Dragon Quest is a famous Japanese Role Playing Game franchise that many hold with high regards. It more or less is the ‘father’ of JRPG’s in many respects and the series today is huge in Japan. Recently, the series was lacking a western presence and that only started getting rectified with the releases of 2015’s Dragon Quest Heroes on PS4 and 2016’s Dragon Quest VII for the Nintendo 3DS.
Dragon Quest is getting another adventure this Fall with October seeing the western release of Dragon Quest Builders for the PS4 and PS Vita. To give players a taste of the game, Square Enix released a expansive demo of the games first chapter across both platforms.
After spending over an hour with the demo, I will be commenting my experience with the game on PlayStation Vita.
Considering this is a demo, we don’t get that much story but its impressive how much story is in this slice of the game. Our character wakes up (male or female) in a dark location with a Goddess telling the player to get out and using the ability of building to restore the world. Currently the world is in shambles, with humans on just scraping by.
The writing here is very charming, with a lot of jokes being told and the towns member that gets into your town being quite friendly. It seems that the story will be witty and light hearted despite the situation the world is in, which makes sense considering how gameplay-focused this title is.
Gameplay and Design
Dragon Quest Builders is a hybrid of the popular title Minecraft and the iconic Dragon Quest series. This means your character can do quite a lot compared to the normal DQ hero (you can jump, attack with melee attacks in real-time, and use tools you built/collected). Considering the size of the games world, having an expanded move-set is needed.
Building is the name of the game and after bashing a few objects with your melee weapon, you can build various things like torch’s, beds, better weapons and even healing items. The goal of the demo is to build and expand you little town with basic living conditions (building a house, a crafting station, ect). You get the supplies needed for building those specific things from exploring the demo map.
Crafting itself is simple and streamlined, with the find out what materials you need for crafting being very simple to figure out and organizing your items being very simple too once you build your first chest. You even have the ability to press Square once you interact with a chest, sorting out your row of items with little issue.
Other systems in play include a leveling system for your base (which gets higher the more you build it up), a health/hunger system and deterioration system for your gear items (the more you use them, the faster they fall apart).
One thing that might annoy some is the button placement. You press X to bring up the main menu, Square for using objects, Circle for jumping and Triangle to use your melee weapon. With no option to re-map the controls, you have to get used to this the more you play. I had no issue with this but I saw reports of people having issue with this control set up, so felt this was worth bringing up.
I honestly just enjoyed walking around smashing things with my weapon, jumping around and taking in everything. I spent a long time just relaxing to the games world and exploring, and that was a great feeling. I could easily imagine getting lost for hours playing Builders when the full game releases.
The visuals for Builders is quite impressive on the Vita, more so considering how the world starts out randomly generated. Everything has a nice sense of texture despite the blocky look and the character designs are in the iconic Dragon Quest style. It means everything matches remarkably well and nothing feels out of place.
Musically the game is great too. The sound effects are great with impact and depth all the while the musical score itself is really well done .
The game also runs very well on the Vita, with the frame rate being consistent with little slowdown. Never felt controller lag and every button press worked with little issue.
This demo is a great gesture from Square Enix to give gamers a chance to experience this new take on Dragon Quest. The building mechanic are polished, the core gameplay systems are fun and the presentation is a great mix of Minecraft & Dragon Quest. I highly recommend you give this demo a shot and will be providing links to both the PS4 and PS Vita versions below.
PlayStation 4 Link – North America
PlayStation Vita Link – North America