Box art - Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Dragon Quest 11 Switch vs. PS4 | Definitive Edition differences

Dragon Quest 11 S: Echos of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition is an extremely long title, but it’s like that for a reason. Yes, the definitive edition brings Dragon Quest 11 to the Nintendo Switch, but it also adds many new features not available in previous versions of the game. The list of Dragon Quest 11 Switch version differences is long and complex, so we’ve gathered all the information out there to bring you the most comprehensive Dragon Quest 11 Switch vs. PS4 and PC comparison out there. Read on for a full guide on all the Dragon Quest 11 definitive edition differences.

Dragon Quest 11 Switch differences | Quality-of-life improvements

The Dragon Quest 11 Switch version introduces many quality-of-life improvements that make the game a more breezy experience. We’ll run down each of these below.

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Ultra-Fast battle speed

A third battle speed option, Ultra-Fast, lets you speed through battles even faster. In previous versions, the only options were Normal and Fast.

Cutscene changes

You can now skip cutscenes at any time. In previous versions, cutscenes could only be skipped if you’d seen them before. This change should allow those who already played the game on PS4 or PC to have a smoother trip through the story sections they find boring. There’s also a new option to have cutscenes autoplay, meaning you won’t have to press the “A” button every time a character is done saying a line of dialogue.

Portable Fun-Size Forge

The Fun-Size Forge, Dragon Quest 11’s item crafting station, could previously only be used at campsites. In the definitive edition, the Fun-Size Forge can be used pretty much anywhere, activated as an item in the menu.

Cosmetic-only outfits

In previous versions of Dragon Quest 11 (and in previous Dragon Quest games, such as Dragon Quest 8), changing the appearance of party members required equipping particular items with their own stat values. For example, if you wanted companion character Erik to look like a pirate, you’d have to equip either the Corsairs Coat and Cap or the Pirate King’s Coat and Cap. If you found better equipment, you were out of luck, since changing Erik’s armor would change his appearance. In the Dragon Quest 11 Switch version, there’s a new tab in the equipment menu called “Outfit,” which allows you to choose your character’s cosmetic appearance (once you’ve acquired the necessary items to obtain that appearance the old way) without sacrificing their stats.

Horse Hailer

Rather than requiring you to summon your horse at one of the bell posts near towns and other safe zones, Dragon Quest 11 S introduces the Horse Hailer item, which allows you to call your horse to you at any time (assuming you’re in an area that allows for it).

Quick Commands menu

A new Quick Commands menu can be easily pulled up, allowing you to rapidly select from certain helpful items and abilities without digging into several menu screens. These include items like the Horse Hailer and Fun-Size Forge, features like the new Photo Mode, and abilities like Erik’s Nose for Treasure (a new ability in Dragon Quest 11 on Switch that allows Erik to tell the player how many treasure chests are in the area).

Additional quality-of-life changes*

  • Ore and other materials that previously dropped items on the ground when harvested now drop directly into your inventory
  • There will be the option to turn off grunt and exhale sounds from the protagonist
  • Killing monsters in the overworld using a mount (monsters or the horse) will grant experience points
  • You can switch between the classic battle camera and free movement mid-battle
  • Menus can be navigated with joysticks in addition to the D-pad
  • Purchased materials are automatically deposited in the Bag
  • In-battle party member dialogue now appears in a speech bubble in the top right of the screen, complete with an illustrated portrait of the character, in addition to the character’s spoken voice lines
  • You can now instantly talk with your party members by pressing the minus (“-”) button, rather than selecting the option in the menu.

*Much of this comes from translations of information detailed in a Japanese-language Dragon Quest 11 S livestream, which we’ve embedded at the bottom of this guide.

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Dragon Quest 11 Switch differences | Aesthetic upgrades & downgrades

Dragon Quest 11 Switch differences Aesthetic upgrades & downgrades (1)

The first thing you’ll notice when you boot up Dragon Quest 11 on Switch will likely be the aesthetic changes from previous versions. While there have been some major improvements, the Switch’s comparatively weak hardware has led to a few noticeable downgrades.

Music & audio

The most obvious change from previous Dragon Quest 11 releases is the new version’s orchestrated soundtrack, which makes the world feel even more magical. Dragon Quest 11 on Switch even allows you to select between the orchestrated and MIDI versions of the music, if you so choose. Dragon Quest 11 S is also the first version of the game to include a Japanese voice option for character dialogue.

Graphics & performance

While we couldn’t find a confirmed resolution count for the Switch version of Dragon Quest 11, it doesn’t appear to be too far downgraded—if it even is at all—from the standard PS4’s 900p when docked. In handheld mode, it’s obviously downgraded to the Switch’s 720p screen. Textures are also a bit muddier than other versions in both docked and handheld, and lighting effects on the Switch are noticeably worse, especially on character models and distant objects. The less dynamic lighting making environments feel less and characters look flatter and/or washed out. There’s also a more noticeable, pixelated “shimmering” effect around the edges of objects, especially grass and trees. Still, the Switch version seems to run at a steady 30 FPS, just like the PS4 version, and many of the graphical differences probably wouldn’t be noticed without a side-by-side comparison.

That being said, many users who have been playing the Dragon Quest 11 Switch demo have experienced crashes. According to Nintendo Everything, Dragon Quest 11 producer Hokuto Okamoto said the team hasn’t been able to reproduce the crashes on Nintendo Switch dev kits, so it seems to be a problem unique to consumer models of the system. Hopefully the issue can be resolved before the game releases.

Overworld party members

New to the Switch version, active party members now follow the player around in the overworld. This allows for a more immersive experience not available on other platforms. Additionally, you can approach your party members and speak to them directly rather than selecting the option from the menu or pressing the minus (—) button.

Dragon Quest 11 Switch differences | New content

Dragon Quest 11 Switch differences New content (1)

In addition to graphical changes and quality-of-life improvements, Dragon Quest 11 on Switch also includes a ton of new content, from new quests and costumes to a brand new photo mode.

Party member quests

Dragon Quest 11 S will include new scenarios that let you play as your party members, experiencing a story from their perspective. Each will include a unique party for the character in focus to fight alongside, such as a Healslime partner for Erik.

Photo Mode

The Switch version of Dragon Quest 11 includes a photo mode, which allows you to take pictures of environments and of your party members in various poses. The mode will include various camera settings, like burring the background (a la iPhones’ “portrait mode”). It’s unknown if Photo Mode will be used for any kind of quest, as it was in the Dragon Quest 8 3DS port.

Voice Drama DLC

Dragon Quest 11 S will receive a “Voice Drama” DLC pack that introduces about five hours of audio book-like story to the game, giving background on some of the game’s characters. It’s unclear how much interactivity this will have, but it looks like mostly just dialogue paired with text on screen.

New costumes

Several new costumes are being introduces, such as the “Wild Boar” Veronica costume and “Wolf Wear” Erik costume available in the free Champions Pack DLC. Eagle-eyed Reddit users noticed a new Erik costume that gives him a ninja-like outfit and a new Hero costume that gives the Luminary brown shoulder armor and a red cape. Square Enix previously revealed a Game of Thrones-like outfit for Erik, apparently called “North Leather Style,” which will release alongside a Dragon Quest 11 manga in Japan. The Japanese Dragon Quest 11 website also features new outfits for Rab and Jade, plus yet another for Erik, and the following Japanese trailer gives us a look at even more (thanks, Dante Nintendo Switch World).

No first-person camera

Curiously, Square Enix seems to have removed the first-person look option which could be used to view the world from your character’s perspective. It’s not clear if this feature was removed only for the demo or if it will also be missing in the full game.

Other new content

  • Dragon Quest 11 S has alternative marriage options, allowing you to “choose the partner you live with” instead of getting married to a character the Luminary can normally marry in the story
    • This includes male characters like Erik, though Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii specified that “it isn’t marriage”
  • More rideable monsters have been introduced
    • Monsters you can ride will have a unique glow in the overworld
    • Defeat these monsters to ride them
  • New Draconian Quest options have been added to increase the game’s difficulty
    • You can choose to give your party a “Skypox” infection, causing them to randomly cower in battle and forfeit their turn
    • You can choose to have townspeople lie to you randomly about important information
    • You can enable a full-party wipe every time the protagonist dies
    • The option to enable no fleeing from battle, which was present in the PS4 and PC versions, has been removed
  • A new character named Madam Cherie will apparently play some role in the story or side quests

Dragon Quest 11 Switch differences | 2D mode

Dragon Quest 11 Switch differences 2D mode

Finally, the Dragon Quest 11 Switch version includes the 2D mode from the game’s Japanese 3DS release. This allows you to play the entire game in the style of the old SNES and PS1 Dragon Quest games. Speaking of which, the 2D mode includes exclusive scenarios that send your party to the worlds of all previous Dragon Quest games, allowing you to experience small portions of those games’ (2D-redux) worlds.

Below, you’ll find a Japanese Dragon Quest 11 S livestream with Switch gameplay and information on many of the game’s features. For more Dragon Quest 11, check out our Dragon Quest 11 review for the PS4 version of the game.