A spin-off game of the long running Dragon Quest RPG series and the popular Dynasty Warriors games, Dragon Quest Heroes 2 seems like it should have a high barrier to entry. However, as a person with only basic knowledge of both of those series and very little hands-on experience, I can report that Dragon Quest Heroes 2 can be thoroughly enjoyed without ever having touched any of the prior source material. In fact, it just might be a great starting place for people interested in the Dragon Quest series.
When World’s Collide:
The game begins with Lazarel and Teresa, two knights in training when invading forces drag them out of the academy and into war. Along the way, they’ll come across other popular characters from the Dragon Quest series that have been sucked into their world mysteriously by dark forces. While the war rages on, the mystery behind the evil begins to reveal itself and our heroes are left wondering who they can trust.
While the story does not shy away from the cliches and tropes of so many RPG games before it, it is made so much better by the incredible voice acting. Every character has a unique and distinct voice that offers plenty of emotion and personality. Throughout my thirty hour play through, I found myself becoming attached to many of the characters and excited to see the interaction between them. All the cutscenes look gorgeous and there are plenty of them to advance the story at a brisk pace and keep the player engaged. Every character is introduced as if you are meeting them for the first time which gives plenty of explanation to those unfamiliar with any of the source material. Never once did I feel out of the loop when an important event happened or when a new character was introduced. Which is high praise considering this is a sequel to a spin-off game based on a series with eleven installments.
War On A Grand Scale:
Anyone who has played a Dynasty Warriors game should know by now what to expect from studio Omega Force’s high octane hack and slash series. And in many ways, Dragon Quest Heroes 2 is more of the same. You will be thrown into arenas full of disposable enemies as you unleash a flurry of stylish and over the top attacks with one of the four characters in your party. Early levels of the game will have you feeling like a master warrior as you over power hordes of enemies with a single blow. Don’t let that fool you as later levels become extremely difficult and are impossible to win without some careful planning and resource management.
There are also a variety of mission styles to keep the gameplay from getting stale. As some missions will have you guarding a target on the battlefield, others will have you completing multiple boss fights in a row or searching for the exit in puzzle-filled labyrinths. And while none of these missions change the game’s play style drastically, the hack and slash combat feels incredibly satisfying and makes for a great pick-up and play experience.
A few levels towards the middle of the campaign really blew me away as I was not only tasked with keeping the king safe on a massive battlefield called The Great Divide, I also had to manage hordes of armies approaching on multiple fronts. It was chaotic and exhilarating and during the thirty plus minute battle it felt like a real war, albeit a war with cute brightly colored monsters, but a war none the less.
Where Dragon Quest Heroes 2 really takes a miss step is in its self-proclaimed open world. It is lifeless and filled with enemies that could care less if you are there are not. It merely serves as a way to get from one mission to the next. What’s even worse is that the game often forces you to wander the open world in between missions for monotonous fetch quests that serve no real point. This brings the exciting fast paced combat to a grinding halt, which is a total contrast to what makes the game so great.
Playing With Strangers:
The multiplayer for this game is equally great and disappointing. Inviting others into your game to help you take on that one mission you can’t quite master is extremely helpful. And for those who feel uncomfortable using a headset to communicate the game offers tons of great emotes and phrases in its communication board to let everyone in your party know exactly where they’re needed or how to tackle the task at hand.
The unfortunate part is there is no local co-op, so playing with your friends requires multiple consoles and multiple copies of the game. This is nothing new as many modern games do not feature local co-op, but this game would have extremely benefited from giving your friend a controller and taking on that giant boss together. Especially given it’s easy to pick up and play game style.
Multiplayer does offer more than just co-oping the campaign, as you can venture into optional online dungeons as well as trade equipment and items with other players online. There is no shortage of things to do in Dragon Quest Heroes 2 and with the right group of friends the game could easily warrant a hefty amount of play time.
In The Eyes Of The Beholder:
The three-dimensional, anime inspired art style might not be for everyone, but there is no denying that the game looks fantastic. Akira Toriyama’s classic Dragon Quest art really comes to life in this game, without losing any of the fun bright and colorful wonder that has always been present throughout the series. The game’s look and feel remains faithful to the source material and goes way beyond just being a re-skinned Dynasty Warriors game. The game also runs very smoothly and despite having sometimes hundreds of enemies fighting on the screen at one time I never once experienced any slow down or frame rate issues.
A Good Place To Start:
Dragon Quest Heroes 2 doesn’t offer anything incredibly new in regards to story or gameplay. However, the simple and addictive combat combined with the great characters and voice acting make for a game that is easy to recommend for anyone looking to begin their journey in the Dragon Quest games. While the lack of local co-op and the boring fetch quests leave some definite room for improvement, you sure could do a lot worse than Dragon Quest Heroes 2. So if you are looking for a good filler game to hold you over until the next big release or just something mindlessly fun then Dragon Quest Heroes 2 is a game worth checking out.
This game was provided to us by Square Enix for the purpose of this review.