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Not So MMO: Dragon Quest Builders 2 PC Review - It Takes A Village

By Steven Weber on December 23, 2019 | Editorials | Comments

Dragon Quest Builders 2 PC Review - It Takes A Village

The Dragon Quest series has been around for over 3 decades, with many different adventures and iterations that continue to excite fans of the collection. Nearly a year after the original release of Dragon Quest Builders 2, Square Enix along with KOEI TECMO Games has finally released a PC version of the game. Will Dragon Quest Builders 2 impress on PC as it has on console or is it just a halfhearted PC port, not even suitable for Hargon?


In the larger Dragon Quest mythology, the setup to Dragon Quest Builders 2 follows the original Dragon Quest 2 game. The plot focuses on you, a Builder, as you plan to rebuild the world after Hargon has been defeated, and the Children of Hargon remain to subdue the human population. The Children of Hargon, and all of those under their domain, see Builders as enemies, heretics, and yet, pretty early on in the game we learn that, despite their discrimination against builders, everyone is fairly well adjusted with your presence.

Despite the story aspects being glossed over in the intro, Dragon Quest Builders 2 (DQB2), for better or worse, is heavy in story text. In most cases, the quest and story text are for worse, as it can take several minutes in some cases to get through choiceless dialog before you’re allowed to progress. Half the time, the quest dialog is heavily accented, making it slightly tougher to read than simple non-accented quest text. While it’s  great that they’ve built in some personality with the characters you meet along the way, they really bash you over the head with text, so much so, that it’s necessary to mention how much text is actually presented to the player for even the most minimal of tasks.

Those familiar with voxel games like MineCraft will feel at home with the building portion of the game, which makes up the majority of what you’ll be doing. The main difference between the console and PC port of Dragon Quest Builders 2, is the inclusion of the mouse and keyboard control scheme. While I didn’t have any issues navigating and building using the PC peripherals, I opted to utilize an XBOX controller, as it just felt more natural to build and fight in third person that way. I did find myself swapping to first person at times, especially in cramped spaces where building in third person was unwieldly.

Builders Rule, Fighters Drool

Over the course of DQB2, you can expect to mix in a lot of combat in between your extensive building adventure. Combat is generally simplistic, but you do gain some special moves and stronger gear as you progress. At times, there are special enemies that will require a little more than swatting at them with a sword, but for the most part, expecting an extensive and gratifying combat system would be setting oneself up to be let down. That isn’t to say that some battles aren’t enjoyable, but generally, battles are more of a temporary hindrance that get in the way of your main building quests. Each story island consists of enemies attacking your base in waves meant to break up the points in the narrative leading up to the main boss battle. While the enemy waves are largely forgettable, DQB2 has some decent boss fights that will break out of the monotony of the usual combat encounters.

The most surprising thing about Dragon Quest Builders 2 isn’t the combat, or the building, but the sheer amount of content to play through. After starting out in Farrowfield, you can expect 10 hours of play time, learning the ropes, building out your base, having it smashed to pieces and rebuilding it again. Most games and developers could have simply stopped there and said, “Now is the time for you to move on to multiplayer, thanks for playing.” In DQB2, getting past Farrowfield is truly the beginning of your massive adventure, which spans several different islands, with hours of story, building combat, leveling up, and puzzle fun. Very few games have this much content available, and that doesn’t even take into account the co-op multiplayer building or community contest aspects.

After making your way through a good portion of the story, the multiplayer aspects unlock, giving you the ability to meet up with friends to help build along with you, and create whatever you please. As in other voxel games, the things that some people create are truly astounding. After creating something you are truly proud of, players can snap a picture of it and upload it, or join in on contests where the best photo in a category will be selected as a winner. It’s almost like an in-game Instagram, with photos ranging anywhere from food to selfies. Players will be treated to other players photos in the loading screens if they opt-in to upload their own creations at any point.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is one of, if not the reigning example of how to create a great block-building RPG. With an easy 50 hours of content to get you started, and an abundance of possibilities to get involved with the community, there are a growing number of games that lack this amount of content, even several years after release. Dragon Quest Builders 2 isn’t perfect by any means. There are a lot of annoyances, like the long-winded text boxes, the lackluster combat, and several quest chains that can easily confuse gamers into thinking they are doing something wrong. Fortunately, there are so many good things that this game does, mainly the building and the essential storyline, that keeps me coming back for more.


Score: 8.7/10


Pros:

  • Fantastic voxel-based builder with a lot of crafting choices
  • Great engagement and co-op building
  • Over fifty hours of story-based gameplay

Cons:

  • Combat is uninspired outside of boss battles
  • Too much text to read, with accents making it hard to understand at times
  • Quest chains can get confusing, tiny issues can prohibit success in some cases