E3 2013: Hands-On: Dragon Fantasy Book II

Friday, June 14th, 2013

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I may not have a Vita (as established elsewhere, as well as in earlier impressions), but that didn’t stop me from eyeballing Dragon Fantasy Book II when I passed it on the show floor. I’ve read our review of the first game on the site, so I knew it would immediately capture my interest. For those of you not already in the know: Dragon Fantasy is a franchise inspired by our favorite 16bit RPGs, with an extra dose of humor and charm injected into the well-mixed formula.

At a glance, Dragon Fantasy Book II felt like any other retro-inspired RPG romp. I began controlling my character, a man named Ogden, and wandering around a forest. I encountered several foes and familiarized myself with its simple (yet intuitive) battle system. Foes approach you directly, and combat is initiated almost exactly like Chrono Trigger’s would be. I fought “Mrs. Rock Monster” who… “cried into her chardonnay” when attacking me… and that’s when I knew I was playing something special. This game doesn’t take itself very seriously, and that’s why I enjoyed it so much. Critical hits are labeled as MANLY!, there’s random bits of humorous text when monsters attack to always keep you giggling.

Dragon Fantasy Book II

I got into it. It’s pretty much like playing Chrono Trigger where the Dream Team decided, “Let’s make this a bit of a comedy”. But at the same time, I get the feeling the story has some deeper overtones to it. The areas I was traveling in seemed random at first. I went from a forest, to a volcano, to somewhere else entirely. Ogden seemed to recall these places, all while some unseen force said “We need to talk”. Seems like Ogden has a sense of purpose, despite the light-heartedness of various battle scenarios.

I eventually found my way to the boss of the realm, a Dream Dragon. I was all in! I fought valiantly… and then the game crashed on me. It was extremely unfortunate — a hazard of playing a very early build with memory leaks, according to Muteki Corp (who I spoke to, and who were extremely nice). So that’s unfortunately where my impressions end.

But really, you guys — whether it crashed on me, or whether I made my way to the very end — Dragon Fantasy: Book II maintains the greatness established by the game that came before it, and makes me super excited for those who get to experience the next “chapter”, so to speak. Expect great things.