By Operation Rainfall Contributor / July 1st, 2019
For this article, Jenae R. and Quentin H. went hands-on with two different demos of DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2: Jenae R. (a series veteran) played the PlayStation 4 downloadable demo released June 27, 2019 and Quentin H. (new to the franchise) played the PlayStation 4 E3 2019 demo. This article contains thoughts from both people writing about both demos.
DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS is a spin-off series, where each game is a new `what if this happened instead’ scenario, which is connected to the mainline DRAGON QUEST games. The first DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS title took place at the end of DRAGON QUEST 1. Instead of defeating the Dragonlord, the hero agreed to team up with him and as a result, the Dragonlord caused havoc and brought the world to ruin. This new entry, DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2, takes place after the end of the second mainline game. In an alternate turn of events, instead of being defeated completely, the Children of Hargon survive and look to bring destruction back to the world. One of their goals is to get rid of any builders who stand in their way. In both games, you take on the role of a builder and work towards restoring the world and defeating evil.
After playing the original for the first time last year, I absolutely fell in love with DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS. It was full of charm and very addicting to play. By the time I beat it, I knew a second entry was being developed and I could not wait. Now with the English demo of DQB2 having just been released, I finally got a taste of what the game will be like on PS4. There are a lot of new additions, but you only get to see a smidgen in the demo. First of all, you’re given a partner to help you with fighting monsters and gathering materials. That partner, Malroth, you find on a deserted island (called the Isle of Awakening) where you’ve washed up, after the Children of Hargon’s ship you were on sinks. Anytime you take a slash at an enemy or break something for materials, Malroth will do the same. That’s the first big change, getting more NPC help. You didn’t actually get much help at all in DQB1.
The second big change is how the game is overall set-up. In DQB1 the chapters were separated from each other. Each one was in its own area. You’d fulfill quests, build up a base throughout the chapter and eventually fight an end of chapter boss. Afterwards, you’d leave everything behind and teleport to the next area with almost nothing on you. From what I’ve seen so far in the demo, it looks like DQB2 has one home base area. Throughout the story you’ll take a boat to various islands and bring stuff back to the starting island for the purpose of building it up. This is exactly what I wanted in the sequel. I think it’ll be much more fun to slowly build up one grand area, rather than a bunch of smaller bases. Yes, you could do that in Terra Incognita in DQB1, but I didn’t find it as fun without anymore story or quests to go with.
Aside from those two main changes, there a lot of other smaller, but very welcome additions. Some of those additions are the ability to swim in the ocean, a new stamina meter for certain actions such as swimming underwater, online multiplayer and other social features, and even equipment that doesn’t break. There are far too many updates for me to mention all of them. But it’s a whole lot of new stuff not found in the first game. I’m extremely hyped for DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2. Though before I pass things off to Quentin (so he can tell you what he thought as a newcomer who played a special demo at E3), I have to mention the one major issue I ran into. Once the ship you’re on sinks and you find yourself stranded on a deserted island, it’s possible to screw around too much purely through exploration and completely skip over prompting the story to continue. I went swimming around in the ocean and eventually found myself on the complete other side of the island. Being a little lost, I wandered around aimlessly until finding some NPCs. It turns out, Malroth was standing around seemingly frozen and some other NPCs were washed up on shore. Talking to the apparently dead NPCs made their bodies vanish with the appropriate commentary notes you’re supposed to see. But the girl who wakes up later and was currently passed out, only gave you a `…..’ response. Talking to Malroth did absolutely nothing. Fortunately, I saved right as I woke up on the island and simply restarted the game so I could properly activate the story. Nonetheless, that’s a serious flaw that needs to be fixed.
In the end, despite the one glaring issue DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 is equally as exciting as the first title. The demo was about an hour or so depending on if you take your time and read everything the characters say. I went through the basic tutorial on the Children of Hargon’s ship and then did a few basic quests for Lulu and Malroth on the Isle of Awakening. The demo story cuts off when a guy with a boat comes to take you to a farming island. But you can get even more playtime out of the demo if you choose to explore or build anything. To be honest, the wait to play the full thing has been agonizing. After finishing the demo I immediately secured myself a digital deluxe pre-order and now I anxiously await July 12th. Keep reading though to find out what someone brand new to the series thinks of it so far.
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