Game: Dragon Quest Builders 2
Genre: Action RPG Simulation Builder
System: Switch (also on PS4)
Developer/ Publisher: Square Enix| Nintendo
Age Rating: EU: 7+| USA: 10+
Price: €59,99| £39.99| $59.99
Release Date: 12th July 2019
No review code was provided, bought the game myself
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the much awaited sequel to the first game. In this game, like in the first one, you follow a storyline on the one hand (action RPG) and allow your creativity to flow on the other hand (simulation/ sandbox environment).
But I already defeated Hargon? Then what’s this game about?
It takes place some time after the events of the first one where you had beaten Hargon. Now you meet the the Children of Hargon, who seek revenge on all builders. Of course! They have made sure all builders are eliminated and no one can create anything. At least, they think they have destroyed all abilities to build. You wake up on a ship, together with all builders in the world that have been captured by these Children of Hargon. Pretty soon though the ship is wrecked and you wash up on the Isle of Awakening together with a person named Malroth, who has no memory of his past. Familiar name eh? This Malroth seems to be different though, as he aids you in improving your building powers.
That is just the beginning. Pretty soon you set sail to the first Story Island, where you are tasked to re-build Furrowfield Farm in a hostile environment of stinking poisonous blocks. But don’t be disheartened: your character is an amiable person, and help is to be found in various places on the island.
The tutorial in the game is part of the storyline; the game eases you into the actions you should already know from the first game. This game is much bigger though then the first, so be prepared to have new elements added way into your gameplay even when you are many hours in. If you haven’t been able to catch it all, pushing the +button allows you to access the ‘ tips and tricks’ where you can read everything again.
Story Islands and Explorers Shores
The storyline to this game is far longer, and an epilogue is even upcoming via DLC. There are 4 main Story Islands to sort out, and you can return to them any time after you complete their story. On top of that, there are 2 other Story Islands which are not available on the map to return to after they are completed. At least, for now you can’t. This might change however in the upcoming epilogue.
Your crew of in-game friends slowly grows, and you can bring helpers along to each island you get to grips with. They show their appreciation for everything you do by giving you little hearts, called gratitude points. After each story island is completed a few other islands open up which you unlock with these gratitude points. These islands are Explorers Shores.
Once arriving on the Explorer Shore your character is given two checklists of resources to find. Once each item on the list is found you receive an infinite supply of a particular item, like grass fibre or stone. (Mind you, not of all items as I thought at first.) Think of it as a scavenger hunt, from which you can bring back materials and monsters.
Help is on the way
This way of getting unlimited supply of certain items is very welcome. It means you don’t always have to be on the lookout for resources. What’s even nicer is that the NPC’s in this game take over a lot of the work. Especially compared to the first title, they have really upped what tasks the NPC’s will carry out on the islands. After you have indicated where the fields should be and what crop is to be sown, they do the farming for you. Give them a kitchen with crops in a chest, and they will cook food. They will even change their clothes if you leave some sets of them in their wardrobe.
Plus, they help with constructing the Blueprints. The bigger Blueprints even come with a chest of needed materials, like your first big one, the Deitree. All of this effectively cuts back on the time spent foraging for items needs to move on. Aside from that, it makes the NPC’s feel more real, as if you really are working in a team.
If you are far enough into the story, you can tame animals to bring back to the Isle of Awakening. Your first will be a chicken, helpful with laying eggs to make more dishes. Soon more farm animals will follow along with a dog and a cat. They will produce milk, meat, wool etc, if they don’t get killed accidentally by the local wildlife. No fun to see your cow roasted by the fire breathing Chimeria!
Aside from the farm animals there is also a wide variety of monsters with extra abilities. For instance, Chimeria will cook food in the kitchen, Hunter Mech will till and looks after your crop fields. A really brilliant addition to the series as watching the monsters you have fought and defeated hard at work looking after your fields is a lot of fun.
A game for completionists
Are you someone who wants to squeeze every ounce of fun out of your games? Then DQB2 is your game: The Builderpedia in the game shows more then a thousand items to collect. Fishing is added to the game, and is a fun and enjoyable experience. After you have caught your fish you can for instance build them a lovely aquarium to swim around in (this is part of the DLC at launch).
At times it’s difficult to choose what to do next. DQB2 is much bigger then DQB1 and they’ve added a lot of new stuff. Like tools to change the size of building blocks, and the letterbox to stay in touch with NPC’s that have stayed on islands you’ve already finished.
Sure, you can move on to further the story, but it’s so tempting to stay on a while on the Isle of Awakening to make this rocky expanse into a garden of Eden for the NPC’s living there!
Controls and Camera
The controls work well, as I expect from an AAA title. A couple of things gave me a slight headache at first. There’s the bottomless pot. It took me quite some time to get the hang of it. Very annoying too, as you have to swap the muddy water for clear water and doing it wrong can set you back. It’s fiddly, but you will get used to it.
The other annoyance is the camera. It tends to zoom into my character often, like when entering a cave or such. I got used to pressing down on the R-stick to go to first perspective. Then press the R-stick again for third person perspective and the zoom has reset. I do hope we will get an update to better this in future though.
Multiplayer and online experience
The NoticeBoard that you get right from the first let’s you see what other people have created. You can also enter the photo competitions that are held weekly for best builds etc. There’s an in-game photo capture. Here your character can pose, change their expression or pick a gesture from the list to perform. All to make a nice memory.
You can also visit other people’s builds via the NoticeBoard and see what they have created, if you’re far enough through the storyline you receive a Magic Pencil which lets you create blueprints of builds you like on someone’s island. Return to your island and lay down the blueprint on the ground, supply and fill a chest full of all the items needed to build it and sit back and watch the NPC’s do all the hard building work.
You can also play together with up to 4 friends in the game. Once you have finished the first story island you get a Teleportal on the Island of Awakening. Invite 3 friends into your game and build or fight together, but only on the Island of Awakening or the Explorers Shores.
The game continuously connects to the internet, making it a drain on your battery. But you can go to settings and change this, playing without the internet. If you do this, the game prompts you to go online if you need it.
Hours upon hours of wonderful gameplay
The storyline is very good and enjoyable. The team work and banter between the characters humorous to watch. If you aren’t into a lot of text in a game, you might not like it. But for me it makes the game so much more enjoyable. The overall humour in the game is fantastic and the way the NPC are characterised makes them all the more adorable. In the first game some of your companions were nicely fleshed out too, but DQB2 takes it a bit further. You work together, fight together, experience highs and lows together. Much like you know all your animal neighbours in an Animal Crossing game, you’ll have your preferences in this game too.
I’m writing this review together with ChamZen who has sunk some 230 hours in the game by now. And it still keeps her entertained: even if you have finished the storyline there is a ton of stuff to do. Fill up your Builderpedia and visit other people’s islands for inspiration on your own Buildertopia.
For Buildertopia you can chose one of 3 sizes of island…small, medium and large. The terrain is based on which ever of the 9 Explorer Islands terrain you chose. You can then move over any of the 60 NPC’s you have living on your Land of Awakening and live the happy life together.
Conclusion: excellent game, for simulation lovers too
Dragon Quest Builders 2 has great graphics and music. It gives you many hours of gameplay. As described, the camera can be a bit fiddly. There is also a bit of slow down on the frame rate once you have built up the Isle of Awakening after finishing the story. Which I think that’s to be expected as there is a lot going on for the game to handle….all those NPC’s, Animals and monsters scurrying around doing their jobs is bound to be a lot to process at once.
As described, there’s a lot of text in the game. There are moments in the game, when something epic is afoot and the game takes a long time to resume with the dialogue. Especially when you play with the sound muted, I often wondered why the game stopped.
Overall, these are slight annoyances that don’t deduct anything from the brilliance of the game. I would even go as far as to say that you don’t have to be an RPG fan to play it. If you like sim games of the sort of Animal Crossing or farming games, you can get a lot of enjoyment and creativity out of Dragon Quest Builders 2. Sure, there are enemies to fight. But with Malroth and the other NPC’s helping it’s a piece of cake.
As ChamZen described it: “I can’t give enough thumbs to this game”. As our highest rating is Two Thumbs Up, that’s exactly what we are giving Dragon Quest Builders 2!
I’ve barely played the demo but I was wondering, is the text scalable? My old eyes were having trouble with that tiny text.
I know what you mean! It’s just that you can double click the Switch’s home button to enlarge a screen. But it’s not like you can have larger text set up.
I totally played the game and it was fun! I only played the full game. Not the demo,
If you agree. I will give you some cookies!
Of course we agree, two thumbs up!