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ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ (Alcohol Reference, Suggestive Themes, Mild Language, Mild Blood, Fantasy Violence, Comic Mischief)
Release Date: July 12, 2019
Single Player, 1-4 Player Online
Nintendo || Amazon
In a world where creation is the ultimate sin, one apprentice builder will assemble, invent, and build their way to a new world order. You play as this young builder, who wakes up without any memories on a pirate ship, only to get shipwrecked and wake up again on a desert island with two other survivors. Luckily, you have the general skills to keep yourself and your new friends alive. But you’ll have to venture to neighboring islands to learn new building techniques and gather supplies. And, of course, defeat the Children of Hargon, who believe that destruction is the only way to live!
Each island you visit has its own history, problems, and lore. And they do all add to the overarching plot of the game. Along the way, you’ll meet a zany cast of characters, some good, some bad. Some take a larger role in your progression, while others are just comedic relief. Be prepared for some very over-the-top and cheesy dialogue!
The general story seems really straight-forward at first: build in the face of destruction! But then there’s an endgame plot twist and I was like whoa! The tone takes a major shift, and if I hadn’t already been invested, that would have sucked me in.
I am in love with the way Dragon Quest Builders 2 looks. In fact, that is a big reason this game was even on my radar. The character design is simply adorable! I wanted to pinch everyone’s chibi cheeks, even my own! The monsters are equally cute, but not to the point where I felt bad taking them out. They were still clearly monsters, but cute monsters.
The landscape is blocky. But in a good way! Everything is made out of blocks! You could say that the environment provides the building blocks for your adventures. It just looks very unique and fun. This is not a game that takes itself too seriously. While the literal blocky graphics could have looked outdated and awkward, they looks modern and inviting. I was excited to explore.
It’s also extremely colorful. It’s not overly bright or garish or anything, but the colors really do pop. Each island has its own theme, complete with color palette. You might be somewhere with lots of greens and pinks or somewhere more white and grey. The monsters also come in an array of colors from black to hot pink!
Sound Effects + Music:
The music in Dragon Quest Builders 2 is underwhelming. I mostly tuned it out after the first couple of hours. The only time I really noticed it was when it changed to the battle music to alert me of encroaching monsters. For such an expansive game, there really isn’t enough music variety. The sound effects are similarly repetitive, but effective.
None of the dialogue (there’s a ton) is voiced. There’s very minimal voice acting, just laughs, grunts, sighs, noises of general discontent. And not much variety thereof. You’ll hear the same few sounds over and over and over. I guess that’s the theme for the sounds in the game: repetitive.
Gameplay + Controls:
I wasn’t sure about Dragon Quest Builders 2 at the very beginning. It’s obviously very quest driven, which is something I do enjoy. However, it started out extremely “do this, then come back to me.” Then “now, go do this and come back.” It was too regimented and didn’t let me get to know the game or characters. I was just checking things off a list. After the first couple of hours, it does open up and allows for some exploration. I’d still have a set list of tasks to complete, but I still had to go out and find the location and figure out where things were and how to get them. It opens up A LOT after the first few hours and is totally worth the slow beginning.
Obviously there is a large focus on quests and building, not so much on dragons. There are a handful of islands that you have to visit and help the residents repair. You have to manage your own needs (HP and Hunger) or else you won’t be able to do anything. And there is a lot to do: collecting resources, crafting resources and items, building rooms, placing items, fighting monsters, solving puzzles, even some stealth missions! There is always something you need to be doing in order to progress.
Once you finish the main story, you get free reign over the island! Build and destroy to your heart’s content! There’s endless possibilities to what you can make. I didn’t get to play the post-game much since I played during the free trial, but I did explore a bit and look forward to buying the game and doing more.
I played Dragon Quest Builders 2 when it was the 7-day trial for Nintendo Switch Online, so I kind of rushed through it, hoping to beat it before time ran out. I simply focused on the main story, but there are so many side quests and islands to explore! Plus a ton of space on your island to build stuff. I’d love to play again and really take the time to do all of the builder’s puzzles and tablet missions. Not to mention those chaotic Explorer’s Shores islands!
Even if I had taken more time to explore outside of the main campaign, this is definitely a game with replay value. The main quests will be identical, but you can complete them in different ways. Exactly what and where you build will be different. I made a lot of “mistakes” during my playthrough which I would do differently starting a new game. Not that everything needs to be perfect, but I’d love to see how different features change the game.
Clearly, I loved my time with Dragon Quest Builders 2! The story was a lot of fun, and I was surprised at how much I actually liked the building side of the game. I did get a bit overwhelmed and stuck at the prospect of building whatever the heck I wanted, but the optional missions do provide some guidance which I found reassuring. This game provides so many hours of exciting playtime, and I do hope to revisit it soon!
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