On my YouTube channel Battle Geek Plus, I do a retrospective/review series called “Awesome Video Game Memories” and in September of 2019, I released my Dragon Quest XI review. Here are some insights on what went on behind the scenes in the making of this video.
When Dragon Quest XI came out in September of 2018, I was struggling a bit financially as I was still paying my bills, debt, car payment, etc. I wasn’t going to have any spendable money until my 2nd paycheck of the month came. I resorted to starting up a Gamefly subscription again after over a decade since the last time I used them was in 2007. I’ve always had a mixed experience with Gamefly as they would be great trying to rent older games, but would never have the newer games available. I tried getting Dragon Quest XI from Gamefly, but to no avail since it was always unavailable. This was the final straw in my bad experience using Gamefly, so I cancelled my subscription with them for good.
My friend Geekdom101 asked me if I finally got to play DQXI yet and I told him I couldn’t afford it at the moment, so he immediately sent me the money to get it digitally from the PSN store. I eventually purchased both the physical copies of DQXI on the PS4 and DQXIS on the Switch a year later, but I gotta give a huge thanks to Geekdom101 for giving me a chance to play it earlier since there were so many games coming out in the fall season I wanted to cover for my channel. Since I got to play DQXI shortly after it’s release date, I was able to finish the entire game within the month of September right before Mega Man 11 came out. Hey, both Dragon Quest XI and Mega Man 11 came out in the same year a month apart from each other and were both excellent games!
I took Thanksgiving week off in Nov of 2018 to finally dedicate some time to film the entire review. Before that in October, I made an outline of key points I wanted to talk about. You may be surprised that I don’t actually script videos. I actually improvise them since I feel that I can make things flow better naturally and I’m incredibly good at coming up with things on the fly and adding my own humor and personality to them. I do have to script things from time to time like cameos for other people (which I did for this review) so they have a guide on what I need. I’m one of the rare people that can work without a script since I did try a scripted format with past reviews which I eventually scrapped since I was literally reading off a script and sounded dull. I know lots of people still have to script things out and I heavily respect them for that, but going raw and unscripted is just my personal preference.
Since this was going to be my first full fledged Dragon Quest related review, I wanted to do something grand and funny for it. Even though a lot my reviews are me just talking on my couch or chair with game footage spliced in, I like to put in fun things like skits and gags to make things more fun so I don’t feel like I’m just another generic game reviewer. I came up with a skit that involves my King Slime and regular Slime Plushies (which I ordered in early October of 2018 and they took about 3-4 weeks to arrive) coming to my apartment and convincing me to review the game. I also decided to buy them both Burger King food just for the fun of it!
Since I live in Orange County, CA, I was about 10 miles away from Medieval Times in Buena Park (which I haven’t been to since I was a kid, but revisited in November of 2019). I thought it would a funny gag to visit Medieval Times to get the King Slime his food, but actually visit the medieval looking Burger King across the street instead.
On the Monday before Thanksgiving 2018, I filmed the first part of the review around 9 AM in the morning and left for Medieval Times and Medieval Burger King at 10 AM. After that, I went to my local park to film the walking scenes and then drove to a nearby Burger King to order the food (nope, I didn’t order the food from the Medieval Burger King or even went inside, and yes, I’ve eaten at the Medieval Burger King before in the past).
I got home around noon and filmed the ending parts. Since the food got cold, I had to reheat it so I could eat it for the last part of the video. I ordered a chicken sandwich combo.
After resting a bit and digesting the food, I took out my green screen and began filming the intro scene and the main bulk of the review. For anyone who’s even filmed anything before or doesn’t know anything about it, there are many times we have to shoot things out of sequence and assemble them in editing later.
Monday: Novemeber 26, 2018
I’m on Thanksgiving Vacation from work, but I still get up early so I can get ready for the review. My roommate leaves for work at 8 AM.
8:00-9:00 AM – Eat Breakfast, check email/social media/internet, and shower.
9:00-10:00 AM – Rearrange Apartment and shoot the beginning scenes with the King Slime and Servant Slime.
10:00 AM-12:00 PM – Leave for and film at Medieval Times, Medieval Burger King, Nearby Park, and pick up Burger King Food.
12:00 PM-1:00PM – Film Ending shots with King Slime and Servant Slime, re-heat and eat the Burger King food for lunch, then rearrange apartment again for the Green Screen.
1:00 PM-5:00PM – Film Green Screen Shots of the Intro sequence and the bulk of the review with the outline displayed on my big TV across the apartment.
5:00 PM-5:30 PM – Clean up entire apartment before roommate gets home at 5:45.
This was pretty much 80% of the review done. The last 20% was the voiceovers from Geekdom101 and sackchief which I did over the summer of 2019.
I decided not to edit and release the DQXI review right away since I knew the switch version was going to come a year later and I thought it would be a good time to release it then. I went and edited my other reviews like my Streets of Rage, Final Fight, Startropics, Jump Force, and more.
I finally made the decision to edit the review around July 4th weekend of 2019 so it would give me time to get the voiceovers I needed and really polish up the review since it had some complicated effects. I already had Geekdom101 in mind to do the voice for the King Slime and to repay him back for sending me the money to get the digital version of DQXI from the PSN store for the PS4. I actually had another person in mind to play the Servant Slime, but I actually decided to go with sackchief. I had initially met sackchief in the fall of 2018 when he followed me on twitter and when I was at the airport in December of 2018 to visit my sisters in New York, I stumbled across his channel and became a huge fan of his DQ videos. Upon hearing his voice, I thought he would be perfect for the voice of the Servant Slime. I ended up conducting a private voice recording session with Geekdom101 over discord and had sackchief send me his lines separately. By July of 2019, I had all 100% of the materials I needed to finally get to work on the review.
It took me from the beginning of July 2019 to mid August 2019 to get the review done. I was only able to edit the review after work and on the weekends. Normally, it only takes me a few days (sometimes a solid day of editing) to get a review done because of my day job. Since I captured nearly 70 hours of DQXI footage, along with 2+ hours of my own recorded review footage, and I had tons of points I wanted to talk about, the review ended being nearly an hour. I pretty much considered it my first actual Feature Film, so I called it a Feature Film Review! Like Classic Game Room’s Feature Film Review of Musha.
Breakdown of programs and equipment I used for the review:
Camera: Nikon D3400 (with the standard lens) held with a Targus Tripod. Captured a little over 2+ hours of outdoor, inside, and green screen footage with multiple lines and takes.
Microphone: RODE VideoMic with boom stand and long audio cable to connect to the camera.
Collapsable Green Screen and Umbrella Lighting Kit.
Game Capture: Elgato HD60 Pro (acquired from my past sponsorship with Elgato) on my AMD FX-8320 Vishera 8-Core 3.5 GHz PC (died in 2019, so I replaced it with a AMD Ryzen 7). Recorded from the PS4 Pro with a digital copy of DQXI. Nearly 70+ hours of gameplay captured equaling over 500+ GB.
Final Draft 11: Writing the King Slime and Servant Slime Script.
Google Drive Documents: Writing the Outline.
Davinci Resolve for Standard editing and Green Screen Keying plus final encoding.
Adobe After Effects for rotobrushing objects in front of me so I can insert myself into complicated shots from the intro.
Audacity for leveling and cleaning up my audio.
In 2019, I stopped my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription due to wanting to try out Davinci Resolve which I used for a ton of videos like my StarTropics, Jump Force, and Resident Evil 2 reviews. I went back to Adobe Creative Cloud in late 2019 due to frustrations with Davinci Resolve’s more complicated editing tools and it’s lack of support for important things I need like the Boris Plugins (which have the best green screen key effects in my opinion).
I ended up making a ton of tweaks to the review and split it into 4 parts, along with a 1 hour full movie version ready to go when Dragon Quest XIS released on the Nintendo Switch in September of 2019.
The review got a decent amount of views with the first part getting the most thanks to promotions by sackchief and Geekdom101. It didn’t get a ton of views since I’m a smaller channel, but that’s ok. I had such a fun time making the review that I consider it my favorite one I’ve ever done. I do talk heavily about story spoilers because I feel like my style works best talking about every major key point in the game with my own mix of added humor and commentary. I don’t simply do 5 minute reviews like some bigger outlets just to get the views and ad revenue. I put in a ton of work and especially passion into everything I do and NEVER settle for the quick and easy way just to get videos out faster to appease the YouTube algorithm and I hope it shows in my work.
You can watch the full Awesome Video Game Memories Dragon Quest XI Review split into 4 parts or the full 1 hour movie version:
Or if you have an Amazon Prime account, you can watch, rent, or even buy the full Feature Film Review!
See and buy the Dragon Quest XI Awesome Video Game Memories Review on Amazon Prime!
Maybe one of these days I’ll release the review on Blu Ray with extra and commentary tracks if there’s enough demand. Who knows?
Well everyone, I hope you guys enjoyed reading this entry and my insight on how I made this review. I do plan on doing my upcoming Dragon Quest X review in a similar fashion with more extra guests as well. Now that I have this blog, I can write about the entire process from beginning to end when I finally start doing the DQX review, so stay tuned for that.