Review: Dragon Quest Builders (PS4)
Welcome to Alefgard, the world of Dragon Quest. The Dragonlord has taken rule across the world plowing it into darkness, allowing monsters to wreak havoc and drive humans close to the point of extinction. You are the legendary builder tasked with rebuilding the world to its former glory where humans lived in peace, without the fear of monsters. Help mankind regain the ability to build once again, and rebuild civilization.
Upon starting Dragon Quest Builders you will first be tasked with restoring a town on the lands of Cantlin in Alefgard. It is said that during the great disaster this town was heavily fortified and stood strong against the onslaught of the monster attacks, but was eventually destroyed… mysteriously.
This will be your base in Alefgard and a safety zone for all who wish to join your course in bringing down the evil Dragonlord. It is up to you, the legendary builder, to restore this town to its previous glory and keep safe the survivors of humanity by traveling across the land searching for survivors and guiding them to the town of Cantlin. Restoring it will be no easy task, as the game starts you off with just your bare fists. After pounding on a few pieces of earth you’ll be able to begin crafting the necessary tools and weapons you’ll need to become the protector of this once great town. In this aspect the game draws inspiration from another popular franchise sandbox game, Minecraft. Gathering people from across the land and taking them back to town reminded me of another RPG title, Digimon World on the original PlayStation. In that game each digital monster that joined your city provided a new aspect to the city like shops or their services. In Dragon Quest Builders there is a similar feature where housing the townsfolk is actually helpful to your city. The more you build the more they learn to utilize the objects around them and eventually even crafting items themselves.
Just as with Minecraft, crafting in Dragon Quest Builders is quite immersive and addictive. Often at times I found myself drifting off from the main objective set out and wandered off exploring the world to discover hidden caves or structures that housed NPC monster characters to interact with. The game hosts a huge variety of items to craft from beds, dressing tables, benches and bathtubs to swords, armour, shields and hammers. I honestly cannot think of any materials within the game that cannot be broken down and used unless of course the material has already been used to create an object, however, you will still be able to move that object again and again if you’re not happy with its placement. Well there is one aspect that can’t change – the water that surrounds the land as your character cannot swim or build across the water (due to a mysterious force), but must instead complete certain milestones to acquire materials to build portals that will help your character travel across the land to gather even better and stronger materials as the game progresses. Materials in Dragon Quest Builders can be found almost everywhere in the land. Be it high on top of mountains, deep inside caves or even on the various monsters that you will have to face off against. Just as with Minecraft, Dragon Quest Builders incorporates a day and night cycle. The night cycle of course is the time where the player will need to take extra precautions due to enemies attacking the town or the player if you’re out in the wild.
Dragon Quest Builders has no shortage of enemies. You’ll bump into dragons, skeletons, giant scorpions, skeleton soldiers, stone golems and the ever popular slime. Defeating enemies unfortunately will not grant you any experience points, and your character does not actually have a level, but you’ll need to often defeat as many as possible to acquire certain materials from them. These materials will be used to create stronger weapons and armour that will in fact then raise your attack stat and defense stat. You’ll also often find monsters attacking the town so be prepared to fortify your town as best as possible. However keep your head high as the battle will not be fought alone. Certain towns folk will actually fight right alongside you and, with the assistance of the many traps you can create and set, you can be rest assured that victory will be yours.
Although this RPG sandbox title is often compared to Minecraft, it’s those particular RPG aspects that sets it apart. Giving players a purpose within the game really struck home with me and I found myself moving progressively forward through the story and was able to complete a lot of structures due to missions, quests or tasks set out for me by the towns folk. The game offers players both an adventure with purpose as well as a game that can be enjoyed by just wandering around slaying monsters all day. Dragon Quest Builders is a must try for all Dragon Quest and Minecraft fans alike.