Have you ever just sat mindlessly playing a game with little to no care for the passage of time, only to find that it’s been several hours and your stomach groans for nourishment and your undergarments count the days until they are set free from the viscera which has attached them to your body? Yeah, me too thanks to Dragon Quest Builders 2.
Thanks to the beautiful visuals and fully destructible/reconstructible world, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is one of the most immersive and engrossing games I have played in recent memory. I was unfortunate enough to miss out on playing the full version of the previous entry to the series, only tasting what was to offer in the form of the demo.
Now despite being, very heavily, a survival game in the same vein of existence to Minecraft and RUST, there is actually a very prominent story. Thanks to being a part of a very well recognized franchise and having narrative juggernaut Square Enix Co. involved with the development.
You are a Builder, and if I have to explain that to you, the only answer you will receive from this here sarcastic British chap is an eyebrow raise and subpar witty retort. You have been taken captive by the Children of Harkon (worshippers of the Lord of Destruction) where their plans for you aren’t met before a storm completely takes a big steamy dump on their plans, therefore leaving yourself and two other survivors stranded on a deserted island.
From here you learn the wider mechanics of the game whilst simultaneously pulling the mystery of the island out of the dark. I won’t spoil the big surprise here but what it is will make you want to progress. Shortly after this revelation, you are soon once again subject to those pesky followers of the Lord of Destruction rear their comically villainous heads.
This time you see the aftermath of what it is they pursue, and it is unsurprisingly (drum roooooolllll) DESTRUCTION! In other words, the polar opposite of everything you do as a Builder (and what the title is literally about). You learn of their oppression and systematic removal of your kinsmen. Your first task is to try and sway the poor and unfortunate humans these dastardly denizens of destruction have brainwashed back to the ways of creation.
In terms of gameplay, Dragon Quest Builders 2 may not quite scream innovation but it does radiate familiarity. My first impressions were not too dissimilar to exhaling a quick ‘oh, okay’.
Crafting in Dragon Quest Builders 2 is as basic, as basic comes. All you really need to do to craft something is to gather the required materials and drag your impossibly deep pockets over towards the nearest workbench (assuming you haven’t already got one premade in your, I can’t stress this enough, dimension altering pant pits) and then select the desired construction. Not to say this is a bad thing though as I do find it quite handy to be able to just select a chair to whip up as opposed to meticulously fondling with a 3×3 grid and a mashup of materials. You all know what I mean!
Despite the simplicity of the crafting, it was a blast. This is because there is more than just a few blocks and standard furniture, you could create several decorative items so as to spruce up the buildings you had erected. Not only does this make for some pretty and unique abodes, it altered the actual functionality of the room and which of your settlers would occupy them based on their roles in your community.
As for the combat, I can’t say again that I was taken aback with sheer awe as you are subject to just a one-button style which is fairly common with RPG’s using real-time combat. Thankfully through perseverance, you do unlock a variety of moves to flare up your fuckery of someone else’s day.
For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the franchise, you will notice that Dragon Quest Builders 2 looks an awful lot like a certain high-octane, filler-filled, golden-haired anime. That is because the artwork is done in the style of Akira Toriyama, as he was the original artist back in the OG days.
Toriyama’s style translates well to video games I have noticed over the years of playing DragonBall tie in games since I was an angsty teen. Dragon Quest Builders 2 is unsurprisingly jaw-dropping (for me at least) and is gorgeously high contrast making for a sickly sweet vibrant world for picking apart and creating in my own Neutral Evil visage.
If there is one thing I am not comfortable with when using the Nintendo Switch, it’s the actual controller layout. This isn’t me saying that the set up is a pile of wank, but in fact, I am more used to a different console, therefore, confusing which button is actually which. That being said Dragon Quest Builders 2 is wonderfully easy to play (even for my defective hands).
Navigation of the User Interface should never be a difficult task and give you all necessary information for the immediate gameplay. Like many survival games, you are blessed with a hot bar with a selection of materials and items for quick and easy use and Dragon Quest Builders 2 gives you quite the generous amount of slots.
Not only that but you also get a handy on-screen map! This means that this is one game in the genre where you won’t have to retrace multiple hours of expeditions to make your way home. You can instead either point yourself in the right direction and hoof it or take the lazy man’s method and fast travel to your base or one of several unlockable locations.
I have a strange relationship with the Survival Genre of games. If I enjoy one, I can’t stop, I pour countless hours in and fall in love with what I create. So when it comes to replayability I grow disheartened. What I love about Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the constant surprise with the next set of unlockables, I fall head over heels with the idea of trying out and placing as many new items to decorate my base with and finding my favorite.
This means that the later game items I preferred would be quite the stretch away when starting a new game. I wasn’t a particular fan of this idea as not only had I poured an ungodly amount of hours into my playthrough, but I had managed to create a few pretty decorations which I was more than just proud of.
Overall there is nothing about Dragon Quest Builders 2 that stopped me coming back. There are amazing visuals to parallel the immeasurable creativity and a story to convince you to push onwards to further not only the narrative but also your abilities. This is definitely a must-have title on the Nintendo Switch as you can dedicate hours at a time to progression or just casually finish up a project thanks to the versatility of the consoles handheld capabilities.