Square Enix & Koei Tecmo came together the other year to unleash Dragon Quest Heroes, the cross over no one expected. It released to mixed review and lacking features, will second time be lucky for these gaming powerhouses or is it a case of too much fluff and no quality? Quest on to find out!.
Dragon Quest Heroes 2 features a tale of 2 cousins thrust into a war prophesied through the ages, along the way they will meet various heroes from previous Dragon Quest games who will aid them in fighting their way to world peace. Let’s face it, Dragon Quest has never been one for overly ambitious stories and fortunately this one not only suits Dragon Quest well but also suits the Warriors side of the gameplay too!.
The returning cast are great and certainly should please any long time fans of Dragon Quest, even newer fans should appreciate how quickly familiar faces roll into the game, within the first hour or so you’re already face to face with Ruff & Maribel from the recently released Dragon Quest VII.
Visually speaking Dragon Quest Heroes II manages to stand above the original one and contains so many little tweaks and flourishes that it looks closer to what you’d expect current gen Dragon Quest would look like. Naturally if you’ve played or even seen Dragon Quest you know they have some of the most fun and familiar looking character designs all drawn by a little known name Akira Toriyama, they all look stunning in this game and helps make it an utter joy to play.
The only issue I can really point out with the graphics is that there is considerable amounts of pop up in regards to the enemies, this is usually because the game throws screen full after screen full of baddies for you to bash with no noticeable slowdown in my experience.
As with the previous title the voice acting is superb if not a little jarring to people new to the Dragon Quest series, the majority of characters use a somewhat british twang, strange at first but they really capture the character’s personality and are all of a high quality which is always good to see. The soundtrack is also very tight and contains many classic tracks from all walks of Dragon Quest, once again something from the fans but should please newcomers as the music really suits the game and some tracks are dangerously catchy!.
The gameplay is where the majority of improvements have been done with Dragon Quest Heroes II, for anyone who skipped out on the first it was a solid title but played it a little too safe and got very repetitive very quickly, II on the other hand aims to solve this.
The first major change in the game is rather than having just a Hub and selection of battles to move in between, Koei have provided the game a fully roamable world map for you to explore when you aren’t waging war. The map offers random battles, several locations to explore and even random events which can help you grind out some experience before you tackle the next quest. This is a massive jump in fusing the Dragon Quest and “Musou” formula and really helps the title feel more authentic rather than a Warriors title with Dragon Quest assets slapped on.
Another major change is the main characters of the game can be fully customised in what role they play, if you don’t want to have sword and shield you can mix them up and have them as ranged or even mages much like the job system introduced in DQ VII, this comes in to play more for the online side which I will go into more detail about soon but is once again a welcome feature.
Mission variety is actually existent now which is a huge plus in my book, the first title relied far too much on it’s Tower Defence formula whereas Dragon Quest Heroes II features several different mission types which will stop the fatigue coming in, the game is still Warriors at heart so may still seem repetitive to some but as a total package the mission variety has done wonders for the health of this game.
The final massive improvement of this title is the online features, the first title didn’t have any and this game not only set out to change this but did a fantastic job of giving it that little Dragon Quest vibe to it too. You have the standard campaign multiplayer, this is once again a step back from most Co-Op experiences as Koei have this quirk where one player needs to have already finished the mission before hand, this means full playthroughs with a friend requires you to play the maps first solo then with your friend.
The second mode on the other hand is brilliant and should be used in future Musou titles, loot dungeon runs. To keep in line with the Dragon Quest theme the game has provided several dungeons which can be attempted either solo or with friends, with a boosted difficulty for the chance to gain exclusive loot and generally just have a good ol’ time crushing wave after wave of foes. This mode is such a welcome and enjoyable inclusion and certainly anyone getting the game should at least dabble in this mode.
Overall Dragon Quest Heroes II is what I would deem the perfect sequel, it took the good and bad from the original, addressed the issues and improved on them, it feels more in line with the Dragon Quest series yet still retains the Musou style gameplay people either love or hate. The only glaring issue lies within the Musou style gameplay which has proven time and time again to be very marmite and often some find it quite repetitive.
Dragon Quest Heroes II is when boiled down a niche within a niche which will may not fully appeal to die hard Dragon Quest fans or Musou fans. If you enjoyed the original title then you can be safe knowing this title is bigger, better and more bang for your buck, on the other hand if you want this title to convert you and aren’t the biggest fan of either franchise this isn’t going to be the one that does it, thin story telling and Musou gameplay is still rife with this one.
Dragon Quest Heroes II (Playstation 4) - 9/10
- Feels authentic
- Tight gameplay
- Huge Fanservice
- Still very Musou
- Graphics may be off putting
- Co-Op restrictions
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