Dragon Quest Builders 2 Review – Retro Fun-tastic
Dragon Quest Builders 2’s (referred to as DQB2 going forward) main story revolves around the evil Children of Hargon whom have eradicated all builders or “people who create”. This includes outlawing the building, cooking, and creation of anything. To spread their tyranny, this evil cult captures the builders of the world. All hope seems to be lost until a young apprentice, you the player, escape and teach the world to learn and build.
If you never played the first game in this series what you should expect is a third person perspective (or optionally a first-person perspective, which was added to this follow-up) in a game world with a blocky aesthetic style. The game’s core skills and actions include gathering and building elements like games such as Minecraft.
You start off by creating your avatar. You can choose to play as male or female but don’t expect a heavy-duty character creation process. There are limited hair styles and colors here. Once you’ve decided on a character and name the story unfolds.
More A Sandbox-Styled Game
Whether or not DQB2 was meant to be a sandbox game or not is unclear. But early on the story pretty much moves you along, a mostly linear path, to help you learn new recipes and teach you how to use a workbench, etc. Quests and broader missions, a list of requirements really, are the main drivers to propel you forward. These quests and missions move at a nice pace making building new designs or learning a new recipe very rewarding. That’s not to say that you’re restricted to building a “room” for a quest a certain way or can’t go off sporadically and kill some creatures. In those ways, yes the game is free-form.
As the story unfolds you and your sidekick, Malroth, will venture to other islands which makes for a large game world. On your travels your warrior friend will help you in combat and help you gather, e.g. if you start collecting clams, he starts collecting clams. You’ll also be able to craft armor and weapons for yourself and your sidekick, and later your entourage. As the story progresses, you’ll build an entourage of NPCs. This entourage will help you complete the big missions faster, by gardening, tilling, etc., while also offering you quests and helping you during combat.
A Full-Fledged RPG
One of the new additions to this game is now, unlike the first game, your character earns levels like a traditional RPG. Leveling up not only increases your health but also reveals new armor and weapon recipes. Also, on the topic of armor and weapons, they no longer wear down.
Another welcome change is that tools and weapons are now bound to separate buttons. This alleviates the issue of not selecting the proper item when falling privy to a sneak attack while building or gathering.
As you complete missions and quests supplied by your entourage, you’ll find your entourage gets excited and starts spewing hearts all over. Collecting these hearts increases your “base’s”, i.e. current island, level. Increasing a base’s level translates into more goodies, better recipes, etc.
The game offers combat, swimming, stamina-based dashing and gliding even.
Also, dispersed among the game are optional, builder focused puzzles that earn you medals which when accrued can be turned in for valuable prizes. These were a fun change of pace from gathering and building and there are plenty.
One of the biggest complaints in the RPG category is the dialogue text. It comes off as being cheesy dialogue and there is a lot of it to scroll through. The dialogue presentation and “deet-deet-deet…” sound as characters are typed onto the screen seems like a complete throwback to the early 8-bit NES days. If you’re an impatient person then this abundance of story text at times might get old fast.
This version of the game also has a multi-player component, though we were unable to partake in it. The game support up to playing with three other friends via a network or local co-op play. Alas, multiplayer only supports building together versus building and questing.
The game also has a tremendous on-line component as you can now snap in-game screenshots and post them to a “notice board”. The photo mode offers quite a few nice photograph effects. Additionally, by publishing a photo in a “terrain setting”, other players will be able to visit your world of your photo. You can even create blueprints of other players creations that can be built in your own game.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a wonderful follow-up that should make veteran Dragon Quest Builders players feel at home. Some nice quality of life improvements have been added including multiplayer and a feature rich on-line sharing component. While the game might be a little more RPG focused than its predecessor, it never leaves you guessing on what you should be working on to advance the story. The game is still completely rewarding and fun when crafting or building a new item or acquiring a new recipe. I personally look forward to trying it on the Nintendo Switch as well on July 12th!
Note: our review copy of the game was provided to us by PR for the PlayStation 4.
- Confident successor to the original game
- Supports multiplayer
- Welcome quality of life improvements
- Optional first-person perspective
- Spectacular on-line sharing component
- Building and learning new recipes is still quite rewarding
- The dialogue is cheesy and there’s a lot of it