Dragon Quest Heroes 2 | Review

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and Blight Below was released in 2015, developed by Omega Force and published by Square Enix. The video game mixed the hack and slash combat of games such as Dynasty Warriors with the lore and characters from Square Enix’s Dragon Quest series, with the addition of an RPG element mixed into the fold. Two years on and Omega Force and Square Enix have joined forces again to bring the next instalment in the series, Dragon Quest Heroes 2.
The Dragon Quest series is a massive hit in Japan, which finds itself rivalling the likes of Final Fantasy and other series alike in the Land of the Rising Sun. It has amassed a huge following in its home country and whilst it has more a cult following here in Australia, the Dragon Quest series returns to our shores with an entertaining package and a worthy sequel to the 2015 original.

Dragon Quest Heroes 2 begins with the story of peace that has lasted for a 1000 years among the lands of the Seven Kingdoms, but suddenly as though enchanted by an ancient prophecy, the kingdoms begin to wage war amongst one and another, and it is up to our Heroes to band together to restore peace. Even though this game is a sequel and takes characters from the Dragon Quest series, one doesn’t need any knowledge or context from the original game or the series to understand or follow this original story.
The game sees you initially control one of two selectable characters (both male and female) who are cousins, and the tutorial sequences introduces you the basics of combat and gameplay. However, after the initial battle and cut scenes, the game opens up into traveling the large world and the RPG element kicks in. The game can be split into a few different styles of gameplay, the first of which is the Dynasty Warrior influenced battles which take place in a fixed area. This generally sees you hack your way through several waves of minion warriors before a large boss fight with one or more larger characters. It usually ends with you ducking and dodging the enemy attacks before timing your own in return.
The other form of gameplay sees you travelling through the Seven Kingdoms, with the whole world available to explore and travel at your leisure. There is the opportunity to unlock fast travel as you progress through the land and as you travel between battles which form a large part of the story, these large open areas are there to be explored, full of enemies that can be fought for XP, as well as side quests which allow you to pursue bonus tasks of collecting items or fighting specific enemies.
Early on in the campaign, most battles can be won through button mashing and dodging enemy attacks, and whilst fun at the time, there is no real threat or feeling that you are up against it, even when bigger monsters and enemies spawn into the game. However, as you progress through the game the RPG element begins to take over and forces you to pay more attention to your party, and which characters you select to join you in your travels. Having a healer and a ranged fighter is a tip, as well as constantly upgrading equipment, and paying close attention to mission objectives. The more difficult battles usually came in the form of escort missions, which involve protecting a King or other important NPC, as you traverse a massive multi stage conflict. The gameplay does at times move away from the hack and slash combat to bring different types of gameplay through puzzles, platforming, and stealth sequences, but these are very brief and return to the main button mashing very quickly.
In terms of graphics Dragon Quest Heroes 2 is a beautiful game. The scenery whilst not photo realistic, the detail and care given to colour, textures, effects and lighting are quite impressive. As you spend your time slashing and hacking your way through hordes of enemies it all comes together rather nicely on the screen.
Overall Dragon Quest Heroes 2 is solid effort from Omega Force and Square Enix, which fans of the series shouldn’t be disappointed with. It maintains the items that worked with the original title but with the addition of character customisation and upgrading it expands upon its RPG elements. The nature of the gameplay (hack and slash) whilst can get repetitive doesn’t distract from a solid story. The game does offer multiplayer to play online and join forces to share your adventures and battles with friends, but a local co-op is sadly lacking. Dragon Quest Heroes 2 is a great sequel to the series and nor should it be the last.
Initial release date: 22 February 2011
Platform: PS4 (April 28 2017), PS Vita, PC (April 25 2017), Nintendo Switch (March 3 2017)
Genre: Action Role Playing, Hack and Slash
Developers: Omega Force
Publishers: Square Enix

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