Dragon Quest Builders 2 Review – All The Right Ingredients for an Adventure

    Title: Dragon Quest Builders 2
    Developer: Omega Force
    Release Date: July 12, 2019
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: Square Enix
    Genre: Adventure RPG

I feel like it was just yesterday that I dumped more than 100 hours into Dragon Quest Builders. Playing through that adventure turned out to be a standout experience in my time playing video games. So, one could imagine how difficult it would be to match or even surpass that experience with a follow-up entry. Well, Squest Enix is not one to shy away from a challenge and it has definitely paid off in Dragon Quest Builders 2.

Where sequels tend to go out of their way to try new things, it’s left up in the air whether these new systems will work out on not. However, Square Enix and developer Omega Force have seemingly created a follow up to one of my favorite games ever and improved on it tenfold. The adventure that awaits players in Dragon Quest Builders 2 expands on the imagination and adventure seeking nature of fans as it presents it in an amazing way, while subtly improving on their already solid systems.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 has an interesting story that takes place after the events of Dragon Quest II where the player assumes the role of the legendary Builder. However, in this world, the Builder isn’t really seen as a hero in the eyes of the people. You see, there happens to be a group of cultist who refers to themselves as the “Children of Hargo” and they are out to ban the act of building and spread propaganda about the Builder.

After waking up on a beach following a shipwreck, the player meets Malroth, who is suffering from amnesia. While fans of Dragon Quest will easily recall this name from the series, him being there does play a rather large role in the game’s story. Malroth assists the player in the adventure as he helps collect items and fights against monsters. The two characters then set out to bring the region back to a respectable state and stop the Children of Hargon from spreading their lies.

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The story of Dragon Quest Builders 2 gets surprisingly deep after the game’s introduction. Sadly, the introduction of the game can be rather lengthy depending on how quickly you get through it. Most of the opening hours of the game revolves are growing crops and making small item discoveries as the Builder teaches the townspeople how to survive in this world.

Once elements of the story are revealed and pieces start falling into place, I realized just how good this story was. There are plot twists and emotional scenarios that make this seemingly childish looking adventure more adult. If the story is what you are going into this game for, then you surely won’t be let down because the writing for each and every character is brilliant and rarely, if ever, feels stale or forced. As you move onto other islands, new elements to the story will be introduced that make this feel like a true Dragon Quest adventure.

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In order to progress the story, players will need to build structures and complete missions. Building in the game is kept similar in nature to the Dragon Quest Builders, with a few improvements made to make construction and materials easier to manage. This game does everything it can to make itself more approachable to players of all skill levels. Dying while out on an adventure doesn’t have too many consequences besides being sent back to base, and the fast travel system is an extremely quick way to get players back to the action. Even though these features might seem to make the quest easier, there’s plenty of tough mini-boss battles and challenges to take on.

In retrospect, the difficulty here is created by the skill level of the player. If you want a tougher experience, you can create that scenario for yourself by going out and exploring, but if you want a more relaxed and straight forward experience, well, you can definitely make that happen. It’s also possible to just spend your time in the game’s free mode and go ham on creating your own self-sustaining community and town after unlocking it.

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Throughout the game, players will need to hit Milestones for everything including pleasing townspeople, solving puzzles, taking on building requests, farming, and more. Everything the player does will benefit one of the game’s Milestones. A few examples of this would be how leveling up unlocks new weapon ideas and abilities or how making the civilians happy will level up the town and unlock new craft ideas, along with other things. While this is happening, the townspeople are constantly there to cheer you on. Whether it’s by building a new room or just simply farming, this game knows how to make the player feel like they are accomplishing something huge.

New features to the series include various ways of traversal around the islands. Players can now glide through the air from a high platform, which solves the problem of falling to your death after climbing up a large mountain, and swimming, which allows the player to explore under the sea. Everything works to make this feel like a grand adventure and all of the features and mechanics work together to make it just that. Also important to note is that there is a multiplayer feature where players can play online with up to three other players. Here players can work together to create their own oasis, or just explore the world and go on an adventure together.

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Graphically, Dragon Quest Builders 2 presents some cute chibi-like character designs and plenty of finely detailed textures for the various objects in the game. To sum it all up, this is a cute and colorful game that runs well on the PlayStation 4, even when tons of enemies fill the screen or when even when there are dozens of item icons littering the ground.

Musically, Dragon Quest Builders 2 lives up to the Dragon Quest standard of having a beautifully orchestrated soundtrack that makes every moment of the game feel like a true adventure. The music also ties in classic sound bits that fans of the series will easily recognize.

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So what makes Dragon Quest Builders 2 so great? Well, everything. After so many hours in the game’s world making countless discoveries and creating numerous structures, I can honestly say that this is truly a must play title of the year. Every moment of gameplay is full of things that the player can do, but without the stress of a time limit to do them. Whether you are new to the series or a returning fan, the game’s difficulty is created by the player and it’s paced accordingly.

I never felt lost or unclear about what to do next, and Dragon Quest Builders 2’s variation of missions and quests made the entire experience feel fresh as the hours seem to just speed by. My only gripe would be that the opening hours of the game hold back the story back from developing, but that doesn’t really impact how great it becomes following the game’s first island. So whether you’re going into Dragon Quest Builders 2 looking to create a massive castle full of life or want to head out on tons of adventures without a clue of what awaits you around the corner, this is a game that will stay consistently entertaining from beginning to end and hours after.

Score:
/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.