Get ready to jump back into the boots of the heroic builder. In the second game of the series of block building role-playing games, Dragon Quest Builders 2, you must battle the corrupt cult known as the Children of Hargon. These cultists worship the lord of destruction and want only one thing, the extinction of ‘building’ and ‘creation’ in the world. With the oppressors taking the builders of the world captive, is there any hope for the people?
Although Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the second of this sandbox RPG titles, Square has made it very clear that this is not a direct sequel. And after playing it, I will admit that this is indeed true. The game possesses a new story, new characters and new lands to explore. However, it still plays, feels and looks like the first. This, of course is in no way a bad thing. Quite the opposite actually. It just means that new players will experience the joy of gathering materials whilst battling off ferociously and occasionally adorable monsters. While still discovering the joy of building whatever your imagination brings to life. At the same time, the game allows returning players to rediscover the joys of being a master builder. The game kicks off with you a novice builder being held captive by the evil oppressors, the Children of Hargon. Thankfully you’re soon able to escape with the blessings and help of mother nature. And this is where your new journey and the mammoth quest begins, on the isle of awakening.
Hello my friend
Unlike the first Dragon Quest Builders, the second game grants the player a companion that not only shadows the player throughout the game but also plays an intricate role in the growth of the character into becoming a master builder. They also play an important role in the story. If you’ve played Dragon Quest II, you’ll realise early on in the game what Square has done. If not, well then you’ll realise it anyway as Square has created an unsubtle way of showing this off to the player early on within the game. Paired and partnered up together from the isle of awakening with the companion, you’ll never travel alone. Venturing across the many islands will be much easier as your companion will not only fight alongside you but also gather materials if you start chopping down a tree or plants. This makes gathering go by even faster at the early stage of the game.
More than just blocks
I must admit that I really enjoyed the characters development in the game. Square has really managed to develop more than half of the game’s characters with personalities that bear the problems and quirks of real-life personalities found in everyday groups of people struggling towards achieving the same goal while being oppressed. Some of the characters were conflicted in their beliefs of not supporting you due to the forced teachings of the Children of Hargon, believing if they follow you, only despair awaits them. And other characters I found strong-willed and steadfast in their belief of a better world and survival. Of course, this created tons of conflict among the people with you, the player, saviour and dare I say, Luminary, stuck in the middle. Which in turn made the dialogue even more rewarding to read through. Sure the script is no Persona level masterpiece but in a game where its core mechanic is building, I was happy to find such a vast number of NPC characters with such diverse personalities.
Sure the script is no Persona level masterpiece but in a game where its core mechanic is building, I was happy to find such a vast number of NPC characters with such diverse personalities.
So with the story and character development out of the way, how does the game really hold up in its bread and butter aspect compared to the first? Well, as mentioned earlier, it really does look, play and feel the same. However, Dragon Quest Builders 2 feels faster, smoother and easier to venture across the map. Obviously, your companion plays a huge role in making it this way, with his ability to battle alongside you and help you gather materials. Although, there are other aspects that make it easier for you to travel across the land. One of them being the fast travel option accessed through a map. And the other is a cape that allows the player to glide across large areas by jumping off high platforms. Keep in mind that the cloak is only available quite far into the game. Another noticeable difference and quite welcoming is the ability to now swim and explore underwater areas. This not only adds a new element of exploration but also gives the player interesting ways to interact with items and objects underneath the water. Yes, this includes nasty and ferocious beasts so venture with care.
The building aspect of the game remains the same. You’ll have to complete quests in respect of building shelter/rooms for the NPCs to sleep in, cook in, and relieve themselves in. Which interestingly you’ll clean up and recycle into some really potent manure. Hey, you’ve got to live off the land right? Other quests that players will be tasked with will be growing crops or building irrigation systems or protection in the form of fences for the farming areas. There is an incredible number of recipes to learn and discover which will keep players busy for hours on end. Some of the recipes include new combinations for fertiliser, and others include the recipe for creating furniture for your and NPC’s residents. I often found myself straying from the main story and going on a building tangent just because I enjoyed building so much. Keep in mind though that although you’ll get lost in the building aspect of things, the game does an incredibly good job of bringing you back to reality by reminding you that there are still monsters lurking around and the NPC’s also keep going about their business whilst you continue to build. This is no sims game, so there won’t be a pause function while building.
All in all, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is definitely a must play for all sandbox lovers. It includes RPG elements from the Dragon Quest series with the building blocks needed from titles like Minecarft. With additions such as the underwater exploration, gliding, and four-player co-op allowing players to play together, you’ll soon lose track of time as you and your friends create an empire. Are you ready to become a master builder?