Minecraft never was a game for me, but if you add to it something I like and enjoy like Dragon Quest world and a pinch of other sweetness – I’m in! This is where Dragon Quest Builders come to, a game similar to Minecraft but located in the world of Dragon Quest.
Here you will find yourself again and check your skills as a builder who got one task – rebuilding the world after destruction. Of course, this isn’t everything because your hands will get dirty. I mean a really dirty by building, destroying, doing tasks, helping, crafting, farming etc.
Dragon Quest Builders is almost three years old. Originally released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in 2016 and later in 2018 on Nintendo Switch. After all of this time and a great success of Dragon Quest Builders, Square Enix decides to give us a sequel – but this sequel is full of many new elements that fulfill insufficiency from the first part.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 got his release in Japan on 20th December 2018. Rest of the world have to wait till 12th July 2019. As you can see, we had to wait for about seven months. But, I’ve got to say – it was worthy! Don’t ask me, why. Just take your time and enjoy my review, then decide for yourself!
If you’re familiar with Dragon Quest series, you may easily predict some events and find that story takes time after events of Dragon Quest II.
Everything centers you around Children of Hargon a group who seek revenge for the defeat of Hargon and Malroth who has been defeated at the hands of the despicable spawn of Erdrick. As it happens in such stories, all who were builders had to be eliminated and creating new things was forbidden under a great punishment.
Your journey begins on a ship full of monsters. You’re one of few builders captured by Children of Hargon. This is a place where you learn how to control your character, begin with simple tasks, earn your builder gloves, listen to stories told by monsters. Through a series of unfortunate events for monsters, the ship begins to leak. It’s your job to help fix it, but unfortunately, it does not work, the ship is sinking and you are being caught by the sea.
After some time, you are being washed up to an unknown island, which turns out to be “Isle of Awakening – The land of infinite opportunity”
On this place, you’re going to meet a new friend, named Malroth. It turns out that he lost his memory, he initially thought he came from the same place as you. Malroth is going to show you that some other people end up on this island, but only one survived, a girl named Lulu. Who has a stubborn character and many demands.
Lulu is the first one who’s going to give you the first proper mission. Somehow you have to learn new stuff and find a new goal, right?
So your adventure will eventually begin. Two new friends, a large island and a strange ghostlike creature on the horizon. This creature turns out to be a “Hairy Hermit” who ask the builder to repair his temple, at the end rewards you with a hammer, a new tool that helps you smash hard blocks, and offers you the whole island to own. A tempting offer, right? Why not take it and convert it into your own dreamland.
Like every too good offer, this one has a catch too. The whole island is covered in sand, rocks, and a small amount of green elements. In order to start your new life on your own island, you have to put a lot of effort into gaining new skills, materials, seeds and more.
But no worries, “Hairy Hermit” introduces you to the “Captain Brownbeard”, who accidentally gets lost on his way, but he is ready to help you and offers you a trip to the nearby islands.
First one will be “Furrowfield – The land of verdant vegetation” – this place will not let you get bored for a long time.
“Furrowfield” supposed to be a nice place cover with a lot of greens. But because of Children of Hargon, this land has been convicted. You have to stand up to the task and help rebuild the farm, settle it, get seeds to start growing crops and get materials, that you can bring back to your own island. You’re going to meet a lot of new people here, learn a lot of new recipes and fight many battles. You’re going to learn how to use your basic knowledge about building, farming, defending and much more. Lucky you’re not alone and you have Malroth at your side.
Also, you’ll find more about past builders and people who inhabited nearby areas. But also learn about those who are too frightened to do anything but somehow they join you and help you achieve your common goal.
But what’s next? And that’s what I leave you to discover. Let’s move to other aspects of the game.
Missions, Building and Exploring
Compare to the first version, Dragon Quest Builders 2 brings a lot of new things and many changes. The first game was divided by chapters, you had to finish each one before you moved to the next one. When you gathered the best gear and stuff in the previous chapter, you couldn’t move it to another, you had to start from scratch. That was very painful because looked like you’re starting again and again from zero. Now you can gather everything and progress with it to the next island. Just remember to use a sack provided by a ship captain.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 world is divided into islands. Each island has a unique style, people and creatures live there, have different issues. For example, your first destination “Furrowfield” was a place with a big farm, full of different vegetables, seeds, a place that blush with green grass and full of big trees. But it went under control Childer of Hargon.
Furrowfield and its own population will task you with many jobs. Searching for seeds, preparing crops and farming. This is is like Harvest Moon – maybe this is why I enjoy it.
Considering fact that Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a sort of Minecraft with RPG elements, crafting, farming this is an enjoyable feature. But you have to remember to defend your farm and crops from monsters. Lucky new villagers who decide to join you can fight too. You can equip them with some weapons so they can defend their own place. If you need their help with farming, no worries just leave them some seeds and decide what should grow on a specific field.
Growing tomatoes, sugar cane, cabbage or wheat is just beginning. You have to build food storage, rooms for your new friends or even a full house. After fulfilling small tasks from villagers, you’ll be rewarded with some gratitude points. A little colorful hearts, you need them if you want your new place to level up so you can learn new recipes.
Did you know you can pet a dog in DQB2!
This funny doggy will be your new friend in Furrowfield, and will help you find new seeds or located other interesting items around you. Remember to give him a good name.
Ok, so villagers can plant new seeds, how? Just make sure this will be in a nearby chest and you set what should grow in a specific field [you can do that for each scarecrow]. But this isn’t everything, you can even place some blueprint, gather materials in the nearby chest and leave it to your villagers. Amazing, right?
What’s about durability? Can you break your tool or weapon? No, tools and weapons are no longer breakable.
You’re not alone on your journey of exploring, Malroth is always with you, giving helpful hand or maybe fighting skill, because he can not build, but can help you defend yourself and fight monsters. Both of you will be getting experience points and level up. Plus one of your other tasks is inventing new recipes to build better weapons for both of you.
Remember that your character needs food, he can easily get tired. Who wouldn’t? Breaking, building, fulfilling requests, you can starve easily.
So you have to eat, if you want to keep going, this is like in real life. You need food to survive, he needs food to work. Lucky you have a big bag so you can carry a lot of stuff with you.
There is much more than that and I could write a book about this. One you should remember is to visit every place you can. The world around you is full of extra side missions from monsters [only form these friendly ones] plus full of secrets to discover, like places with extra puzzles. Some of them are super easy to solve, others need some effort.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is an improved version. NPCs received more personality and they look like a living thing, and because of them, your tasks are less boring. Just talk to them all the time.
I forgot to mention one of the big changes in Dragon Quest Builders 2, and I’m talking about swimming. Yes, you can swim and you’re not going down. However why there is no proper swim animation that allows your character to swim like a swimmer. This looks like he’s jumping in the water, not swimming.
This new feature reminds me of Instagram. You can make yourself a cute selfie or nice image with your latest creation. You can save it and share. This is a really cool idea, simple and interesting. You can perform a quick photo shot at any time, doesn’t matter where you are. Have you spotted some cool landscape, why not? But do you need some of these filters? probably not.
After the release date, you will be able to upload your photos to a noticeboard, special item available in the game.
For the first time, you can collaborate with up to three friends and explore together. If you want to get access to multiplayer, you have to finish first island – all main quests, Than after you travel back to the “Isle of Awakening” you can play there with your friends and build something together.
One cool feature is “Magic pencil” that allows you to get blueprints based on your friend’s creations and then build them [unfortunately for the purpose of this review I couldn’t try this feature].
The game can offer you DLC, but only if you buy Season Pass.
What you will be given? Extra recipes, new quests and customization options like hairstyles and clothes.
Season pass offers you Hotto Stuff Pack, Aquarium Pack and Modernist Pack. All three offers everything you need to create something new and unique.
There is also one free LDC named: Knickknack Pack, which one offers three recipes to create a Pretty Paddle, Celebratory Soup, and Ornate Adornment. This supposed to help you get in a mood every New Year with some Hotto flair!
Design and performance
Dragon Quest Builders 2 offers you a very good quality of graphics experience. We are talking here about character design by Akira Toriyama – Japanese manga and game artist who is well known for very successful titles like Dragon Ball, Dr. Slump, Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger and Blue Dragon.
I have been reviewing version for Nintendo Switch which graphically looks very good, either in handheld mode or on a large screen.
I have to admit that Dragon Quest Builders 2 looks much better than its predecessor. However, I had a few moments where there was a noticeable FPS drop. Both in dock mode and in handheld mode. It’s hard to say what caused it because fps drop occurred at different times. There was never too many elements or people in my view, just basic stuff. And I must admit that the game seems well optimized, considering the fact this is only 1.5 GB of size.
Tested on Nintendo Switch [EU]
Review copy provided by Nintendo