This review is long overdue, and all I can do is apologise. I’ve been going through a rough patch, especially these past few days, but with the help of fun game, any kind of stress and anxiety can float away. A fun game is what we all need from time to time. Something easy enough to let your reflexes kick in, complex enough to still keep you on your toes at times and just the right amount of fun to slip you out of reality and into the land of Greena Pastures. If that sounds like a game you need right now, then let me introduce you to a few heroes in Dragon Quest Heroes II.
Dragon Quest has somehow always fallen second best to the Final Fantasy series. While it certainly is popular, it certainly doesn’t get the mainstream attention that Final Fantasy and Pokemon enjoy. It’s a fantastic series of games with loads of memorable and fully developed characters that stay with you for years after playing the game. As a Dragon Quest fan, it’s a wonderful feeling to see them again, in an action packed game with a new story, new heroes and a mash-up made in heaven.
Just like the previous Dragon Quest Heroes, many of the series’ protagonists will make an appearance in the game as members of your team. The sequel, which isn’t really a sequel to the first game at all, includes a variety of new and older Dragon Quest characters. You’ll get to see Carver from DQ VI, Torneko and Meena from DQ IV, Angelo from DQ VIII, Maribel and Ruff from DQ VII, as well as a few returning characters from the first Dragon Quest Heroes.
As always, there’s a prophecy
That’s not where the fun begins though, so let’s start at the beginning. You start your game off by selecting your main character between cousins, no less. Lazarel and Teresa are the game’s main heroes and play a pivotal role in the story. They’re both young fighters and staunch believers of a prophecy in their world. In a nutshell, the prophecy states that the seven kingdoms of their world must remain in a state of peace. If a war ever breaks out, evil will destroy all of mankind. So, what happens? War breaks out.
I won’t dive in too far, not because I think the plot is easy to figure out, which it is, but also isn’t. I thought that a side genre of an RPG would suffer in the story-telling, but it actually didn’t. There were enough surprises and who-dun-its to make the plot interesting. It’s not on the level of a standard RPG game, but nowhere near as weak as I thought it would be. And it doesn’t just end there either.
Where are you goooing?
This game is full of highlights, which surprised me a number of ways. I reviewed both versions of Hyrule Warriors and while I enjoyed the game, the Dragon Quest approach to the hack ‘n slash genre is way better. The game is mainly divided into two sections, a free world section where you can run around at your own leisure and complete side missions, and main mission areas where you’ll kick some serious butt. The world is designed and presented beautifully, integrating the colourful and kooky places which are prevalent in the series. It blends in so well with highly animated enemies. I mean, there’s a monster called Grin-ade for goodness sake. There’s also a nice balance between the roaming sections and the battles where you can take your time filling objectives and grinding for levels during free roam, and then test your mettle in the main warzones.
You’ll never have to fight alone
To add even more complexity and fun into the game, you can call for help and have an online co-op buddy to assist you in a fight. You can even take on tougher bonus dungeons if you’re looking for a tough fight, not that the main game has a lack of it. The game is filled with many good, solid boss battles. They never feel out of balance and you can find great fights with mini-bosses, bosses and tough roaming enemies. The world is alive with the most cartoonish danger and I love every bit of it. But a fight is only as good as your heroes.
I’ve spent over 30 hours in this game, and I can tell that by the time I get all the trophies, it will be well over 100.
You’ll start off with a small team of new characters. There are Lazarel and Teresa, who I think look far too basic to be main character material, and then there’s the badass, mega axe-wielding warrior, Desdemona and the kick ass broadsword-wielding… oh, I can’t say it, spoilers. Along the way you’ll meet old and lost friends, starting with Torneko, then Maribel and Ruff and so on and so forth. The characterisations are spot on, especially if you’ve played their respective games. Maribel, Angelo and Meena are probably my favourites in this game as their characters are dead on. Some of the voice acting is leaves something to be desired for though, such as Alena, Kiryl, a bit of Carver and Lazarel, whom I think is a little too childish to be taken seriously as a soldier.
The fighting is a breeze to learn, and each character has their own fighting style, except for Lazarel and Teresa, who can change their vocation (such as mage, priest, warrior, etc.). Each character has their own ability tree, which you can shape and mould how you see fit. I found it to be little redundant as the options were fairly obvious and each tree a little lacking where additional attacks are concerned. The good thing is, there’s enough of a character roster to make sure that you can change it up whenever you want to. Swap out Carver’s muscle strength for Meena’s savage status afflicting cards, or Maribel’s fiery temper for Angelo’s carefully guided arrows.
Becoming a monster
You can even enlist the help of monsters. Upon defeat, some of them may drop a monster coin, which can be used effectively in battle. You can summon a helper, use a one-time ability or temporarily transform into a powerful monster.
There are a lot of options when it comes to battle, and even more when exploring. You have side missions, side dungeons, hidden items to find, wanted monsters to beat and way more. The game is brimming with content. I’ve spent over 30 hours in this game, and I can tell that by the time I get all the trophies, it will be well over 100.
It’s not all pretty though, as I battled big time trying to lock on to enemies. When faced with multiple tough opponents, it’s easy to unintentionally switch between the two. I also found that fighting with non-melee weapons, aside from a bow, was slow and tiresome. The mage vocations were very weak and learning new spells didn’t exactly even them out. Heck, changing vocations, in general, seemed a little pointless given the roster of characters.
As a whole, Dragon Quest Heroes II is a good game with enough fanfare to keep old fans happy, but enough new and engaging content to make sure newcomers don’t feel alienated.
As a whole, Dragon Quest Heroes II is a good game with enough fanfare to keep old fans happy, but enough new and engaging content to make sure newcomers don’t feel alienated. Its large roster of characters means you can mix and match your teams and with an objectives list as long Encyclopaedia Britannica, you’ll get plenty of mileage out of this title. It’s fun and the perfect distraction if you need to slip away from reality now and again. If you’re a fan of Dragon Quest, then this is a game you should certainly check out.