Dragon Quest Heroes 2 is a pretty enjoyable ride, well mostly. When the first one came out in 2015, it proved it was a great blending of the RPG and hack and slash genres. However, it was lacking in the story department. Dragon Quest Heroes 2, makes up for the first ones lack of story, and while predictable, offers a well rounded story with enjoyable characters.
The game follows a set of twins thrust into a feud between two, once peaceful, kingdoms. They are forced to choose the kingdom that they were born and raised in or the one that welcomed them with open arms and treated them like one of their own. As the adventure continues they meet Dragon Quest OGs and unravel a plot to bring all the 7 Kingdoms to war in an effort to fulfill some ancient prophecy.
This was a pleasant upgrade from the former’s “Oh shit, all the monsters want to eat us!” storyline. While some times predictable, the story flows nicely and kept me wanting to know how things played out. The English voice acting does a great job of adding humour and life to crucial dialogue while also making the more ridiculous parts enjoyable. Even though the focus of this game surrounds the twins and their quest, getting able to meet classic Dragon Quest characters and have them join the party at times is a great trip down memory lane.
Gameplay has also been polished. Instead of the redundant hub to mission to hub travel in the first one, this game has a some-what open world to it. Yes you’re still going from hub (or town/city) to “mission” and back, BUT everything flows together. It felt natural being in one town and the game saying “venture through this area to get to the next city”, you can’t really have a problem with that when it feels like that’s the next logical step to completing the game.
You can fast travel between areas as well now, too. The entire lay out of the game felt more like an RPG than a hack n’ slash which I greatly appreciated. Not to mention there is a noticeable passion that went into creating this game. From the characters, to enemies, to the sprawling environments, everything just looks amazing. Going along with these RPG elements is the variety of missions to go on as well. There is the basic “warrior” style missions which involve cutting your way through hordes of enemies, but there is more of a variety woven into those as well.
When traversing the world you can fight as many enemies as you’d like or run past them. You can get involved with some stealth missions, protect innocent bystanders from encroaching fiends, raid enemy territories, explore maze-like dungeons and of course fight some exciting bosses. Unique obstacles within these missions feel like a love letter to the RPG’s of old; I couldn’t help but smile as I tried to dodge flaming hot floor tiles, or traverse a poisonous swamp.
While these are all good and well, there is a monotony to the portions that aren’t battle focused. Some fluff parts of the game forced me to interact with stale NPC’s countless times before I was led to the fighting portion. Just gimme a sword and look out man!
The battles won’t feel like anything new for those fans that are familiar with any Dynasty Warriors game. You characters come with attacks that are focused on clearing hefty amounts of enemies at a time, everything feels ridiculously powerful against common foes and sending them flying across the field, luckily, never got old. Granted nothing is new or flashy when it comes to this part, but character progression felt like it made sense enough to where it wasn’t really anything that hindered my progress.
The skill tress are all pretty straight forward and are familiar to anyone who has ever spent a few hours in an RPG. You earn experience and you allocate points towards health, magic, strength, endurance and blah blah blah. Now again, this wasn’t anything bad, it just wasn’t anything to write home about either. Granted, I would take a familiar skill tree over an over-complicated, confusing mess any day.
Monster medals have made their way back into the sequel as well. While some can be used to cause status effects or just add an additional punch to your combo, the ones worth hanging on to are the ones that let you transform into the creature. Punching bosses in the face as a towering giant was more than gratifying and these medals are a great way to turn the tides of any encounter.
Lastly, the co-op multiplayer is way better in this one. You can host up to 3 other players and they can tag along in your story quests or dungeons and collect loot for themselves, while also helping you slash through waves of monsters. I would take a conscious player over an NPC ally any day of the week.
While the overall 35-40 hour story is enjoyable, the battles can get somewhat tiresome near the end. You level up pretty quick in the game though, so by the end I found myself just running through or around the cluttered battlefield and only fighting what I needed to or felt like.