Dragon Quest Builders (PS4) Review
Dragon Quest Builders is published by Square Enix and was released in North America October 11, 2016, for Playstation 4, Playstation 3, and Vita. For those who don’t know what this game is exactly, imagine if Dragon Quest and Minecraft got fused together. You still get a story with beloved characters from the Dragon Quest franchise but with a slight Minecraft twist. I had already previously tried out this game at PAX West 2016 in a short demo. For first impressions of the game, check out the article here.
The game begins with the player in Alefgard but an alternate ending of the original Dragon Quest game, in which the hero took the Dragonlord’s deal for each to rule half of the world. Unfortunately, did not stay that way for long as the Dragonlord destroyed the hero and took full control of the world. Fast forward to the future where monsters have taken over across the land and people have lost the ability to build. This is where the game begins your character wakes up to the voice of the goddess. She gives you a summary of the world thus far and informs you that though you’re not a hero, but rather, you are meant to rebuild the world and bring the light to all. The Goddess teaches you how to build before releasing you into the world. After another short tutorial, villagers will move in and you’ll unlock missions for upgrading the town or building new items. This is where it varies slightly from Minecraft: you can either build your town according to what the villagers want or you can ignore them and just meet the requirements so you can continue the story. You still have to build and keep your character fed, deal with monsters at night but if you do level your town up to level 5 and finish the main missions you will battle a boss. Once you defeat that boss you will be teleported to another part of the world to begin your quest all over again. Completing the chapter will then unlock new opportunities that have more challenging requirements, as well as additional side quests and bonuses for free play.
I’ve never been one for a sandbox, builder type games but Dragon Quest Builders had just enough of that RPG element mixed in to keep me motivated. Overall this game seems to be targeted towards kids or parents that grew up with Dragon Quest who want to introduce their kids to the franchise. I initially picked up this game thinking that it was just cute and interesting but shortly into the game, there were quite a few dialogues that I could tell was aimed at the adult audience. I definitely let out an audible chuckle when the NPC said “You want to take a look at my tool? We’ve only just met!” Moreover, there was plenty of both plotline and story to keep me interested and more importantly, gave me a reason to collect and build. Unlike other sandbox games, Dragon Quest Builders is story driven and has a good mix of RPG elements and sandbox elements to captivate fans of both. Don’t think of this just as a building game, though. As the story progresses, there are monster battles similar to those in Terraria. The damage from these monster battles aren’t severe and can be easily taken care of again after.
I don’t have too many complaints nor encountered any major issues when playing the game though some smaller issues did crop up. One small issue that I had was when I was building a wall; the guidelines would disappear if I were to open a menu or if an enemy starts attacking me. This is not a big deal since you can just change building items in hand to get the guidelines back but still a bit annoying. In further chapters you get to craft roof tiles and you see other buildings with roofs made by dirt blocks but once you go inside you are left with a view of the roof, so the camera doesn’t zoom in or the roof becomes transparent so you are left to deal with that view till you zoom in manually. This really did bother me due to some instances I wanted to go through a building with a roof and the camera angle did not cooperate. Besides this, the game was enjoyable and fun to play. Plus once you find out that there are some challenges that must meet for those who want an extra challenge you want to replay it and see if you can do the challenges. I recommend this game for parents who grew up with Dragon Quest and whose kids are into Minecraft both parents and kids will enjoy this game.
Review copy courtesy of Square Enix