Dragon Quest Builders 2 - Critique
I didn't think I would enjoy Dragon Quest Builders 2 so much, a miniscule construction game based on an iconic JRPG franchise with decades on the clock. Although its combat system turns out to be quite simplistic and its controls occasionally frustrating, this second installment turns out to be both a great construction game and an engrossing RPG, filled with striking areas and characters.
Never having played the first Dragon Quest Builders, I never felt that it was essential to understand the ins and outs of this sequel. The game distills tons of references to the Dragon Quest series that will prove particularly tasty for any discerning enthusiast - familiar enemies, mythical locations and bosses, and a nostalgic victory theme. Even its minimap invariably takes you back to the first franchise games. If you have no idea why your main ally is called Malroth, I strongly encourage you not to try to find out more about him so that the surprise is total.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a real RPG with leveling up, gear, magic items, dungeons and boss fights. Far from simply integrating lots of elements from Dragon Quest into a Minecraft clone, Omega Force and Square Enix offer us a J-RPG honoring this iconic saga, with an additional construction / exploration dimension. I never had the feeling that compromises had been made on any of its aspects, which in itself was quite a success.
When you're not building lounges, throne rooms, or wheat fields, you travel through environments with stunning vantage points to defeat monsters, collect magical items, and recruit new allies. As the adventure progresses, you will also have access to various side quests, visit shrines and solve puzzles in order to unlock rare items, and also get your hands on loot caches.
A bland combat system
Combat is arguably the weakest element in the game, and it's a shame that this central aspect turns out to be so bland, when so many others work so well. This is a real-time system with no parry, dodge or strafe keys. Therefore, you are content to attack basic enemies and take their punches, while special attacks from main bosses can only be avoided by running and doing weird circles until their animation ends. . Charging your main special attack also takes so long that it turns out to be less effective than just hammering the keys (which made me give it up most of the time).
Some boss fights, however, benefit from unique and fun mechanics, and it's not uncommon for you to fight dozens of monsters alongside your personal army of NPCs. While these clashes turn out to be a little chaotic (like "I don't know what's going on, but it's pretty cool"), there is nothing inherently unpleasant, although I never felt that my skills were actually tested in an interesting way.
Fortunately, the construction and exploration aspects can largely compensate for this situation. If the freedom offered by Minecraft, allowing you to let your imagination run wild and build without limits, proves to be pleasant, Dragon Quest Builders 2 regularly encourages you to transform wasteland as well as abandoned or ruined cities into real ones. colonies, building specific structures and services there. If I felt that I had sufficient freedom to reclaim these places, the goals I had to achieve were the fuel of my creativity. Watching a vibrant community come together over time is a much more rewarding progression mechanic than anything that involves up close or stat or gear upgrades, especially when those big projects are the building blocks of the game. central elements of each area of the game.
A lovely world
The script and the dialogues as a whole turn out to be quite simplistic and sometimes seem to be aimed at a very young audience (to their detriment). But things do get more interesting towards the end of the adventure, with increasing dramatic intensity and a gripping storyline. The three main islands that you visit, which each have their own theme, atmosphere and history, are obviously not unrelated to this success. From the parched plains of Furrowfield to the dusty Khrumbul-Dun, drawing inspiration from the Old West side, you'll have access to a wide range of challenges, meet new charming NPCs who will join your ranks, and explore tons of environments. with varied and spectacular landscapes. Each of the elements has been designed with special care, and taken as a whole, these islands form one of the RPG worlds that I have enjoyed exploring in recent years.
However, I would have liked the exploration to be a little less delicate. Even setting aside the frustrating combat system mentioned above, the controls didn't turn out to be particularly intuitive or well thought out. During the adventure, my main enemy was not one of the servants of the terrible Hargon, but rather the fact that the key to change tools is also the one used to speak or activate. Therefore, when an NPC approached me while I was using my hammer, I was forced to listen to him tell me about his day for the umpteenth time before I could resume my work. While you do have a few options for modifying the controls, those are sadly limited. Providing a complete key mapping would have been very valuable, knowing that L1 and L2 are not used for much as they are.