Review: Dragon Quest Heroes II reinvents the Dynasty Warriors style of gameplay
Dragon Quest Heroes II is a spin-off game to the main Dragon Quest RPG series. This new game brings in elements from various gaming genres and this formula works in its favour.
Dragon Quest Heroes II's developer Omega Force has worked on many hack and slash games namely the famous Dynasty Warriors series. This game is a little bit different because it blends the fun elements of the hack and slash genre and mixes it in with the diversity you see from an RPG game.
I've played many Dynasty Warriors games and its many clones over the years and sometimes the formula gets repetitive. Most of the games feel the same as you are in a rectangular sized map just hacking hundreds and hundreds of bad guys all of the time.
Thankfully, Dragon Quest Heroes II adds its own spin to this formula that breaks the monotony of the gameplay. This game feels more like an open-world action RPG such as the likes of Final Fantasy XV. The map sizes are much larger than in the actual Dynasty Warriors games as there's lots for you to explore in this game.
Anyway before I talk about the gameplay, the premise of this game is pretty simple. You assume the role of either Lazarel and Teresa and both of them are cousins. They are students that pretty much get caught up in a conflict between seven Kingdoms that suddenly end up in war with one another.
The story may seem simplistic at the start, but things get more interesting once Lazarel and Teresa meet up with characters from other Dragon Quest games. These characters have been transported to the same universe and they all have to find out why and how they got here in the first place. My favourite feature of this entire game is that it includes a huge roster of playable characters. Many of the past Dragon Quest characters are fully playable here and they all come with their own strengths and unique abilities. Even though only four members can join a party at anytime, you can change them or play as someone else on the fly.
Rotating different team members becomes crucial because certain situations will differ. If you are low on health, it's good to use a magic user to replenish health. If you are on a boss, you may want to use characters that are stronger in combat and so forth.
The RPG elements are what make this game less repetitive than the actual Dynasty Warriors video games. You are free to explore towns to buy new weapons and get new abilities. It also has a long story mode that lasts for around 26 hours. This doesn't include the many side-quests and dungeons that you can do as well.
Speaking of dungeons, Omega Force has tried to make the missions seems less monotonous in this game. There was one scenario early on in the game where I had to use stealth to avoid the guards. After that, I was forced to take down several enemies without any magic abilities.
That being said though, Dragon Quest Heroes II is still a hack and slash game at heart and a lot of grinding is required in order to succeed in this game. You will have to kills lots and lots of enemies to earn money and skills to face the tough bosses that lie ahead. The bosses can be really hard if you are under-levelled and undeprepared. Thankfully, you can call for help if you do find yourself getting stuck. You can collect monster coins which act like your own Pokemon. Collecting these coins allow you to summon certain enemies to aid you in battle. Another way you can ask for help is asking someone to join you online. This proved to be really helpful during difficult boss battles.
Outside of the main story, you are also able to explore other dungeons with up to three other players online. This is fun, although sadly all of the multiplayer elements are online only. There is no offline multiplayer options which is kind of sad since this game could have benefited by having split-screen gameplay.
In terms of graphics, this is one of the brightest and the most colourful games I have ever seen. The game's colours really pop out of the screen and it almost feels like you are playing a cartoon. The environments are also inspired by many fantasy video games as I felt like I was playing Final Fantasy XII as the design is somewhat similar in that regard. As a whole, Dragon Quest Heroes II is a fun and enjoyable game if you are a fan of action style RPGs. It has a great cast of characters and nice environments for you to explore. It is also the less repetitive Dynasty Warriors style of game I have played to date. The only downsides is the lack of splitscreen multiplayer and some might find the game to be too difficult. Verdict: 8.5/10