“Dragon’s Crown” Review

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So I managed to finish it (just the main game, but I’m aware of all of the extra content, most of which is retread), so I’ll go ahead and get rolling on this thing.

Gameplay: 9/10 – The core gameplay is that of a beat-’em-up with RPG elements. It’s super refined and extremely well done. Controls are responsive, indicators help you keep track of the chaos, and there’s plenty of customization to be had with the skill system. The game offers a full six classes that all play differently. The challenge can be high, but is never unfair. My only real grip here is the story. The way it’s presented is great (presented through narration as if it were a D&D campaign), but there’s just not much here. It’s extremely barebones, the latter half is a giant fetch quest with almost nothing in between (really only one scene at the Castle and that’s optional), and it’s just not very exciting. The real core of the world building is in the dungeons themselves, where dungeons and bosses get some nice backstory. There are also plenty of interesting characters you run into as the game goes on in the dungeons. It does get a little tiring to hear the same things from these narratives and characters time after time, though. Little ever changes.

Graphics: 10/10 – Despite your stance on the art of Dragon’s Crown (I already wrote about this, so not going to do it again), it’s gorgeous. Super well-done, incredibly detailed, and it just plain looks amazing. Absolutely everything in this game uses that art. Characters, enemies, scenery, backgrounds… There are only a handful of noticeably 3D objects, and they all look completely 2D until you start moving. If I had to pick one thing to say about this game, it’s that it looks great. Of course, this is typical for Vanillaware games, and is the usual draw for them.

Sound: 8.5/10 – The sound design here is great. Voice acting provides multiple narrators for the plot, English or Japanese character voices, and genuine quality. Everyone and everything sounds good. Sound effects are great, too. Music scores really high here, with the soundtrack composed by my all-time favorite game composer, Hitoshi Sakimoto. I won’t say the sound design is perfect, though. It could have used a little more work in some areas. It does get a little repetitive, especially when a lot of the game revolves around dungeon grinding online. My main gripe was that the current objective would get repeated over and over every time you stepped into the main town. Finish a dungeon run? Here’s your objective. Step into a shop and back out? Here it is again. Head to the guild for some quests? Have your objective again. But they did address this in a patch, which is great. Now it only plays the first time you see it. The text is always there (which is good and it should be), but you don’t have to listen to it. I won’t take any points off for this.

Overall: 9.2/10 – Definitely a great game. It’s worth all of the praise it’s garnered recently. Not quite my favorite Vanillaware title, but it’s still really good. Worth everyone’s time to at least try it.

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