Title: Dragon Quest Builders 2
Developer: Square Enix
Genre: Action, Role-Playing
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: Out Now – 12/07/19
Price: £49.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
As soon as I started Dragon Quest Builders 2, I was hit with the realisation that I would never be able to play for long enough to have experienced everything the game had to offer before reviewing it. Even now, as I pen this review upon completion of the main story, I feel the same way. Dripping with creativity and soaked in ingenuity, DQB2 is an all-you-can-eat buffet of quality, gaming goodness.
A sequel to the Omega Force and Square Enix production of Dragon Quest Builders from 2017, DQB2 is an open-world, role-playing sandbox adventure inspired by all the greats that have come before it. Benefiting from past experiences, the endeavours of other developers, and an inherent understanding of what makes a game great, DQB2 is a title that fans of many genres can enjoy.
To stop the worshippers of an ancient evil, you must join forces with the mysterious Malroth and build a ravaged world into the realm of your dreams. In this RPG adventure, you’ll explore huge islands, gather and craft with materials, design towns, level them up, and defend them from monsters and bosses alongside townspeople. As you progress, you’ll unearth crafting and building recipes. Dash, glide, swim, fast travel, and play in optional first-person perspective as you try to find them all.
After an opening tutorial that introduces you to the trappings of the game, you embark on an adventure to overcome an ancient evil that forbids the beautiful art that is ‘building and crafting’. With comparisons between DQB2 and Minecraft abundantly clear, be it from the interface itself or how you navigate the world and interact with it, there is a reason to believe that this is just another Minecraft clone. DQB2 is Minecraft and then some, with the free-roaming craft-building elements of the title proving to be just the blueprint for engaging quests, an interesting -albeit slightly bizarre – storyline, and a depth of creativity unrivalled in recent times.
You take control of a custom-designed and self-titled character who supports communities across the expansive map to rebuild or enhance the land. By gathering resources and learning new crafting options, you can meet the requests of the inhabitants or use your initiative to develop the community in your image. The beauty of DQB2 lies in the options at your disposal, and although it is imperative to player progression to complete the quests set, you can do all of this at your own pace.
The variety of missions available in DQB2 are varied and interesting, with many offering fresh takes on seed procurement, crop-growing, crafting and building. As well as this, there is a hack-and-slash combat system that is well-placed and provides variance to the day-to-day tasks. While the combat system is less developed, the other elements of this title are advanced. Crops are grown in all manner of conditions, with some needing wooden poles to grow and others requiring the creation of a small bath of water to flourish. It all feels quite realistic and requires a level of thought that I wasn’t expecting, especially for a game with Builder in the title.
As an avid fan of all things Harvest Moon, My Time at Portia, and Animal Crossing, I am well-versed in farming, crafting life-sims. They are all offer variations on the theme, with some focussing more on one particular game mechanic than others. DQB2 feels as though the developers have thought of almost everything and have tried to cater for all audiences. With dynamic weather, a night and day cycle, sophisticated crafting options and a whole plethora of characters to engage with, no expense has been spared. I particularly like the inclusion of blueprints, as this allows you to build a pre-designed room by following a map that is placed on the floor. This takes the building and crafting to a new level, and shows how they have expanded upon previous building sims.
Another noteworthy consideration that has been made which highlights both the accessibility of this title to all and the level of understanding that the Development Team have of us as gamers is the small inclusion of an exclamation mark! When on a quest, there is a little exclamation mark placed next to any items both at the crafting station and in your inventory to identify the ones that you need to use to complete the quest.
The graphics are superb, capturing the very essence of DQB2 and ensuring its personality is on display at all times. Games like this are best suited to this graphical style, and it should surely stand the test of time. The different terrains are well-designed and full of detail; so too are the different blocks and items you can craft. I am mightily impressed by all that has been included in DQB2, and know there is yet more for me to uncover and marvel at.
For all that DQB2 gets right, there are two improvements that I believe could have made it a masterpiece. The first is character voiceover. So much time has been spent on characterisation and development, with each encounter between your playable character and the NPCs being both meaningful and entertaining. That being said, it is all presented via on-screen text. The use of voiceover to depict the narrative would have been fantastic: the humorous jokes and heart-warming conversations would be brought to life. While I understand that this would be a huge undertaking, I am sure it would have been worth the time and effort.
The other inclusion that would have seen DQB2 reach dizzying heights of perfection would be a ‘Build Mode.’ Similar to the one found in The Sims, I would have liked to have been able to pause and enter said mode to create buildings etc. on the fly without having to manoeuvres my character for the build. At times, the controls can be a little fiddly, and your character can only reach so high, so building tall structures and large buildings was a challenge.
Rapid Reviews Rating
DQB2 is an absolute delight to play from the start to the never-ending finish. It offers a depth of design that many games should take note of, and delivers it in a package that is as complex as it is accessible. Combining elements of games much loved by the community is always a risk, but Developers, Omega Force, have showcased the very best of them while putting their stamp on almost every aspect. An outstanding achievement, and one that deserves to be experienced by as many gamers as possible.
You can purchase Dragon Quest Builders 2 on the Nintendo eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/DRAGON-QUEST-BUILDERS-2-1514364.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.