Dragon Quest Heroes II is out now, expanding upon the groundwork that was laid by its predecessor in 2015. Boasting over 30 hours of gameplay, 15 playable characters new and familiar to the Dragon Quest franchise, Dynasty Warriors-style action gameplay, and a fully explorable open world, there is a lot of content to be found in this spin-off sequel.
We’ve played through the nitty gritty of this title, and learned some valuable lessons. Whether you’re a Dragon Quest fan wanting to experience something a little different, a Dynasty Warriors fan in the mood for something a little more lighthearted, or a newbie to both franchises, we’ve got you covered with five tips that will get you going in this full-length action-RPG.
1. Keep Control
Dragon Quest Heroes II is unlike any of the 10 (soon to be 11) mainline Dragon Quest games when it comes to gameplay. The combat in this game is strictly action-based, with combos, skills, and tons of enemies filling up your entire screen. In the midst of this, it is extremely easy to get overwhelmed with different techniques and lose control of the battle.
There are two types of controls you use to offset this: standard and simple controls. The standard controls utilize a combination of the square and triangle buttons to issue combos for better damage, such as square, square, square, triangle. The simple controls are there if you simply want to button mash and not worry about the combinations. The two combos are activated by pressing the square four times in a row or the same with the triangle button.
Beyond that, each character can have up to four skills at once. These can be used by holding down the R1 button, followed by any one of the four face buttons. You can even hold down the appropriate button for certain skills to charge it up and unleash an even more powerful version, such as Isabel’s hilariously huge boomerang.
2. Turning the Tides of War
At certain points of the story, you will be faced with one or more field battles that anyone familiar with games like Dynasty Warriors will have experience with. Unfortunately, Dragon Quest Heroes II has some seriously steep difficulty curves when advancing from one to the other. There are some ways to get around this, besides the typical grinding.
When faced with tough or a lot of enemies in these battles (which will happen), there are some strategies you can use. Circle is used for activating your high-tension mode when the gauge in the bottom left corner is filled up through giving and receiving damage. Your character basically goes Super Saiyan, having unlimited MP for skills for a short period of time. This is great for an onslaught of skills to clear the area. Press circle again before it runs out to unleash the coupe de grace, or special attack. Each player in your party has their own specific gauge that really only fills up when you directly control them, so always be switching between your characters using L1.
If you don’t have high-tension mode, an easy attack to use is the jump button (X) followed by your second attack (triangle). This is an aerial attack that slashes through whatever enemies are facing you. You can even change your direction of where you land the attack by moving the left analog stick while mid-air.
Mawkeepers are a specific enemy that command gates that summon endless waves of enemies during these battles. They should be your primary target whenever scouring the field to stop the respawn of monsters. The game will even discourage you sometimes to do so because you need to protect your allies, but this should still take precedence as it will protect your teammates more efficiently in the long run.
These battles can be tough, but you don’t have to do it alone. While there sadly isn’t any local co-op, there is online multiplayer. Before starting your battle, you can select “call for help” to send a signal for online players to come and join you in the battle.
3. Building the Right Team
There is a lot of depth to be found in Dragon Quest Heroes II and not a lot explained by the game itself. While not made obvious by the game, you do gain skill points each time you level up. Apply those points immediately to better your chances of survival. This also goes for your party members. Every single one of them gains skill points that can be used for their respective skill tree. Each one is different, unlocking things like stat bonuses and even new skills for battle.
The two cousins that serve as the primary protagonists, default named Lazarel and Teresa, are unique in that they can change vocations (or classes) anytime like in a typical Dragon Quest game. This is a new feature, with five vocations available: Warrior (default), Martial Artist, Mage, Gladiator, and Sage. The first three become available at a certain point in the story, while Gladiator and Sage must be unlocked through some specific side quests.
The Warrior class is a pretty versatile vocation, but it is best to mix things up as soon as possible. It is recommended that you switch one of the cousins to a Mage once able to, as the added range will be a tremendous help. As we mentioned above, battles get intense with hundreds of enemies onscreen at once, so the powerful ranged class is crucial for someone that is struggling to win. Also, there are multiple playstyles available within each vocation. For example, the Warrior vocation is able to wield not only a sword and shield, but dual swords as well, so feel free to experiment and find what’s best for you.
4. Monster Mash
Another new feature in this sequel is expanding upon the monster medals featured in the original. For those that don’t know, your D-pad commands the monster menu during battle. When defeating almost any enemy in the game, there is a chance it will drop a medal that you have to walk over to pick up. These medals are found in the bottom left corner. You only have a limited amount of space for these medals and it fills up fast, with stronger monsters taking up more space.
Because of this, it best to use them immediately by selecting one with left or right on the D-pad and then pressing up on it. There are a total of three types of monster medals, with a brand new one added for this game. First, there are one-off monster skills. Here, the monster shows up and uses a powerful ability on the surrounding enemies. This is useful for wiping out tons of enemies and buying time.
Next, there's the sentry medals. These are basically temporary summons, where the monster follows you and attacks alongside you until they die. Most aren't very powerful, so they are best used as damage sponges. Lastly, you can now turn into some monsters for a limited time. This is by far the most useful (and fun), especially for fighting bosses, as you gain the monster’s specific attacks and can lay waste to the enemy while not losing any HP for that short time.
5. Quick Tips
For our fifth and final section we have a list of quick tips.
- Having a large world to explore, don’t forget there is a totally Dragon Quest-esque way to fast travel. Activate any large stones that are glowing red in the field. This allows you to use the Zoom spell found in the main menu to “zoom” there instantly at any time outside of combat.
- Speaking of Zoom, there is a secret bronze trophy called “Head Banger” that is unlocked by using Zoom indoors or anywhere there is a ceiling directly above your head.
- Visit the Martial Master in the inn in Accordia every few levels you gain to unlock new skills and abilities.
- You can also visit a monster in that inn who will copy your current weapon’s look and apply it to every future weapon you equip. This is great if you like the particular style of a weapon you have and want to keep it, while still gaining the stats of a better one.
- Online multiplayer has to be manually unlocked. It is available after you’ve reached level three and met with the King. Inside the same inn as mentioned previously, a woman named Erinn will unlock it for you, as well as serve as the online lobby for dungeons.
- When not fully charged for high-tension mode, you can hold down the circle button to charge up and then hold it down again to heal yourself in the middle of battle.