Final Fantasy 6, Final Fantasy 9 and Final Fantasy 12. No matter where you stand on what the very best Final Fantasy game might be (it's Final Fantasy 12, by the way), I'm sure you can agree that those three earn themselves a place among the greatest we've seen to date.

[…]

Dungeon Encounters isn't exactly a companion piece to Final Fantasy 12, but it's a fascinating counterpoint to it. Whereas that particular game could famously play itself, exposing the mechanisms behind so many RPGs and allowing you to tinker and toil with them until you've conjured and refined a beautiful machine of your own, Dungeon Encounters strips all of that back until you've got what amounts to a playable spreadsheet - a description that might have some running a mile, yet one that has someone like myself running headstrong and deliriously happy into its arms.

This is a curious take on the RPG, then, and one that due to its no frills approach will be an acquired taste. For over a dozen hours its simplicity has kept me enthralled and entertained, though, and I imagine it'll do so for dozens more to come. Few other RPGs are so quick to the action, or to the fundamental draw of numbers you're encouraged to guide ever upwards, and as unexpected it is as the return of a grandee of the genre it's somehow befitting of Ito's considerable legacy. And that, if you're aware of his significance, is surely all you need to know about this remarkable little game.
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October 29th, 2021, 23:54
I'll give my honest opinion here: I look at its videos and I just can't seem to like it. Summing up, I found this game quite unappealing.

IMHO, to say this game is "one of Square Enix's best RPGs in an age" it's an exageration. All the review smells like "condescending" only because it's a game from a big studio (Square-Enix) helmed by "the man behind FF6, FF9 and FF12".

Then now the "static character art that (…) still feels plenty characterful"? And "The battle system itself is also a thing of simple beauty"? Is that it, Mr. Reviewer? Do you know how many indie games have static arts like that, simple combat systems like that, unnapealing, quite ugly dungeon maps like that? I tell you: one billion. Games like this are a dime a dozen now.

If Dungeon Encounters was a truly indie game, I could bet 1,000 dollar chips at any casino in Las Vegas that the reviewer wouldn't recommend it to anyone. But nooooooo… "Look everyone, it's a game from SquEnix, from Hiroyuki Ito, they can't do it wrong, they can't do it bad". Haha. I've already said "condescending"? No? Then, condescending it is.

Another point: the lack of a proper regional pricing. For comparison's sake, here in Brasil this game costs 159.99 while BGIII costs 199.99. Yes, this game is 0.8 x BGIII. Do you know when I'll pay such a high price for a game so lacking in production values like this? Never.
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Last edited by henriquejr; October 30th, 2021 at 03:31. Reason: Small typos
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October 30th, 2021, 00:13
Yea, it looks awful. I don't see what the reviewer sees - "gorgeous artwork" - but I see crappy anime-influenced basic illustrations, not impressed, to say the least.

And the dungeons are apparently, graph paper-like outlines of squares - brilliant! (sarcasm)

I can see this game has "snob appeal", like those type people who could brag about how much they like this game, as it shows they are a "true rpger" (Planescape Torment has this aspect as well) but beyond that, I'd rather just go play a different indie rpg with much better graphics and more relatable to a typical crpg player…shrug
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October 30th, 2021, 03:54
Originally Posted by Arkadia7 View Post
Yea, it looks awful. I don't see what the reviewer sees - "gorgeous artwork" - but I see crappy anime-influenced basic illustrations, not impressed, to say the least.

And the dungeons are apparently, graph paper-like outlines of squares - brilliant! (sarcasm)

I can see this game has "snob appeal", like those type people who could brag about how much they like this game, as it shows they are a "true rpger" (Planescape Torment has this aspect as well) but beyond that, I'd rather just go play a different indie rpg with much better graphics and more relatable to a typical crpg player…shrug
Arkadia, 25 to 30 years ago this game could/would be fabulous, great, recommendable, it would be everything the reviewer said and even more. But now? 2021? Sorry but no way!!

Again, a lot of indie games have this game's <ahem> "simplistic approach" only because they lack of proper funds and/or personnel.
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October 30th, 2021, 10:27
Maybe it's one of these games that look completely unappealing, but the gameplay is engaging once you try it? "One of the best" does sound like an exaggeration indeed, but I haven't played it. All those pros and cons are subjective anyway, so maybe for the author it's a genuine come-back for SE (which makes me wonder if many of their recent games is crap, since I've not played them).

The brand sure helps making games stand out, even if there are many other gems nobody picks up.
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October 30th, 2021, 12:30
This game sound right up my alley, but I'm a big fan of mechanically driven dungeon crawlers, which this is. I totally agree 100% with the pricing, but I find Square Enix has very high prices here in Europe. Their games tend to be priced 125% more expensive than games of comparable quality. This game costs about half of what a new Square Enix JRPG costs, and is comparable to what they are charging for pretty old entries of Final Fantasy in Europe. I will wait till the game hits a 40-50% discount before I pick it up.
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October 30th, 2021, 16:41
Originally Posted by henriquejr View Post
Arkadia, 25 to 30 years ago this game could/would be fabulous, great, recommendable, it would be everything the reviewer said and even more. But now? 2021? Sorry but no way!!
Or to put it another way, wow this was a really fun experience in 1990, but now it's stale and bland! I wonder how chess ever lasted so long? Or why people still play games with paper cards when we each have 2 or 3 computers. BORING!!!

I've put 20 hours in so far and I love this game, not *because* it's retro, but because it's incredibly well designed. But I wasn't turned off by the presentation before I purchased it, obviously.
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October 31st, 2021, 02:33
As I've said before, this is a very fun game if you're a fan of the niche they're going for, which I am. As Da Vinci said, sometimes simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and this game oozes that.
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October 31st, 2021, 19:20
Looks completely and utterly unappealing to me… but when I read comments here and elsewhere praising the game, it makes me think maybe I should give it a chance at some point.

I mean, that's part of why I come to this site… some trust in other Watchers' opinions.

So I'll keep an eye on this one.
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November 1st, 2021, 04:16
This one does appeal to me, I will likely look into grabbing it when it hits a decent sale price.
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