One of the struggles of trying to capture a market is getting the right feel. A lot of games copied Monster Hunter but none of them achieved anywhere near the same level of success. That isn’t to say they weren’t fun, I actually enjoy God Eater and Toukiden, but that isn’t enough. For Dragon Quest Builders, they attempted to capture the Minecraft building market, by utilizing the beloved world of Dragon Quest and engaging concepts. This worked well for the original but is it enough to continue in the sequel or did they use all the magic on the first one?
Dragon Quest Builders 2’s story is a essentially a tutorial, explained through random tasks and some lore sprinkled throughout. The main idea is simple, help people, get random tasks and by helping people, new mechanics are introduced. One reminds you that blocks can be used as stairs, another shows you what fences do and others simply allow you to make the world around you better.
Even if story behind all the tasks isn’t particularly interesting, it comes down to maintaining the status quo over shaking things up, the freedom to complete these tasks as you see fit helps. Whether you make a barn or a spacious mansion for your town to enjoy, Dragon Quest Builders 2 largely doesn’t care how you get there, as long as you follow the guidelines.
Someone might ask for you to make shelter, so you need to design a house that is two blocks high, has a door and a bed. This house could be as simple as 40 blocks or as complicated as 2,000 or more. There is also a lot of things going on to keep players engaged, even in the tasks themselves are pretty simple.
At one point you might have to make a barn, harvest crops, build an outdoor dining room, create usable soil that others will till, all while fighting off an army of bats. As someone who typically finds these tasks tedious and usually wants to jump to the part where you fight a Knight, Golem or Dragonlord, I found myself lost in the simple charms of my town.
Unlike a lot of games, Dragon Quest Builders 2 isn’t terribly concerned about the harvesting as much as the building. A couple commonly found materials can be used to create a good number of resources. Just casually breaking things, fighting enemies and exploring was enough to really expand on a town. My village had a nice house, fenced off crops with scarecrows, a nice dining room, outdoor seating, a huge barn and ample supplies. Just adding a fence and some doors took a mere three or four minutes, with the only hard part being placement.
Outside of making a town or creating whatever random thing some villager wants, there is a lot to explore. Certain areas will have different resources, give you a chance to recruit more people and enemies that have the potential to inspire greater creations.
Regardless of whether these things are behind a wall, require a huge staircase to locate or just thinking outside the box, it gives these side areas a purpose besides being another resource dump. It takes a while before you have no reason to venture here or there and ample time to destroy or build the areas around you.
Even if this adventure is all about relationships and being productive, there is some combat elements. A good number of beloved Dragon Quest enemies appear, such as Slimes and Bats, though the combat itself is pretty straightforward. Players have a couple attacks, with most of the combat falling on your partners. There also isn’t much depth, so don’t expect dodging, counters or anything elaborate.
Despite some low points, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is certainly nice to look at. The cute art style gives the world a charming feel and when you look at what others have created, you get an idea of just how beautiful the world can be. Most objects have a good number of styles and you don’t need to settle for a drab shack or lame cave.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 accomplishes what it needs to do. Everything is presented in a simple and easy to understand way, that allows enough freedom to prevent the dreaded feeling that it is holding your hand. Toss in some cute visuals, comical characters and the ever popular world that is Dragon Quest and you have a winning combo. Whether you’re looking to fight enemies, build an empire or just mess around, it’s the type of adventure that is easy to get hooked on and enjoy. So, if you love building or just Dragon Quest in general, I strongly suggest giving this one a go or at least checking the demo out.
[Editor’s Note: Dragon Quest Builders 2 was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]