Dragon Quest Builders 2 PC Review | Optimized for friendship

Tyler Treese
Dragon Quest Builders 2 Info

genre

  • Action role-playing
  • Sandbox

players

  • 1 - 4

Publisher

  • Square Enix

Developer

  • Omega Force
  • Square Enix

Release Date

  • 07/12/2019
  • Out Now

Platform

  • Nintendo Switch
  • PS4

rating

A lot of fans were confused by the announcement of the original Dragon Quest Builders as it seemed like a strange blend of franchises that wouldn’t work together. It wound up being a charming action RPG that took some of the best elements of Minecraft and applied it to the Dragon Quest formula. It still had plenty of issues, but it was well worth revisiting for a sequel. Thankfully, DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 manages to build on the solid foundation of the original and creates a wholly unique title that will even appeal to those that haven’t crafted before.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a story-based experience, which keeps it from being yet another Minecraft knockoff on the market. Much like how the first game took place as a parallel ending of the original Dragon Quest, this serves as a sequel to the story seen in Dragon Quest 2. However, it’s also easy enough to understand if you haven’t played the 1987 role-playing game, so the framework works more as a special treat for longtime fans rather than a barrier to entry.

The villain from Dragon Quest 2, the demon God of Destruction Malroth, returns but in an amnesiac human form. He quickly begins to help the player, even though he has an urge to spill blood, and a lot of the story’s humor comes from their unlikely friendship. The story explores this strange alliance, and while there are no huge twists or groundbreaking moments, it constantly gives the player a reason to be building.

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And the PC version is even better than ever. The mouse and keyboard controls feel perfectly natural, especially when using the optional first-person camera mode, and there’s controller support if you wish to play it like other versions. The game runs at a constant 60 frames per second, and it looks fantastic. Compared to the recent Switch port, it shows a huge difference in graphical quality that reflects well on the PC version.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 PC Review | Improving the formula

Dragon Quest Builders 2 PC Review

One big difference between Dragon Quest Builders 2 and the original is that the game that is consistent across all versions is that it is now based around performing quests for villagers in order to gain their trust and progress the story. It’s illegal to build, so it’s an uphill battle for players to become a welcomed person, but getting to make friends is all part of the game’s charm. The quests are typically pretty basic in nature, and a lot of them just revolve around fetching specific materials or creating crops to feed others, but it adds a much-needed structure to the overall experience. Plus, the newly added fast travel system makes getting around the world an easy task rather than a nuisance.

However, it doesn’t encourage as much exploration since players are regularly pointed where to go rather than wandering about. That isn’t always a bad thing, as it’s not usually fun to be lost and unsure what to do next, but it does mean there are less cool moments of stumbling upon a hidden cave. There are still secrets to be found, of course, but they’re just not found with the same regularity.

Although the urge to explore has been truncated, so has the level-based structure of the first game. Players essentially starting over on each new map they gained access to made getting through a level seem like a punishment rather than an exciting prospect, and thankfully it is gone here. The move to a more linear setup was smart, as it gives players a more entertaining experience and more reason to keep playing rather than quitting after getting sick of having to start over.

Just like the original, there’s a lot of combat to be had in Dragon Quest Builders 2 but it’s one of the weaker elements as the combat feels stiff. However, villagers and the aforementioned Malroth will join the player to fight off monsters and it becomes a game that is ultimately about cooperation. Taking down enemies by yourself can be a frustrating challenge, but it becomes much more doable with friends. That’s ultimately the lesson that the game imparts, and it fittingly features online multiplayer up to four players as well. It’d be odd if a game about friendship didn’t let you do just that.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 PC Review | Packed with great content

Dragon Quest Builders 2 PC Review

Beyond some keyboard and mouse customization, there isn’t really anything wholly unique to the PC port of Dragon Quest Builders 2. It does come with all of the previously released DLC, though. This includes the excellent Hotto Stuff Pack, which is based upon the city of the same name that is found in Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age. It comes with a new island that has a bunch of additional materials and over 40 recipes that help them to recreate the city’s ironwork-based architecture.

The second main DLC offering is the Aquarium Pack, which allows players to catch dozens of different types of fish. They can all be displayed in an aquarium, and there’s also another new island filled with new quests to fulfill. The last of the three Season Pass offerings is the Modernist Pack, and it’s the least appealing of the bunch. The idea is sound, as it comes with 70 different recipes that create modern-looking buildings, but tonally clashes with the fantasy world that the game takes place within.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 was great when it released on consoles and it’s still a blast on PC. Coming packaged with all of the previously released DLC (which adds up to nearly $25) makes it a great value, and it runs flawlessly while looking great as well. Even those that bounced off the original will find a reason to see this through to the end thanks to the more-structured story and its easy to follow quest system. Dragon Quest has usually been strictly associated with RPGs and Builders 2 proves that the series can work outside of those confines. And, if anything, the PC version makes that even more clear.


GameRevolution reviewed Dragon Quest Builders 2 on PC with a copy provided by the publisher.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

4
Rating
Box art - Dragon Quest Builders 2
Core building gameplay is deep and quite liberating.
Story is enjoyable and naturally encourages you to build.
Includes all of the game's previously released DLC.
Combat is pretty rough.
Not all the DLC is great.