mamaba points on DQ are very on point especially in regards to everything after DQVII. VI is a weird transitional game that sort of has these tendencies but it is the one I would describe as the most FF like of the game. The game hinges itself on like an interesting metaphysical concept with multiple worlds and a central mystery.
I wouldn't let your XI experience dissuade you from trying out the earlier entries in the series up until 5 they are really innovating and building the JRPG genre in gameplay and storytelling techniques. They are interesting if you find any value in just seeing the origins of things and they all hold up remarkably well. You've played XI just now they've pretty much always had the same level of polish from a playing perspective. The characters are still simple and they concept go high concept on the plot but I would argue that structure DQ4, for example, uses to tell it's story will still impress a modern player and asking why every game hasn't ripped off DQIV. Which is also understandable given 1-4 are NES games.
Most importantly they are way shorter games prior VI. 30-40 hours tops each game. DQ 1 is like 10 hours. You could do that in one play session. It's a fun, great game that is still very playable. Definitely holds up better than FF1 for example. Though be warned it is a game about the grind but it is also about highlighting how the grind can be fun of RPGs. The excitement you feel when you save up for that expensive sword or acquire your next spell never quite hits the same heights ever again in the genre. Watching the numbers go up truly at it's finest and also it's only 10 hours long.
DQ 1-5 I would argue can easily stand up to SNES FF entries.