In the attempt to invigorate the Dragon Quest series, Square Enix teamed up with the developers of the Dynasty Warriors games to make Dragon Quest Heroes, a musou-like hack and slash action game. The end result was successful as it was received well by fans and critics around the world. To continue on with the perfect combination of Dragon Quest and Dynasty Warriors-style gameplay, Square Enix releases Dragon Quest Heroes II packed with improvements over its predecessor, a new world to explore and teaming up with familiar Dragon Quest characters with one goal in mind – defeat the evil forces.
Dragon Quest Heroes II follows the story of two heroes; Lazarel and Teresa in the town of Harba. While spending time together as cousins in the town, a surprise invasion from another land breaks the thousand year peace in the Seven Realms. In an attempt to prevent the war from truly exploding in the Seven Realms, both heroes and a female character named Desdemona travel to Accordia to talk to the High King. From there, the reason behind the war reveals itself and that’s the start of their epic journey to save the realm. As with all Dragon Quest games, the game starts off at a slow pace but as you delve deeper into the game and spend around 3 to 4 hours, that’s where the game picks up in terms of its plot. Compared to its predecessor, the story of Dragon Quest Heroes II is a tad-better but don’t expect anything too heavy.
One of the key features of the first Dragon Quest Heroes is where characters from past games in the series appear to help you out in your cause. In Dragon Quest Heroes II, the case is the same where fans of the series will once again have a chance to play their favorite Dragon Quest characters such as Jessica, Terry, Maya, Toneko, and Kiryl. Though in this follow up title, there are some new characters that have been added like Angelo from Dragon Quest VIII, Carver from Dragon Quest VI, and Torneko and Meena from Dragon Quest IV. As for unique characters, there is Desdemona and Cesar who also become available as playable characters at some point in the game. With about fifteen or so characters that you can play as, only 4, including the hero can be placed in the party. Expect each character to have their own uniqueness and exploring is pretty much recommended to see which one is ideal to use.
Unlike in the predecessor where playing either as Luceus and Aurora seems to be pointless since they are stuck with their respective elemental properties with no chance to customize them or equip them with different set of weapons, the heroes in Dragon Quest Heroes II are quite different. Regardless whether you pick Lazareal or Teresa, the ability to choose your class and weapons to use opens up after reaching a certain point in the game. Not to mention there are different classes each of the heroes can equip like changing from Warrior class to a Thief or Mage class. At the beginning, both start off as a Warrior but can later be changed by visiting the Alltrades Abbey. Please note that each class has its own proficiency in weapons that they can master where they can get a boost in stats or unlock specific skills.
One of the features that was missing in the first game is the ability to play with other people online. Fortunately, Square Enix listened to the fans please and have finally added a multiplayer portion in Dragon Quest Heroes II. After earning leveling three and have reached Accordia, the multiplayer mode opens up where you have an option to run special dungeons that are filled with monsters. Up to four players can start a multiplayer co-op session. As for the story mode, you will be asked before the mission begin if you want to call for help. If you feel that you need help from friends online, you can seek for three more players to join you. Sadly, the multiplayer portion is only limited to online only as it doesn’t have a local multiplayer. Don’t fret though, the game works pretty well in online mode as it adds more flair to the combat.
Another feature that returns from the first game in Dragon Quest Heroes II is the Monster Medal System. Whenever you are fighting enemies in a full-scale battlefield, there are chances that a monster medal will drop. These monster medals that are in your possession can be used to summon monsters in battle. For those who have played the first game, the Monster Medal System is a familiar territory but they tweaked the system in Dragon Quest Heroes II. There are now three distinct type of medals that enemies drop; Savior, Sentry and Substitute. The first two; Savior and Sentry are already common in the first game as monsters are summoned to help you patrol the area or defeat enemies until they are either defeated or you dismiss them. What’s new is the Substitute feature where the monsters will be substituted in your place allowing you to control them for a specific amount of time. There are only specific monsters that can be substituted but if you find one, be sure to use them when you see bunch of enemies that you have to defeat as they have powerful AOE attacks.
Progression in Dragon Quest Heroes II is pretty much the same as its predecessor. For the most part, you will find yourself in a battlefield where you will fight countless monsters. As this type of gameplay can get tedious and repetitive as it’s the nature of Dynasty Warrior games, Dragon Quest Heroes II tries to add flair to the repetitive battle by implementing skills that different character can use and strategy that you have to perform. In other words, it’s not simply the monotonous hack and slash game but also a strategic game as there are parts in the game where you will have to use strategy. When not in battle, you will find yourself in Accordia where it acts as your base of operation. In there, you will find all the things you need like the armor shop, quest counter, or access the crafting station where various items can be crafted or augmented. As far as customization goes, characters can get stronger by allocating skill points. This is nothing new for those who have played the first game as it’s more of the same when it comes to this feature.
Visually, the game looks phenomenal, especially if you are playing the game on a PS4 Pro. Thanks to the enhanced resolution, the game appears to look more vibrant and clearer, not to mention the frame rates are quite solid regardless if there are hundreds of enemies in the battlefield. The transition from one area to the next is solid and despite the game feeling more of a Dynasty Warriors game due to its gameplay, Toriyama made sure that you will also feel that Dragon Quest Heroes II is a true Dragon Quest game thanks to its character designs, and of course the monsters too. With a full-scale battlefield that you will get to explore, expect to visit some breathtaking places that will bring you from the grassy plains to the sandy dunes and forest that truly shows off the beautiful design of this game. If you are definitely a fan of the Dragon Quest games, you will be enthralled to see what the visuals of this game has to offer.
Dragon Quest Heroes II is the sequel that fans of the first game have been clamoring for years. It has the most requested online multiplayer feature and other improvements such as character class customization and Monster Medal Systems that makes the sequel a must buy for fans. Though expect the game to be quite repetitive at times as it has the nature of Dynasty Warriors style where you will always find yourself in a full-scale battlefield but don’t fret as there are little things that adds flair to it that makes it less repetitive. Despite the game being a spin-off of the hit Dragon Quest series, it’s certainly one of the best ones out there and is a must-play for fans of the franchise.
[Editor’s Note: Dragon Quest Heroes II was reviewed on the PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Dragon Quest Heroes II Review,